Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) asks his wife Claire (Catriona Balfe) in the opening sequence of Episode 4 of Starz hit television series 4 of Outlander, “…do you trust me Claire”, for which her reply is simply “always”.
These two people who are the focus of our attention, have been through a lot together. They have also lived apart for a long time and now back together at last, they are at the point of beginning their new lives together in the land that will become known as America.
Fraser’s Ridge, in North Caroline, however is where they have landed and the scenic beauty spot atop a high ridge is integral to the 10,000 acres of land Jamie has been granted by the British Governor of Northern Carolina.
Before they leave with just a dray load of possessions they must take their leave of Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) who are expecting their first child. It’s a hard parting.
Their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is on both their minds as they pack their possessions and leave the town where they have been making their plans together.
The British Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) admires Jamie, telling him he is just the type of settler North Carolina needs. High praise indeed and today it is a fact, it is a place where many a highland immigrant settled.
Do Not Read Any More If You Don’t Want Spoilers
Having completed their journey Jamie, Claire and their nephew Ian Murray ( are now camped out in the woods on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina where they are determined to make a home for themselves.
However, as we discover in this episode, their future plans are not always going to come to fruition how they would like or in quite the way or order we as viewers would imagine. But they both have so much more on their mind… especially when reaching the furthermost boundary of their land, marked by two fabulous mature trees standing together in a clearing.
First things first, they construct a shelter for themselves before staking out the boundaries of their land.
As Jamie and Claire stand on the hilltop looking out onto the incredible scene of the fertile unspoiled valley lying before them, with the sparkling clear waters of a river running through it and a back drop of mountains covered in autumn trees, they ponder how wondrously God used fine brushstrokes to create the view they will both never tire of overlooking. It brings to her mind the poetic words of a song known as America… and she begins to quote them for Jamie
My country, ’tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty…
As she explains, It was originally sung to melody of the national anthem of the United Kingdom and one of the de facto national anthems of the United States used before the adoption of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the official U.S. national anthem in 1931.
There they are suddenly are aware there is movement behind them and they turn to find five armed young American Cherokee Indians observing what they are doing.
Jamie walks out to face them with just a knife in his hand and when he is half way there, deliberately drops it so they can see he is unarmed and willing to talk. Slowly they all retreat.
Staking out their home, Jamie has thought of everything, even a shed for Claire to practice medicine in and keep her medicaments, but he wants to talk with the Cherokee to gain their approval before he starts.
John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) proves a good friend to Jamie and says he will talk to them on his behalf. Jamie goes to see him as he’s worried, because during the previous night their camp had been ransacked and their meat supply taken. Is it the Indians or is it a grizzly bear.
Their fears are confirmed about it being a bear when Myers comes to see them and is badly mauled by bear claws and Claire finds herself in a race to save his life.
Jamie the next night stands guard and is in a fight for his own life with what he thinks is a bear at first in the dark, but turns out to be an outcast from the Cherokee tribe, a man whose evil deeds have seen him exiled.
Taking on the spirit of the bear, dressing in its skin and using its claws on his own hands, Jamie overpowers him and brings him down, much to the approval of the Cherokee tribe as he has been a source of distress to them all. Having made friends with the tribe because of his actions, Jamie is now privileged with a visit from the Cherokee chief.
Jamie invites the tribe to visit and when they come, they bring their woman healer along with them, opening up a whole new area of discovery and collaboration that can be achieved with Claire.
All in all it looks like they are off to a good start, but dashing back and forth once more into the future Roger has discovered all sorts of new information about Claire.
Although he is upfront on the phone with Brianna about some of it, the rest he holds back for fear of her reaction. When he finally does decide to call, he finds she has been in Scotland for some two weeks and wonders why she has avoided talking to him.
Well we all know, but are we right or is there another reason?
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018
*My country, ’tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
For this I sing
Land where my fathers died
Land of the pilgrims’ pride
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring
My native country, thee
Land of the noble free
Thy name I love
I love thy rocks and rills
Thy woods and templed hills
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above
Let music swell the breeze
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song
Let mortal tongues awake
Let all that breathe partake
Let rocks their silence break
The sound prolong
Our fathers’ God, to Thee
Author of liberty
To Thee we sing
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light
Protect us by Thy might
Great God, our King