The extended Kilcher family struggles to get through a record-breaking harsh winter. Desperate for food, Atz Lee and Jane venture onto the ice to try fishing. Patriarchs Otto and Atz embark on a dangerous mission to bring aid to a fellow homesteader.
Spring finally arrives on the homestead and Eivin mills lumber, builds a large chicken house from scratch and helps his wife Eve take out a rogue, cannibal hen. Desperate for food, Jane goes fishing for king salmon, while husband Atz Lee hunts for black bear.
Otto and his family battle the elements and predators to drive their cattle to the summer pasture. A missing calf causes Otto and Eivin to head out on a dangerous late night rescue mission. Meanwhile, Atz Lee and Jane build a makeshift greenhouse from cast-off supplies.
Atz begins his summer range riding season to protect Otto's cattle, while a bear menaces from the edge and a wolf invades the herd. Otto and his family race against the clock and the elements to gather winter's hay crop. Then, Eivin and Eve's cannibal hen strikes again.
The Kilchers rally and call in favors to tackle their largest project this season. They have 48 hours to build a long cattle fence and rebuild a cabin, or the river’s treacherous high tide will trap their barge full of critical equipment for another month.
Summer is half over and the Kilchers need hundreds of pounds of fish to eat and barter with during the winter. Each couple demonstrates their own, time-proven technique for catching salmon, halibut and trout.
Atz Lee and Eivin travel 160 miles and brave the bears of "Terrible Island" to hunt deer. Meanwhile, Otto refuses to admit defeat in removing a pesky stump, and Eve helps Charlotte solve a swarming bee problem.
Fall arrives and the Kilchers scramble to finish their winter preparations. Otto confronts a predator killing calves, while Atz Lee and Jane catch salmon from their secret fish camp. Meanwhile, Eivin and Even prepare turkeys for holiday feasts.
The Kilchers ready the homestead for winter. While Otto drives the remainder of his herd home, the rest of the family rush to finish other preparations and still make time for a beach-scavenged gourmet picnic.
As winter nears, the ground hardens and Otto gets creative in beating the frozen soil when he realizes he must move the outhouse. Eivin takes Eve on her first deer hunt, while Atz and his sons gather trees for a big new project.
On a hunting trip, Eivin's legal quota is met and it's up to Eve to bring home enough deer meat, but she's conflicted about the kill. Atz and Atz Lee hunt smaller game and snare rabbits. Meanwhile, Otto has to pull porcupine quills out of a curious colt's face.
The Kilchers race through the last few days of fall before winter finally hits, prepping the hunter and cattleman cabins, winterizing the bee hive and creating a new field with an excavator and barge.