The long winter is coming, and everyone in Gopher Prairie is getting their houses ready. The man who performs a lot of the winterizing work is a dude named Miles Bjornstam. The guy isn't very popular, because he's an agitator for workers' rights.
Carol gets a group of people to go skiing and tobogganing. Everyone has a great time, and again it looks like people are coming out of their shells. Yet as much as people say they loved the afternoon, none of them will come out to do it again.
One night, Will is called into the country while Bea, the maid, has her night off. Alone in her home, Carol realizes that she has nothing to do, especially now that the novelty of the town has worn off. She also realizes that all of her imagined reforms for the town aren't coming to pass.
When there's an early thaw, Carol takes a moment to run and shout like a little girl. But she soon realizes that people from the town are looking at her like she's crazy. She's mortified and runs away.
Carol goes to a meeting of a women's bridge group called "The Jolly Seventeen." She's sad to realize that she's not a social star at this event; she's just the new girl in town. She tries to fit in, but she doesn't do a great job of it. She's secretly enraged by how mindless the women's conversation is.
Carol tries to bring up how much she admires the farmers and mill workers of the area. The women all scold her for sounding like a socialist and say that all the farmers and workers in the area are dirty, lazy thugs.
When the women find out how much Carol pays her maid Bea every week, they nearly lose their minds. They think Carol is spoiling the help, and they don't want their own maids getting any ideas.
Before she knows it, Carol also gets into a tiff with the village librarian, who doesn't like to lend books to children, because she's more interested in preserving the books' condition than in improving young minds.
Carol goes home that evening mourning the fact that these women will have to be her friends for the rest of her life.