Jim starts school and sees less of Ántonia. One Sunday, Jake takes him to the Shimerdas to retrieve a horse-collar Ambrosch has borrowed. But when Ambrosch hands over the collar, it is damaged. This leads to a nasty exchange between Jake and Ambrosch that ends with Jake punching Ambrosch in the head. Mrs. Shimerda and Ántonia are furious at Jake and Jim, while Jake advises Jim not to trust or befriend "foreigners" like the Shimerdas.
The fight between Jake and Ambrosch is a physical symbol of the tension developing between Ántonia and Jim as they move in their separate directions.
When he learns of the fight, Jim's grandfather tells Jake to go to the justice of the peace on his own accord and pay the fine for hitting Ambrosch, so that Mrs. Shimerda can't start any trouble. The Shimerdas avoid dealing with the Burdens for a number of weeks. Jim's grandfather then brings about a reconciliation by hiring Ambrosch and Ántonia to do some work and telling Mrs. Shimerda that she does not have to pay him for the cow. Ántonia and Jim resume their friendship.
Jim's grandfather knows that a family feud is senseless in the harsh world of the prairie, where everyone needs friendly neighbors. He also knows that the best way to end the feud is through money, highlighting the economic differences between the Shimerdas and the Burdens.