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Hello, Heartland fans! Our beloved show is back for its 17th season, and it’s off to a heartwarming start. Let’s dive into the recap of the first episode. 

We open with a serene scene of Amy and Lyndy, lost in the beauty of the clouds while the soothing melody of the show’s theme “Dreamer” fills the air. Life at the ranch is as peaceful as ever, with Lyndy heading back to feed Remy and Amy checking on Logan, who informs her about a new client horse, Sunshine, arriving that afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Tim spots a sign for Pryce Family Beef, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Heartland Beef ad. Is this a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, or is there more to it?

The tranquility on the ranch is soon disrupted by an unexpected arrival. A truck pulls in, and out jumps a very pregnant Mallory, back from Colorado, with a wild horse in tow. She urgently needs Amy’s help, but first, a trip to the hospital is in order.  

In the truck, Amy and Mallory have a heart-to-heart. Mallory reveals her wish for Ransom, the wild horse, to live on the Heartland property with the other wild horses “for the most part.” Amy senses there’s more to Mallory’s return than meets the eye. 

In town, Lou runs into Rick during her door-to-door canvassing for her reelection campaign. The encounter is awkward, to say the least, hinting at some unresolved tension between the two. 

Over at Maggie’s Diner, Peter is on waiter duty while Lou is campaigning. Jack and Tim discuss the Pryce beef ad. While Jack sees it as flattery, Tim views it as a provocation. The question is, can Heartland and Pryce coexist in the market? Pryce’s beef is sold in Crown Shoppers and Heartland has Garland Foods. Tim reminds Jack that Crown Shoppers is a national chain & sell everything at a discount. They must be mindful of their competition or risk being put out of business. 

Back from the hospital, Mallory’s scare turns out to be a false alarm – just Braxton Hicks. She shares Ransom’s story with Amy: Eight years ago, during a big wind storm, Jake’s Uncle Henry let all the horses out of the barn. Ransom disappeared and was recently found living with a wild herd. Mallory wants to set him free but fears he’ll get rounded up again, so she wants him to live on the ranch with Amy’s protected herd. Amy, not entirely convinced about Mallory’s reasons for returning to Heartland, says she can’t guarantee that he’ll be accepted by the other wild horses. 

At home, it’s almost dinner time, and Tim discusses campaign strategy with Lou. Rick is moving ahead in the polls, and Lou needs to step up her game. Lou says she convinced Gail Wexford to have her back on her radio show. Lou says it’d be a great way to gain traction with voters and Tim says it’s a great opportunity to tell listeners that Rick won’t be a very good mayor because he “has no political experience, he’s rigid, and he’s by-the-book.” Will Lou resort to criticizing her opponent, or will she stick to her platform? 

During dinner, an emotional Mallory expresses her love for being back at Heartland, feeling part of “this big, beautiful family.” But later, in a heart-to-heart with Jack, she admits to feeling homesick and expresses her desire for her baby to grow up surrounded by family and friends, just like she did. 

“Families, they come in all shapes and sizes, and it doesn’t matter how full of people your house is as long as it’s full of love.”

The next day, Mallory is upset to see Amy trying to “gentle” Ransom. She continues to insist that he’s a wild horse at heart. 

Meanwhile, Sam Langston informs Jack and Tim that he plans to sell off a quarter of the Big River land that borders Heartland. He tells them that he came over as a courtesy to tell them first & if they make a fair offer, it’s as good as theirs. They need time to think about it, but Sam warns them not to take too long as his agent thinks that once the land is on the market, he’ll get plenty of offers. The land is crucial for grazing their cattle, but can they afford to make an offer? 

Amy releases Ransom to the wild horses. Instead of running toward the other horses, he runs towards the cows. This gives Amy an idea. 

Back at Maggie’s Diner, Peter holds a meeting to address the lateness issues. He introduces corporate policy manuals, but Katie worries that the staff will feel untrusted. She suggests that opening half an hour later to alleviate childcare issues will solve the problem. 

Jake surprises Mallory by returning from Colorado. She admits that she realized how isolated they were and wanted to be surrounded by friends and family. She decided to move back to Hudson. 

Outside the diner, Lou and Rick have a heart-to-heart. Rick admits that being CAO wasn’t enough for him anymore and that running for mayor was a logical next step. But he assures Lou that the last thing he wanted was to hurt her. 

Back at the house, Amy tells Mallory that Jake has gone out with Jack to see how Ransom does with real cattle. But their conversation is cut short when Mallory’s water breaks. As they rush to the hospital, Mallory realizes she isn’t going to make it in time. 

“When I was elected mayor, I vowed to make Hudson not just a tourist stop on the way to the Rockies, but a community where we celebrated each other’s strengths, where we build each other up instead of tearing each other down… where we treat each other like family.”

On the Gail Wexford show, Lou is asked about Rick leading in the polls. She goes off script and praises Rick, emphasizing that he’s her friend and family, no matter who wins the election. 

Back to Mallory – it’s time to push, and Jake arrives just in time! With Jake’s encouragement, a healthy baby boy is born. Welcome to the family, Sully Jack Anderson! 

“There’s two kinds of family, the ones you’re born into and the ones you choose. We are so lucky that you two have chosen us to be a part of your family.”

At dinner, Katie praises Lou for not speaking ill of Rick. Lou, in turn, commends Katie for her elegant solution to the lateness issue at the diner and recommends her for a promotion to assistant manager. 

As Mallory and Jake prepare to leave Heartland, Amy asks Mallory if she’s okay with Ransom being a ranch horse. Mallory admits that she now sees home as wherever Jake and Sully are. 

After Mallory and Jake leave, Logan introduces Amy to Sunshine, a champion team roping horse. Despite Sunshine’s fame, Amy trusts Logan to handle her. 

Tim & Jack meet with Sam, who informs them that he can’t accept their offer because someone else has already made a much larger offer. That other client is none other than Nathan Pryce. 

Amy and Lou enjoy some sister time, gazing at the clouds. Lou asks Amy what’s on her mind. She shares that she’s happy with her life just as it is, but seeing Mallory supported by Jake makes her think it would be nice to have someone in her corner. Lou asks what we’ve all been thinking for a few seasons now: Could this mean Amy is ready to date again? 

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