Alcohol had been served in the gymnasium that evening, causing at least one of the pupils to over-imbibe. En route from the festivities, his designated driver sped around a curve on a rural bend outside of Cabot Cove, causing the driver of a red compact automobile to swerve onto a rock, severely injuring himself.
Andrew Durbin (John Glover), a college freshman hitchhiker whom he was transporting, ran for assistance to a local farm house, at which its residence did not hear his plea because of the volume of their television set. Upon his return, Andrew found that the driver had succumbed to injuries, while a stack of negotiable bonds was missing from his briefcase, and, of course, law enforcement official on hand to arrest him for murder, falsely.
Twenty years later, when Andrew Durbin is paroled from prison, he returns to Cabot Cove to purchase the red compact automobile from the victim's widow, who had stored it inside a garage. He rents the residence of a lady who leaves her keys with Jessica, and he shows his release papers to Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) and, subsequently, Judge Perry Sillman (John Bennett Perry), an alumnus of the Class of 1967.
Andrew consults Amos and Jessica with facts regarding his false arrest. He had subscribed to the Cabot Cove Gazette while in prison, and has amassed a scrapbook of clippings relevant to the case.
When they question his motive for returning, Andrew maintains that it is not for revenge, but for justice. "And, unless I'm mistaken, neither one of you would want to see a murder go unsolved." Jessica is initially reluctant to question Coach Kevin Cauldwell her former colleague and friend of her late husband, as well as their former pupils.
In addition to Perry Sillman, three others were star football players that season: Bill Hampton (Dack Rambo), Arnie Wakeman (Michael Lembeck) and Dan Pulling (Mark Voland). Two female classmates, the wife of Perry, Tara Sillman (Caitlin O'Heaney), and the wife of Bill, Alison Hampton (Shelley Smith) were also on hand at the dance that fateful evening.
As Jessica studies Andrew's scrapbook, while a series of unexplained events sweeps Cabot Cove, she begins to suspect that each of the seven has something to hide, as accounts by Kevin, Perry, Bill, Arnie, Tara and Alison do not match their behavior especially after a drunken Dan is fired from his position at an automobile dealership, while others had landed upon windfalls of money along the way.
As is the case in several of these cold case investigations, a fresh new murder is committed to silence a witness who would have led to the initial culprit, causing Jessica to conclude this episode upon a less than merry note.