The Sheep Farm is based on the Pauper's House from the story "The Prince and the Pauper".
At some point, Ruth and her husband Robert either inherit or buy a sheep farm. While business is failing, a pregnant Ruth gives birth to twin boys, David and James. When the twins become ill, Robert leaves the farm to buy medicine, but returns home empty-handed because of not having enough money for it. The Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, offers a solution to the couple's dilemma; gold to supply their farm in exchange for giving up one of their boys to a childless king and queen. Ruth adamantly declares their sons are not for sale, however, Robert eventually agrees to the deal after Rumplestiltskin implies that with nothing, they may lose both their children during the winter. To help decide which son they'll give up, Rumplestiltskin has Robert flip a coin; heads for David and tails for James. The coin lands on tails, prompting Rumplestiltskin to pick up James and whisk him away, a loss that devastates Ruth and Robert. ("The Shepherd", "Murder Most Foul")
The remaining son, David, grows up on the farm as his parents' marriage turns rocky and he hears his mother in tears over his father's drinking habits. After hearing that James has been kidnapped, Robert tells Ruth about his plans to retrieve the boy and bring him back to the farm. Ruth is doubtful that James would want to come back to a dying farm with a drunk for a father, to which Robert professes that he needs to do this in order to mend their broken family and fix himself in the process too. From upstairs, a six year old David listens in on the conversation as Robert talks about wanting to be better for their son's sake. When David comes down, Robert tells him that he is going on a two week supply run, despite that Ruth knows he is going after James. Robert assures his son that, by the day of his return, he'll be sober. David is elated at the news and gifts his lucky coin to Robert as a good luck charm. On the day of his father's supposed return, David and his mother learn Robert became drunk at a tavern and died after falling into a ravine. From then on, David and his mother run the farm. ("The Shepherd", "White Out", "Murder Most Foul")
Years later, the farm goes into a decline again, as David and Ruth are hassled by the warlord, Bo Peep, for their business earnings. Travelling in from Arendelle, Anna seeks out Kristoff's acquaintance, David, and introduces herself as Joan. She asks to spend a night on the farm before continuing on her "secret mission" and, as the conversation continues, Bo Peep arrives in her carriage. The warlord badgers David and Ruth for their income and, when they do not have it, she brands them with her shepherd crook. Giving them until the next day to gather the money, Bo Peep warns that, if not, they will become her slaves forever. While David would rather submit to Bo Peep's demands, Joan insists he must fight back. She teaches him to sword-fight, but he gives up early. Joan believes he doesn't know anything about loss and is only afraid of it, so David tells her about his father's battle with alcoholism that shaped his beliefs. Nonetheless, she offers to continue helping him. The next day, Bo Peep kidnaps Joan and intimidates David into complying with her monetary demands. Rather than follow through, David wins a sword-fight against Bo Peep and rescues Joan. As she departs, Joan gathers intel for her "secret mission" from Ruth by asking for someone knowledgeable about magic. Too afraid to speak the person's name, Ruth scribbles it on paper for Joan. Gifted David's old horse, which belonged to his father, Anna rides off on her journey. When she enunciates the written name, Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One himself witnesses this from his crystal ball and giggles devilishly. ("White Out")
When a lamb escapes from the farm, David and his tracking dog Wilby head out to look for the lost animal. David returns the next morning to tell his mother that, while Wilby was able to find the lamb, it had died from exposure to the cold during the night. Ruth is dismayed by the news since their flock is shrinking as their resources are already scarce as it is. She suggests they're reached their limit and the farm must be sold if they are to survive. David attempts to make the journey to Longbourn to sell the farm, but on his way there, he rescues a woman and receives money from her in return for his help, which he uses to save the farm. ("Heartless")
While David tends to the sheep on the farm, Ruth returns from the marketplace. She mentions meeting the miller and casually suggests that David can marry his daughter. He, however, only wants to marry if it's true love. Arriving to the farm, Rumplestiltskin explains the circumstances of Ruth's other son, James who recently died before he could fulfill an important task, so David is needed to take his place as prince. David is shocked to learn he had a twin as Ruth admits that, although they had needed the money for their farm, his father regretted giving his brother away as soon as the deal was done. Since Rumplestiltskin promises both the glory and riches that come with filling James' shoes, David agrees to help in order to provide money for the farm and his mother. Shortly after finishing the deal, David is forced by King George to marry a princess, Abigail, and continue to live as James. As promised, Ruth receives an abundance of wealth due to David's accomplishment, but he returns home to tell his mother of his engagement on King George's wishes. Not knowing if she will ever see her son again, Ruth gives David her wedding ring for his bride. ("The Shepherd")
- For the episode "The Shepherd", the scenes at Ruth's farm were filmed at Blieberger Farm, a private farm in Langley, British Columbia. Mount Baker can be seen in the background.
- A redressed version of Donna and Stephen's cottage from "That Still Small Voice" doubles as Ruth's farmhouse in "The Shepherd". The architecture, the door, the wooden shutters, the brick pattern, the enclosure on the right side of the building, even the ladder propped up against the roof, are exactly the same. However, Donna and Stephen's thatched roof has been replaced by roof tiles.
|Once Upon a Time: Season One|
|"Pilot":||"The Thing You Love Most":||"Snow Falls":||"The Price of Gold":||"That Still Small Voice":||"The Shepherd":||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter":||"Desperate Souls":||"True North":||"7:15 A.M.":||"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree":|
|"Skin Deep":||"What Happened to Frederick":||"Dreamy":||"Red-Handed":||"Heart of Darkness":||"Hat Trick":||"The Stable Boy":||"The Return":||"The Stranger":||"An Apple Red as Blood":||"A Land Without Magic":|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Two|
|"Broken":||"We Are Both":||"Lady of the Lake":||"The Crocodile":||"The Doctor":||"Tallahassee":||"Child of the Moon":||"Into the Deep":||"Queen of Hearts":||"The Cricket Game":||"The Outsider":|
|"In the Name of the Brother":||"Tiny":||"Manhattan":||"The Queen Is Dead":||"The Miller's Daughter":||"Welcome to Storybrooke":||"Selfless, Brave and True":||"Lacey":||"The Evil Queen":||"Second Star to the Right":||"And Straight On 'Til Morning":|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Three|
|"The Heart of the Truest Believer":||"Lost Girl":||"Quite a Common Fairy":||"Nasty Habits":||"Good Form":||"Ariel":||"Dark Hollow":||"Think Lovely Thoughts":||"Save Henry":||"The New Neverland":||"Going Home":|
|"New York City Serenade":||"Witch Hunt":||"The Tower":||"Quiet Minds":||"It's Not Easy Being Green":||"The Jolly Roger":||"Bleeding Through":||"A Curious Thing":||"Kansas":||"Snow Drifts":||"There's No Place Like Home":|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Four|
on the Edge
|"Unforgiven":||"Enter the Dragon":||"Poor|
|"Best Laid Plans":||"Heart of Gold":||"Sympathy|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Six|
|"The Savior":||"A Bitter Draught":||"The Other Shoe":||"Strange Case":||"Street Rats":||"Dark Waters":||"Heartless":||"I'll Be Your Mirror":||"Changelings":||"Wish You Were Here":||"Tougher Than the Rest":|
|"Murder Most Foul":||"Ill-Boding Patterns":||"Page 23":||"A Wondrous Place":||"Mother's Little Helper":||"Awake":||"Where Bluebirds Fly":||"The Black Fairy":||"The Song in Your Heart":||"The Final Battle Part 1":||"The Final Battle Part 2":|
|Once Upon a Time: Specials|
|"Magic is Coming":||"The Price of Magic":||"Journey to Neverland":||"Wicked is Coming":||"Storybrooke Has Frozen Over":|
|"Secrets of Storybrooke":||"Dark Swan Rises":||"Evil Reigns Once More":||"The Final Battle Begins":|
Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.