Lily and Jim stay in Horse Mesa, with Jim becoming the town’s unofficial mayor after he retires. Lily keeps teaching, never content without working. Little Jim and his wife Diane find a ranch house in the suburbs and start a family. Rex takes odd jobs and frequently smokes and drinks. Rosemary continues to paint and has many children, the second of whom dies as a baby. The two live a nomadic existence around the desert. Their third baby is a daughter they name Jeannette. Lily feels an immediate connection with her, and senses that she is tenacious. Lily senses that her grandchildren have a wild ride ahead of them, but says they come from hardy stock and that there is nothing that can stop Lily from teaching them a few things.
None of the characters have changed much, instead leaning further into their established personas: Lily’s work ethic never falters, Rex’s substance abuse issues have grown more prominent, and Rosemary remains dedicated to her art at the expense of nearly everything else. Above all, Lily remains dedicated to instilling lessons in her family to the end.