In modern-day Westminster, Clare Beauchamp and Frank Randall are walking down a street when Frank stops them at the City of Westminster's Register Office where a newly wedded couple is happily taking photographs. Frank asks Claire if she's ready, and she wonders for what. He points out the couple, and she asks now, and he says why not. She says that his parents are waiting for them at the restaurant, and they haven't even met her yet. He says they haven't met Claire Beauchamp, but he'll be happy to introduce her to them as Mrs. Frank Randall. She calls him crazy and asks if he wants a big church wedding, and he's sure. She points out his family might want it, and he says the only family he cares about is her and the family they'll make together. He asks her to marry him, and she says yes.
A priest says "you may kiss your bride" and the scene cuts to Jamie kissing Claire to applause and good wishes. Members of Dougal MacKenzie's party, including Murtagh and Ned Gowan and other guests are standing about a candle-lit church happy for the new couple. As Claire sits in the bridal chamber waiting for Jamie, she reflects that people's lives are like pearls on a string. If the string is broken, some of the pearls get lost and forgotten because life goes on, and you try to forget about them. Jamie arrives, and Claire says from the noise the wedding party is still going strong, and she doesn't suppose they'll go to bed soon. Jamie tells them they won't until they know they've made the marriage official. Claire sarcastically says she should be grateful they don't want to watch the consummation. Jamie wryly says that only Rupert MacKenzie and Angus do. She looks at him, and he says it's a joke. She sighs and calls him a regular Bob Hope. He asks was Mr. Hope a funny man and Claire says she always thought he was. They spend a few awkward moments until Claire suggests a drink and Jamie readily agrees.
Jamie offers up a toast to Claire, calling her a graceful lady and a strong woman and an astonishingly beautiful bride, his wife Claire Fraser. Claire downs the whiskey in one gulp and refills Jamie's glass, and her own and slams that one down and pours a third. Jamie watches with concern and tells her that she doesn't need to fear him as he wasn't planning to attack her. Claire says she didn't think he would, and that she has questions for him. He understands and asks what she wishes to know. She nervously asks why he married her. She says that Dougal didn't give her any choice. He says he really didn't have a choice either. Jamie tells her about Ned telling him that they don't have much time as Jonathan Randall is expecting them to deliver Claire to him soon.
In flashback, Ned says that only by following the law to the letter will keep Randall from getting Claire and the marriage must be consummated right away, and sworn witnesses must testify they were in the building. Jamie asked if Claire knew about that and Dougal says she can't say anything about it. Murtagh reminds Dougal he doesn't hold with rape, and Dougal says it's not rape, but persuasion. He says Claire is smart and will understand reason in the end, but he warns Jamie there can be no deception on their part by saying they did when they didn't. He crudely tells Jamie that he can think of worse things to do in his lifetime than bedding Claire. Jamie gets angry and tells him that if Claire does become his wife, Dougal better stop talking and thinking of her like she's a whore. Dougal says there is no if about her becoming his wife. Claire took Randall's punches and didn't reveal them as traitors, which is more than he'd expect of an ordinary woman. He reminds Jamie of what Randall is like and what could happen if he gets his hands on Claire again.
Claire concludes that Jamie married her to keep her safe. He says that's the base of the matter and tells her that she has his name, his clan, his family and if necessary, the protection of his body. She sits next to him and takes his hand. He leans in to kiss her, and she suddenly asks about his family. Jamie laughs and asks how many generations back does she want to know. She says he can tell her about his parents. He says his father was a Fraser. Jamie continues to tell Claire about his uncles and his mother, their sister and how Colum wanted her to marry a Grant. He tells her of his aunt Janet, who's dead like his mother, and about his aunt Jocasta. He says his father had seen him grown, which he was grateful for. Claire thinks that Jamie's tales are a distraction, but she knew they both welcomed it. He tells her his family history, and she tells him hers and they spend several hours drinking and talking and getting acquainted with each other for the first time. She finds Jamie charming and like other Scots a born storyteller. As time passes, she begins to relax and enjoying herself.
As they relax, Rupert and Angus burst into the room, and Rupert tells Angus he shouldn't have pressed against the door. Angus says he didn't think they would answer if he knocked. Jamie angrily asks what are they doing and Rupert tells them that Dougal sent them to see if they had sex yet. Angus calls him stupid because they still have their clothes on. Jamie tells them to get out, and as he's pushing them out of the door Rupert says they could still do it with clothes on, but Angus says not on the wedding night. Jamie tells them off in Gaelic and Angus says he just wanted a peek at her breasts. Claire laughs and asks if they're related to him. He says Rupert is a distant cousin. Awkward again, Claire suggests since it's getting late, perhaps they should go to bed. Jamie asks if she means to go to bed or to go to sleep. She indicates the latter and he points out that in either case, she's not likely to sleep in her corset and offers to help her with it.
Jamie slowly undresses a nervous Claire down to her shift. He gently touches her and Claire breathily says it's her turn to undress him. She unbuckles his belt and they kiss passionately. Claire asks where he learned to kiss like that, and he says he had said he was a virgin, not a monk, and if he needs help, he'll ask her as he removes his kilt. They make love and when he's done she asks him if it was what he had thought it would be. He starts to tell her what he thought, but he says she'll laugh at him. She promises she won't, and he says he had thought it would be from behind, like horses do, and not face to face. Claire apologizes for laughing. Jamie asks her if she liked it and Claire's face drops. A disappointed Jamie says that Murtagh was right when he said that women did not like it. He says that Murtagh and Rupert and Ned offered a lot of advice on the subject of sex. Claire tells him that she did like it.
Claire gets off the bed and admits to herself that not only was she a bigamist and an adulteress, but she'd enjoyed making love with Jamie. Upset with herself, s tells Jamie she needs to get some food, and he tries to stop her, but she rushes out on to the balcony. The raucous crowd in the taproom below all cheer them on. Rupert calls out to Claire that if she is still able to walk, then Jamie hasn't done his duty. Angus offers to fill Jamie's place. Feigning cheer, Jamie tells them to leave them alone, then whispers to Claire to back inside as until the men below have had their fun, they won't leave them alone. She does and Jamie goes downstairs to fetch some food for them.
Rupert asks Jamie if he bled on his first time, and Jamie tells Rupert that he will if he doesn't shut up. Angus suggests that while Jamie is filling his face, maybe he'll go upstairs and fill his. Jamie says he'll fill it with his fist. Murtagh slaps Jamie companionably on the shoulder, and Jamie tells them all the show is over and to go to bed. Rupert laughing says he hopes he does. Jamie suggests he buy himself a wedding night like Ned did. Angus agrees that it's the only way Rupert will get one. A serious Dougal says to Jamie that he hasn't thanked him properly yet for finding him a better creature to sleep with other than the fillies in the stable. Jamie thanks him sincerely, and Dougal accepts it. He tells Jamie to sit with him a while so as not to appear too eager to return to his wife.
Upstairs, Jamie tells Claire as they eat that Dougal told him that he should never let a woman see him too enthusiastic to please her as it gives her too much power over him. Claire wants to know what Jamie thought about that and Jamie wisely says he's very happy to be already completely under Claire's power. She asks for more whiskey and when he touches her, she flinches away. She apologizes and he looks at her hair and calls her mo duinne and tells her that means "my brown-haired lass." She tells him she always thought it was a dull brown, and he disagrees. He says it's like the water in a small stream the way it falls over the rocks and dark in the wavy spots with shades of auburn when in sunlight. He caresses her and even though she responds to him, she deflects and asks about the new kilt he wore for the wedding.
In flashback, Jamie tells her those are the Fraser colors and tells her Murtagh borrowed it from a chatty widow and wants them back. Jamie asks Murtagh why and Murtagh says he didn't ask and nearly didn't borrow them because the village was crawling with Redcoats. Jamie knows that and says if not, he'd gather his own clothes to wear to the wedding. Murtagh asks what he thinks will happen when he walks out of there with his red hair and huge size wearing Fraser colors. He'll stand out and be a target. Jamie says he'll only wed once, and he'll do it in a way that would have made his mother proud. Murtagh scoffs. Jamie asks him what he thinks of Claire and Murtagh says she'll do as a wife. Jamie thinks his mother would have approved of her, and Murtagh asks Jamie if he thinks he looks like a Gypsy who can commune with the dead. He asks Jamie if he has his brooch, and Jamie removes it from his sporran. Murtagh looks at it and tells Jamie that his mother had the sweetest smile that would warm a man just to look at it. He cleans the brooch and tells Jamie that Claire's smile is just as sweet as his mothers. He hands the brooch back to Jamie.
Claire asks if Murtagh really said all as she never would have expected the man to be so romantic. Jamie says still waters run deep. Claire asks if he’s a Fraser or a MacKenzie and Jamie tells him he’s Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser and they toast to him. Claire says she’s surprised Dougal waited for Murtagh to get the kilt because he was in a hurry. In flashback, Jamie told Dougal he would marry Claire, but he had three conditions. A disgusted Dougal says it would have been easier just to kill them both and Jamie jokes it would be harder for him to explain. His first condition is that they are married properly in a church before a priest. Dougal sends Willie to fetch a priest who tells him he can’t marry anyone until the banns of marriage are read. They argue. Dougal threatens. The priest and Willie quote scripture until an impatient Dougal bribes the priest. Jamie and Claire laugh about that and Claire says the Church and money never change. She asks him what his next condition was.
In flashback, Rupert and Angus are arguing as they visit a blacksmith. Angus is angry because he could have won them a proper ring by gambling, but Rupert said this is what Jamie wants and he'll get it because it's his wedding. Angus tells the blacksmith they wish to commission a ring. The blacksmith says he has some silver, but Rupert hands him a key and asks him to make it from that. The blacksmith says it would be a shame to melt a perfectly good key down and Rupert tells him not to melt it, but to shape it so the blade is in the bow. The blacksmith says he can have it by next week and Angus tells Rupert to pay him to have it done today. As they leave, Rupert points out that Angus promised to pay for half the ring and Angus says he would have if Rupert hadn't taken him from the game. Claire looks closely at her new ring and asks the key to what. Jamie defers and says nothing, it was just something he had in his sporran. Claire asks about the third condition and Jamie says he left that to Ned.
In flashback, a blushing Ned visits a brothel where a woman asks if he likes this dress. Ned tells one of the girls to stop kissing him, saying he's not there for a woman, but for a dress. A woman shows Ned how the dress laces up in the back and then another shows him another and asks if he'd like to take her out of that dress. Ned says the bride isn't a prostitute and can't be wearing those kinds of dresses for her wedding. A woman flashes herself at him and suggests he shouldn't be shopping for a wedding dress in a whorehouse. The madam approaches and says she has something suitable and tells the girls to back off. She tells Ned the dress was from a lord, a regular customer who had bought the dress in London for his lady, but when he found himself broke from gambling at the tables in Stirling, he traded the dress for her. She tells Ned the dress has never been worn and was saving it for another gentleman. She said a woman shouldn't have to be married in another woman's dress. Ned the Romantic agrees the dress will do well and buys it for a shilling. The girls greedily eye Ned's purse and one girl tells him that it'll take a bit for the others to wrap the dress up so it's protected and they offer him some entertainment while he's waiting. The girl leads Ned upstairs.
A laughing Claire accuses Jamie of making the story up and he says he told it exactly as Ned told it to him. They laugh as Jamie says Ned was grinning like a dog and blushing bright red while he told it. He asks if she noticed the working girl at the church and Claire said she did, but had no idea what was going on. Jamie asks Claire what she did all day and she laughs and holds up a whiskey bottle. In flashback, Murtagh and the landlady shake their heads as they try to rouse a hung-over Claire. Murtagh tells her she doesn't want to get married looking like a melted candle and the landlady aims a mirror. Claire looks in horror at her disheveled reflection. Jamie asks if she remembers anything of the wedding. Claire says she does, but she was terribly hung-over. Jamie says he remembers every moment and every second of when he saw her for the first time.
In flashback, a tall and finely dressed Jamie steps out of the church. A woman slowly removes Claire's cloak to reveal a stunning dress. Jamie said it was as if he had stepped out into a cloudy day and suddenly the sun came out. Dougal and Ned and the others join Jamie in his admiration and Dougal gives his approval to Murtagh. Jamie approaches Claire and gives her a formal bow and tells her he's her servant. Claire says she can't marry him, she doesn't even know his real name. He tells her it's James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. She says she's Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp and holds out her hand to shake. He takes it in both of his and Dougal asks if they're finished can they get on with it.
Jamie asks Claire if she remembers any of that and Claire says not all, but she clearly remembers removing her gold wedding ring and tucking it into her bodice. They enter the candle-lit church and stand before the priest. Jamie and Claire recite their vows. The priest blesses the ring and Jamie places it on her right hand. Dougal approaches and pulls Jamie's dirk from its scabbard and Jamie pulls up his cuff so Dougal can slash his wrist. Claire gasps as Dougal cuts her, and then ties their bleeding wrists with a white cloth. Jamie whispers to Claire to repeat after him and he recites in Gaelic. Claire asks what the words had meant and he says, "You are the blood of my blood and the bone of my bone. I give you my body that we two may be one. I give you my spirit till our life shall be done." The priest tells Jamie he may kiss his bride and he does with a smile.
Jamie tells Claire that he thought she perhaps was not so sorry to have married him by the way she kissed him in the church. Claire caresses Jamie's arm and smiles at him. She stands up and says she wants to look at him and asks him to remove his shirt. They stare into each other's eyes as he loosens his cuffs and then pulls the shirt off and tosses it aside. She runs her hand over his chest as she slowly circles him looking at him and caressing his bottom. When she faces him again, he says that it's only fair he be allowed to look at her too. She unlaces her shift and lets it drop to the floor. He takes a step back and she follows, asking if he's ever seen a nude woman before and he says he has, but not so close and not one that was his. Claire puts his hand on her breast and they kiss. He carries her to the bed and they make love again. When Claire comes, Jamie thinks he's hurt her, but she tells him just the opposite and he says he never realized women could do that and asks if it happens every time. She tells him only if the man is a good lover. He tells her he doesn't want to hurt her because she's so small and she shows him that a little pain can be a good thing. After, Jamie mutters something in Gaelic and then translates for Claire that he thought his heart was going to burst. He dozes off and Claire smiles at him. She gets up for a drink, but finds the pitcher empty. She wraps herself in Jamie's kilt and goes downstairs.
Dougal enters the taproom and greets Mrs. Fraser. She says he's out late and he says he's just returned from visiting Captain Randall, to whom he shared the happy news of her marriage. Claire asks what Randall said and Dougal says that there are even limits to her tolerance for foul language. She asks if he means to take any further steps about her questioning and Dougal says Randall has more important things to worry about than one pretty Sassenach and has sense enough not to antagonize Colum by kidnapping his nephew's wife. Claire says that's good to know and Dougal stops her from leaving by commending her for doing her duty. He tells her that he finds her a remarkable woman offers her further pleasures. She reminds him she's Jamie's wife. They're interrupted by Rupert returning to the taproom. Claire wishes him a good evening and takes her leave, but before she goes she sincerely thanks him for his kindness and says the ring is wonderful. Pleased, he tells her she's welcome and congratulates her on her wedding day. She thanks him again and goes upstairs. Rupert tells Dougal that while young Jamie might not have much experience, but Claire looks thoroughly sexed. Dougal smacks him across the face, while Claire watches from the balcony. Rupert wants to know what that was for and Dougal orders him to check the horses even though he already has. Rupert slams out and Dougal watches Claire as she disappears into her room.
Jamie wakes and sees Claire, still wrapped in his kilt, as she gazes at the lit fireplace. He takes something from his sporran and then puts a string of pearls around her neck. He tells her they're Scotch pearls and had belonged to his mother and now they are hers. He says they are one of the few things of hers that he still has and are very precious. He tells her she is precious to him as well. She moves the kilt aside and kisses his shoulder, then kisses him. She climbs into his lap and they make love again, staring into each other's eyes as Claire wraps them both in his kilt.
In the morning, Jamie is donning his boots while telling Claire he'll meet her downstairs, that if he doesn't get something to eat, he'll bite her. She says she thinks he already has and he says he looks forward to doing it again soon. He tells her if she doesn't hurry there will be no food left. He leaves and Claire picks up her discarded wedding dress. She shakes it out and her gold ring falls to the floor and bounces across the room. It lodges in a crack and she hurries to retrieve it before it is lost. She puts it on her left ring finger and glances at the two rings adorning her hands.