A big can of historical worms was opened up in the pilot episode of Rutherford Falls. In “Burkhart Lodge,” Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) attempts to plan an ancestor celebration while Reagan Wells (Jana Schmieding) tries to reintegrate herself into  the Minishonka Tribe.

Quick recap: Nathan’s family legacy was besmirched when the town threatens to remove the statue of his forefather and town founder. His best friend Reagan tries to support him but she has issues of her own. Reagan is a member of the Minishonka Tribe and works at the casino. She wants to open a cultural center and needs the help of casino manager Terry Thomas (Michael Greyeyes) to do it. But Terry is looking toward the future … not the past.

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Terry visits Nathan the morning after Founder’s day to offer his support. He says the town forgot how to honor their ancestors. Big Larry, the town’s most famous symbol, should stay right where he is. Terry’s visit invigorates both Nathan and Bobby (Jesse Leigh) to do something bold. This is no longer about a statue, it’s about reminding people about their history. Nathan decides he needs to visit his mentor Professor Tobias James Kaufman (Paul F. Tompkins). Professor Kaufman is writing a book about the Rutherfords and he could help their cause. 

Nathan and Bobby load up all of the good alcohol in the museum to take to Professor Kaufman. Reagan stops by to see them off and reminds Nathan that Kaufman is an alcoholic. Nathan ignores that fact, saying Kaufman is just spirited. She also reminds him that Kaufman just got out of rehab, which Nathan calls a sabbatical. He changes the subject and asks about the cultural center. Reagan is very close to quitting and getting a job at a bank. Nathan discourages that move and offers to talk to Terry for her. He mentions that Terry visited him earlier. Reagan gets suspicious of Terry, asking what he said to Nathan.

Reagan asks Terry what he’s up to. Terry says Nathan has a lot of influence in the town and it doesn’t hurt to be on his good side. Reagan calls Terry a shark and says she was afraid he was taking advantage of Nathan. Terry is impressed that Reagan is so brutally honest with him. Most people are afraid of Terry. He invites her to join Operation Running Lightning. Reagan is hesitant, saying she’s not interested in working for a cesspool of capitalism … aka the casino.


Big Larry isn’t just the town mascot. He’s also the logo for Rutherford Inc. The folks who run Rutherford Inc are very concerned about Nathan’s outburst at the Founder’s Day celebration. The VP of Communications, Kaityn Farrow (Mimi Gianopulos) saw a video of Nathan on YouTube. She calls him to instruct him to avoid any further outbursts. Nathan agrees and reminds her that he’s a member of the board. Kaitlyn corrects him saying he’s an honorary and non-voting member. Regardless, Nathan continues his trip to see Professor Kaufman. 

Professor Kaufman finished his book. As a Lawrence Rutherford enthusiast, he is shocked to hear what Mayor Chisenhall (Dana L. Wilson) wants to do to Big Larry. He thinks the story would make a great piece for his podcast and invites Nathan to join him. The podcast doesn’t go too well though. First of all, Bobby keeps refilling Kaufman’s drinks. 

Kaufman starts talking about how elite the Rutherfords were and how they always had the final say. All of the important decisions were made at Burkheart Lodge. As Kaufman continues to drink, his comments become more and more damaging to the Rutherford name. He even goes as far as suggesting that the Rutherfords introduced whiteness to the region. Bobby is shocked. Nathan gets flustered, especially when Kaufman starts talking about the white baby. Nathan is only saying he’s proud of his family but Kaufman points out that Nathan is only related to white people. And with that … Kaufman wraps up the podcast. 


Reagan pays her dues on the reservation on Rutherford Falls

RUTHERFORD FALLS — “Buckheart Lodge” Episode 102 — Pictured: Jana Schmieding as Reagan Wells — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock/NBCU Photo Bank)

At the casino, Reagan overhears Sally (Julia Jones) telling Wayne (Bobby Wilson) that her aunt sent her some artwork to house for her. Sally’s aunt is a famous artist, so Reagan tries to ask Sally to introduce them. Sally and Wayne pretend she’s not even there. Terry sees the exchange. He informs Reagan that the whole Minishonka community doesn’t like her because of what she did to Ray. 

Nine years ago, Reagan broke up with her fiancee Ray the night before the wedding. Terry thinks Reagan could use his help to get back in to the good graces of the community. He is on his way to talk to the tribal council members about his proposal and invites Reagan to go with him.

Terry is right, everyone is still mad at Reagan for dumping Ray. Reagan spends the afternoon doing random tasks for all of the council members while Terry talks to them.  At first she thinks Terry only brought her along to humiliate her. He says he’s teaching her a lesson. Reagan put in a lot of time and work to get her degree, so why won’t she do the same for her people. Terry had to chop wood, wash cars and teach dirty dancing lessons to get their people to respect him. Reagan changes her attitude about the work. She teaches yoga, chops more wood, serves NDN tacos at Cathy’s Frybread truck and calls numbers at the bingo hall. 

Reagan gained some friends after all of her hard work. The last place Terry takes her to is Ray’s mom’s, Rayanne (Geraldine Kearns) home. Terry encourages Reagan to confront her past so she can move on. Reagan agrees and asks Terry not say anything about the wedding. He doesn’t have to because Reagan mentions it first when she apologizes to Rayanne for leaving a heavy burden on her. 


Rayanne addresses Terry saying she won’t support his Running Thunder proposal. Terry turns on Reagan to get on Rayanne’s good side. He calls Reagan a cold snake for ruining Ray’s life. He explains to Rayanne that Reagan begged him to bring her along. Terry agrees that Reagan has no sense of community or family.  Rayanne also blames Reagan for Ray marrying a white woman. 

Terry takes Reagan back to the casino. She is upset with him for tricking her. He says he helped her with Rayanne. Rayanne will tell everyone about what happened. Those who support Reagan can finally move on. Those who hate her … which is everyone … can finally let this go. 

Reagan asks why he’s helping her. He thinks she’s a shark too. Only a shark would leave Ray to create her own path. And only a shark would talk to Terry the way she does. He tells her to channel her inner power to get what she wants because he needs people like her to get what he wants. 


Nathan doesn’t like how the podcast went and asks Kaufman to edit the interview. Kaufman wants to air it as is. He suggests they settle their difference the way Nathan’s forefather did … at Burkheart Lodge. Bobby is concerned because Kaufman drank a whole bottle of gin, but Nathan can’t let the podcast air as it is.

The three men have to break into Burkheart Lodge. There are pictures of men wrestling all over the place. Apparently that’s how differences were settled. Kaufman knew this and he’s ready to battle. He says if Nathan can beat him, he will edit the podcast. Nathan doesn’t really want to wrestle him so Kaufman turns on Bobby, calling him a savage. Nathan pulls Kaufman away from the teen. Kaufman takes that as a move and lunges at Nathan. He falls over and passed out cold. 

Bobby calls Reagan for help with Kaufman. She meets them at the lodge and helps them remove Kaufman. Nathan asks her to leave a note for the park ranger. Reagan goes back inside and notices an interesting copper pot in the lodge. Later, Nathan says she was right about Kaufman and thanks her for always supporting him. Nathan asks about her day. Reagan starts to tell him about her adventure with Terry, but Kaufman interrupts them. He was lying in the back seat and sits up. He asks Reagan to drive him to the rehab center, but it’s in California. HIs next request to be dropped off at an abandoned Samm Goody store.

The next day, Kaitlyn calls Nathan about the podcast. She’s upset that she has to clean up after him again. If he messes up one more time, there will be serious consequences. Kaitlyn hangs up before Nathan can say a word. He stays on the phone and pretends that Kaitlyn is complementing him because Bobby is still in the room.

Reagan carefully places a copper pot from an anonymous donor in the cultural center. Terry enters to ask about it and she admits that she repatriated the pot. Meaning she stole it. Terry likes that. He leaves for his meeting with the Council. Rayanne changed her mind, approving of his proposal. Terry is ready to proceed. He tells the council to draw up the papers. They are going to sue Nathan Rutherford. 

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You can stream episodes of Rutherford Falls on Peacock.


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