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I will find a way to save this farm.
Prince Charming

"The Shepherd" is the sixth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg and directed by Victor Nelli. It is the sixth episode of the series overall, and premiered on December 4, 2011.


David - aka John Doe - must choose between staying with Kathryn or leaving her to be with Mary Margaret, with whom he's fallen deeply, and inexplicably, in love; and Emma catches Sheriff Graham in a lie. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Prince Charming is about to encounter a life-changing event that will forever alter his destiny.[1]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

David Nolan is with his wife Kathryn Nolan, and she is showing him their house. She comments about an old windmill which once sat on the front lawn and that he had disliked very much. Everyone is waiting inside for him at a surprise "Welcome Home" party. As David works through the crowd of guests, he does not remember anyone except for people he has met since waking up from his coma. Nolan's doctor, Dr. Whale, is also at the party.

Henry Mills tells Emma Swan that the reason David does not remember anything is because the curse is not working on him as of yet. His "false" memories have not set in. Henry tells Emma they have to jog David’s memory so that he remembers he is Prince Charming. David comes over, and Henry asks him if he ever used a sword, which causes him to laugh.

Alone in the kitchen, David’s wife Kathryn is upset, because she feels like she still does not have her husband back. She confides in Regina Mills about the matter. Regina tells her that she shares a similar experience of losing a lover, who is now dead. Regina consoles Kathryn by saying that she is lucky; David is still alive, and they will have another chance to reconcile. Regina tells her to go back to her husband at the party. However, when Kathryn goes back to the party and looks for David, he has already left.

Meanwhile, David walks over to Mary Margaret Blanchard's house and asks her why she did not come back to the hospital (as a volunteer), suspecting he was the reason she resigned from the hospital. Mary Margaret reminds him that he is married, but David tells her that it is her he is choosing, and not his wife Kathryn.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Prince James is fighting the Behemoth and apparently he wins and kills his enemy. His father, King George, and the rest of those, who were watching, all congratulate him. King George makes a deal with King Midas for gold and other riches, if Prince James can kill the dragon that terrorizes his kingdom. After Midas leaves, Prince James stands near the body of the Behemoth and speaks of his plans to slay the dragon. The brute who he thought he had killed suddenly reveals itself to still be alive, and it drives a lance into Prince James' back and out through his chest.

The dead Prince James is taken away as his father says goodbye. The knights tell King George that they must move fast to kill the dragon, or else Midas will find another dragon slayer. In turn, the King would lose what Midas promised to him in exchange for slaying the dragon. The King tells the knights he already called for help. Rumplestiltskin shows up and says "nice way to treat a gift I gave to you." It is revealed that Rumplestiltskin found the child for the King, because he and his wife could not have children. The King wants another deal, he tells Rumplestiltskin he will give him anything if he brings his son back to kill the dragon to aid Midas. Rumplestiltskin agrees, but in return, he tells the King he wants the magic wand owned by the Fairy Godmother. She is patron to George's family, and he demands her whereabouts. The King agrees, but Rumplestiltskin tells him that the dead can not be resurrected. The King is upset, because they had an agreement to have Prince James slay the dragon. Rumplestiltskin reveals to the King that Prince James has a twin brother, and they will have him slay the dragon in place of the dead James.

Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is washing the dishes and talking to Emma. She is focused on what David said about choosing her, and not his wife, Kathryn. Emma tells her to stop cleaning and have a drink. Emma advises Mary Margaret that if she thinks doing something is wrong, such as being with a married man, then it is. She tells Mary Margaret to let David figure out his own life.

David is looking through his pictures, and Kathryn tells him he looks different, as he always used to have a buzz cut. His wife tries to convince him to go to bed with her, but David asks her if they can sit and talk some more. They share a kiss, but David pulls her away and tells her it is not right.

In the Enchanted Forest, Prince James' twin brother is chasing a goat as his mother returns from the market. His mother tells him that she had an interesting talk with the grain merchant. He has a daughter that would make a good match, because she has a big dowry and it will save their farm. He insists that true love is the one thing he can not afford to sacrifice, and, when he chooses to marry, it will be for love. Rumplestiltskin shows up and Ruth admits to her son that she gave his twin brother to Rumplestiltskin in exchange for the farm. Asked what he wants, Rumplestiltskin tells him that the King needs someone to slay a dragon. He tells Rumplestiltskin he is not a dragon slayer. Rumplestiltskin states that if he succeeds in slaying the dragon, his mother shall never want for another thing in her life, and he will be the conquering hero.

Mary Margaret is at the restaurant, and Dr. Whale shows up and asks if she quit the volunteer position at the hospital because of him. Dr. Whale leaves just as Regina shows up to talk to Mary Margaret about David. She tells Mary Margaret that she and David do not belong together. Regina tells Mary Margaret that David has left his wife, that she should stay away because he is in a fragile state, and that she is close to destroying many lives.

In the Enchanted Forest, King Midas comes up to Prince Charming and tells him if he kills the dragon he will be a legend. Prince Charming is nervous because he does not know how to fight with a sword, or be a knight - let alone slay a dragon. The knights, who are being sent with him to the dragon's lair, tell him to stay out of the cave, as they will take care of killing the dragon. Even though Prince Charming may not literally slay the dragon himself, as long as Midas sees the head of the slain dragon it will be sufficient to save the kingdom.

As Prince Charming and the knights walk to the dragon's lair high up the mountains, they pass many burned bones and ashes of past dragon slayers who were unsuccessful. Although Prince Charming is supposed to stay out of the caves as they need him to return alive, he finds that he cannot just stand around having several knights dying in his place, while not trying to help them in slaying the dragon. He runs towards the dragon's lair as the dragon flies around and spits fire. Prince Charming manages to pull the Head Knight out of the cave and drags him to safety behind a stone. The dragon spots Prince Charming and starts going after him. He grabs a sword, runs to entrap the dragon's neck in a narrow cave, and chops its head off with the golden sword.

David shows up at Mary Margaret's classroom, and she is upset that he left his wife. He tells Mary Margaret that his wife Kathryn needs someone who feels for her the way he feels for Mary Margaret. David tells her he wants her. He asks Mary Margaret to meet him at the toll bridge, where she found him, at 8 p.m.

At the Sheriff Station, Sheriff Graham brings Emma donuts and asks her to work that night in his place. He volunteers at the Storybrooke Pet Shelter and needs to feed the dogs for the shelter's supervisor who is sick. Mary Margaret shows up at the station and tells Emma that David left his wife Kathryn. She tells Emma he wants to meet her that night. She asks Emma what to do, and Emma tells her to go and meet him, because David has made a choice.

The King tells King Midas that his son has slain the dragon. Midas tells the Prince they respect him, because of what he did. Midas tells them he thinks big and not small, and then they bring in a girl who Midas introduces as his daughter, Abigail. He tells them he values her more than gold, and he wants to offer her hand in marriage to Prince Charming. As the one who slayed the dragon, he is worthy to marry Midas' daughter and unite the kingdoms. Prince Charming is humbled, but begins to decline the offer, his "father" quickly pulls him aside and tells him he must marry her. If he chooses not to, he will be responsible for the destruction of everyone and everything in their kingdom. The King will also kill him and his mother.

At around 7:45 p.m., David sets out to find the toll bridge with a map in his hands. On the way, he encounters Regina. She asks him if he is lost, and he tells her that he is looking for the toll bridge. When Regina asks why he is looking for the bridge, he tells her that he is looking for someone. She realizes who he is looking for and says "So you made your choice." He tells her that he cannot change his feelings. Regina gives him instructions to the toll bridge and wishes him luck.

Meanwhile, Mary Margaret is waiting at the toll bridge for David. David is lost – Regina actually gave him false directions to the bridge. Regina's directions takes David to Mr. Gold's pawnshop. He goes into Mr. Gold's shop and asks him where the toll bridge is. Mr. Gold gives him the correct directions, but on his way out, David sees a windmill, and he asks Mr. Gold where he got it. Mr. Gold replies that it has been gathering dust forever. David realizes that this is the windmill Kathryn told him about which used to belong to them, and that suddenly he remembers everything.

Prince Charming comes back to his mother who is happy he is alive. She is excited about how good he looks and how he looks like a Prince. Ruth tells Prince Charming the King is taking care of them and has made improvements to their house. He tells his mother that Midas wants to unite the kingdoms and wants him to marry his daughter. His mother says he was right to refuse the offer, assuming he turned down Midas' offer, as he did to the grain merchant's daughter. But in order to save the whole kingdom, he tells her that he must take the place of his dead brother James and marry Midas' daughter Abigail. He tells her no one can truly know his identity. He also tells her in his new identity as Prince James, he will never be able to see her again. He came to say goodbye. His mother gives him her ring which was given to her by his father. She says that the ring follows true love wherever it goes; they embrace and say goodbye.

David finally shows up at the toll bridge, and Mary Margaret is waiting – wearing a ring exactly like the one Ruth gave her son – but David tells her that he has remembered everything. Mary Margaret asks if he loves his wife, and he says he does not know, although he knows he did have feelings for her once, and he has to honor his marriage vows. He tells Mary Margaret that he has intense feelings for her, but he is going back to his wife, because it is the right thing to do. Mary Margaret is hurt and upset, and tells David the right thing to do was to not lead her on. She leaves the bridge hurriedly in disappointment and tears.

Patrolling the streets on the night shift, Emma is driving in the deputy's car, when she sees a dark figure climbing out of the second story window of the Mayor's house. She confronts and stops the dark figure walking out the driveway, by hitting him with a baton. However, she is shocked to find that is Sheriff Graham. Emma questions what type of "volunteering" Graham does, as she figures out that Regina and the Sheriff are having an affair. The Sheriff tells her he was sneaking out of the window, because Regina does not want Henry to know they are sleeping together.

David rings the doorbell and his wife Kathryn answers the door, and he tells her that he remembers everything. He admits that he knows that they were not at a good place when he got hurt. He tells her that he remembers the windmill which he hated, and how it triggered his "memory" in Mr. Gold's shop. He tells her they have work to do on their relationship and it will take time, but he wants to see what happens.

Prince Charming and Midas' daughter Abigail are betrothed to be married. King George tells him that he is confident that he has made the right decision. King George calls Prince Charming "son", and Prince Charming calls him "father." Abigail does not look pleased with Prince Charming, and King George tells him to smile, since he is on the route to true love. Prince Charming and Abigail are in the carriage driving as Snow White is hiding in the trees.

Back at Granny's Diner, Mary Margaret sits alone in silent thought, and is approached by Dr. Whale. After a bit of prodding, Mary Margaret reluctantly asks him if he ever went into a situation which he knew would have a negative outcome, does it anyways, and regrets said outcome. Quickly, Dr. Whale says no, prompting Mary Margaret to ask how he can do that. He replies that he refused to do what is expected, because it keeps life "interesting". He then offers to buy her a drink, to which she replies "You can buy me two."



Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage.



Production Notes

Episode Chronology

Episode Connections




Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • The cover story on the newspaper that Mary Margaret is reading, says:


Storybrooke Daily Mirror

News Staff

unidentified man in his early 30's - who
has become known only by the moniker,
John Doe, has finally gone home - directly
to a house right here in Storybrooke.
"It is truly a miracle that he has survived
at all," said hospital volunteer and local
schoolteacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard,
on the day of his initial admittance to the
Storybrooke Hospital. "It has been inter-
esting nursing him back to health and we
al all [sic] so glad he has pulled through. It is
incredible to think how far he has
progressed. Not only is he conscious, but
he now has a whole new life to live."
Details as to the identity of the individual
will be released soon. Several days ago, a
woman claiming to be his estranged wife
made herself known to the Storybrooke
Sheriff's Department
  • The top header of the newspaper says "Comet Marley Makes Debut Appearance".[15] Fittingly enough, the lesson plan on the chalkboard in Mary Margaret's classroom mentions comets, and other astronomical objects.[16]
  • One of the headlines reads "Remnants of Seventeenth Century Colonial Settlement Uncovered at Harestock Bridge". Curiously, the caption does not match the headline. It mentions Storybrooke fishermen who are in an uncertain situation after health officials issue a warning about tide contamination.[17]
  • The newspaper also has an article called "Lyme Disease: A New Understanding".[15] Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks.
  • There is also an article about capsaicin,[15] an active component of chili peppers, that produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact with.
  • Another headline mentions a "Rhododendron Society".[18]
  • A back page article called "Storybrooke Teens Plan Clothing Swap Event for Charity"[19] is adapted from a real article from August 2001 in the online Canadian newspaper Southwestern Ontario:[20]
Kids and teens clothing swap
organized for Elmira

...there's something that you wouldn't
want to wear or put on your kids, don't
bring it."
The swap is geared toward parents who
have infants and children, as well as
Vale, who has three children under the
age of 10, got the novel idea for the swap
after hearing about a big one that takes
place in Montreal.
"I know myself and quite a few other
parents were talking and realizing how
expensive September tends to be,
especially with the back-to-school
clothing and shoes that are required," she
said. "So we were hoping to try to find a...
Storybrooke Teens Plan Clothing Swap
Event for Charity

...there's something that you wouldn't
want to wear or put on your kids, don't
bring it."
The swap is geared toward parents who
have infants and children, as well as those
with teens.
Millar, who has three children under the
age of 10, got the idea for the swap
after hearing about a big one that takes
place in Portland, Maine.
"I know myself and quite a few other
parents were talking and realizing how
[obscured] September tends to be,
[obscured]all the back-to-school
[obscured] are required," she
[obscured] try to find a...
  • Since the show often uses the names of production crew members on the newspaper props, "Millar" is probably a reference to Sheila Millar, who worked on "The Price of Gold".
  • Another back page article called "Town plants gardens to absorb storm water"[21] is directly adapted from an article by the same name in The Post-Star,[22] a daily newspaper in Glen Falls, New York. The Daily Mirror's version is mostly unreadable on its own, but if you compare it to the real article, you can see that the content is the same, but names of people and geographical names have been changed for the show.
  • The name of the news reporter listed in the show's version (barely readable) is Brian Cunningham, who, like Sheila Millar, worked as a production staff member on "The Price of Gold". He also worked as a concept illustrator for Season One.
  • Also mentioned is a "Supervisor Wayne Power", the transport coordinator on the show.
  • Inside the newspaper, there is an article called "local mining museum falls on hard times".[23]

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • In camp, David is preparing for the journey to fight the dragon and unsheathes his sword for King Midas to see. When King Midas says, "You do this and you'll be a legend", the camera zooms for a close-up of David's face, which shows a visible scar on the right side of his chin. Before and after this scene, he has no scar.

Filming Locations

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  3. File:106Title.png
  4. File:106WelcomeHome.png
  5. 5.0 5.1
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  7. File:402RuthLooksAtDavid.png
  8. File:106SeeYou.png
  9. File:107KnowEachOther.png
  10. File:106Scrubbing.png
  11. File:106HeresTheThing.png
  12. File:106Newspaper2.png
  14. File:106LooksSharp.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 File:106Newspaper3.png
  16. File:106YouCant.png
  17. File:106Newspaper.png
  18. File:106HelloDoctorWhale.png
  19. File:106Newspaper.png
  21. File:106MissBlanchard.png
  23. File:106DoctorHuh.png
  24. File:106Clichés.png
  25. File:102DarnCar.png
  27. File:106StillMarried.png
  28. File:106Kiss2.png
  29. File:701SoEarly.png
  30. External screenshot from "Greenbacks"
  31. External screenshot from "One Little Tear"
  32. File:712WellYeah!.png
  33. File:713YouHaveNoIdea.png
  34. File:717What.png
  35. File:106DavidAtTheInn.png
  37. File:102LookingAtFiles.png
  38. File:104IllSeeYouAgain.png
  40. File:106Hellooo2.png
  41. File:313TakeUsAll.png
  42. FacebookIcon keith.steven.christensen. (Ocean Drive Leather) January 8, 2012.  Retrieved on May 26, 2018. "ODLeather gauntlets on hot prince, Josh Dallas." (archive copy)
    FacebookIcon keith.steven.christensen. (Ocean Drive Leather) September 15, 2011.  Retrieved on May 26, 2018. "From "Once Upon A Time", Prince Charming Battle Cuffs." (archive copy)
  44. File:106StayAwayFromYou.png
  45. Ginnifer Goodwin on the Season Two Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "Broken"
  48. File:201SheNeedsToBeLockedUp.png
  49. File:106Everything.png
  50. ❤️SOLD Anthropologie Flower Stand dress on Poshmark
  52. TwitterLogo @UglyVictor (Victor Nelli) on Twitter. "Blieberger Farm in Langley, RT" (Screenshot)
  53. TwitterLogo @yvrshoots (YVRShoots) on Twitter. "#OnceUponaTime filming at Zelena's house on private Blieberger farm today. Aerial view of Langley farm on Vimeo" (Screenshot)
  54. File:105JiminyRuns.png
  55. File:106OhYoureBack.png
    File:113ReallyBad.png (0:24)
    File:113Dinner.png (0:49)
    File:106Hey.png (0:51)
  57. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale - Page 109. New York: Hyperion, 2013. Print.