As the school year winds down in Walnut Grove, Laura gets a letter from Eliza Jane, inviting her to a summer literary seminar that is held in Arizona. After learning that Ralph Waldo Emerson will be the keynote speaker at the seminar, Almonzo and Laura decide to find a way for her to spend the summer going to school.
While on the train to Arizona, Laura meets Mortimer Carstairs who will be attending the same seminar. Upon arriving at the train station, Laura introduces Mort to Eliza Jane, and he promptly takes a liking to her.
Later that evening, when Eliza Jane and Laura go out to dinner, they run into William Woestehoff, and Eliza Jane immediately develops a crush on him, unaware he is married and will be teaching the seminar that starts the next day. Following the first class meeting, Professor Woestehoff asks Laura to stay after, offering a passing grade in the class if she were to go out with him.
During this time, Laura gets a job washing dishes in a local restaurant. While her co-worker is a nice person, she soon discovers that her boss is a tyrant, demanding Laura to spend all of her time washing dishes instead of studying for her class. After spending three weeks in these working conditions, Laura decides to stand up to her cold-hearted boss before quitting.
After Laura turns down his advances, Eliza Jane becomes furious with her for breaking their outings together, and when Laura tries to warn her about what the professor was doing, Eliza Jane refuses to speak to her for several weeks.
It isn’t until Eliza Jane works up enough courage to confront Professor Woestehoff to thank him for the flowers she got several weeks before that she realizes what Laura told her about the professor was true. After apologizing to Laura, they vow to enjoy the remainder of the seminar, but when Professor Woestehoff decides to give Laura a failing grade for not going out with him, Mort decides to stand up for Laura. However, when Mort and the professor start arguing over who is more qualified to teach the seminar the professor challenges him to step outside, hoping to settle their differences like men.
When Mort emerges as the winner, he eventually realizes that his chances of receiving a letter of recommendation from Woestehoff are non-existent since he was victorious in their fight. It is at this point when Eliza Jane chimes in and offers to recommend him for a job at her school in Minneapolis. Share this article with your friends