The series premiere centers on the hardships of Jack and Honey Bailey and their children Hub, Fat and Violet. They were your average Canadian family until the Great Depression threatened to swallow them up. Their lives are thrown into a world of extremes when Jack loses his business and then is accidentally killed. Honey is turned away by her mother-in-law, May Bailey, and is forced to give up her children when they are divided amongst relatives. Honey and the kids try desperately to find a way to maintain their independence and pride through adversity and family tensions.
The Bailey boys try to escape the grasp of their grandmother by running away; Honey loses everything when she ties up her money in her brother Joe’s dreams; the boys try to make ends meet by attempting to win the Fall Fair’s Human Pyramid contest; Hub and Fat convince May to let Honey come live with them; Honey falls in love with the local athletics teacher, Max Sutton; Uncle Bob and Aunt Toppy stage one of Max’s plays for the local community theatre; Grace disobeys May by attending a wedding with Judd Wainwright and considers his marriage proposal; May faces bankruptcy when the price of silver hits rock bottom; and Honey turns to Max for help when May refuses to allow Violet back into their lives.
1.1: Four Walls and a Roof Part 1
The Great Depression is hitting everybody hard and Jack and Honey Bailey are no exception. Their once thriving hardware store in the Northern Ontario town of North Bridge teeters on the verge of bankruptcy. Honey has tried to impress upon Jack the severity of the situation, but he continues to provide credit to whoever needs it; which is basically everybody. Inevitably, in spite of Honey’s pleading and subsequent angry public outburst at the bank manager, the store goes bankrupt. Honey and Jack along with their two pre-teen sons Hubert (Hub) and Henry (Fat) and baby daughter Violet are now homeless.
1.2: Four Walls and a Roof Part 2
Now that their mother has gone to look for a job, Hub and Fat are left to cope with living with their demanding and strict grandmother May. Watching Violet being taken away to live with yet more relatives they barely know gets Hub’s blood boiling. The boys feel angry and unwanted and lash out at May and her entire family.
1.3: No Way of Telling
Hub and Fat are enjoying their visits with their mother and Uncle Joe, but are eager to get Violet back and be a full-time family again. Honey believes she’s one step closer to making that happen when she finally gets a job working as a clerk at a Molloy’s Grocery Store. The pay is low, but it’s definitely better than nothing. Joe’s financial situation however has taken a turn for the worse as the bank manager is threatening foreclosure on his apartment building. He has a plan to start a catalogue business, but the bank manager refuses to lend him any money to get started.
1.4: A Family of Independent Means
Honey’s financial situation gets significantly worse when the bank, her landlord since Joe lost the building, increases her rent. If she doesn’t have enough money for her next month’s rent plus the increase she will be evicted. Now that Honey has a job, she’s sure she can pay her rent and tells Hub and Fat not to worry about it. They are worried about it though and offer to get jobs to help her out.