The Shepherd
Season 1, Episode 6
Airdate December 4, 2011
Written by Ian B. Goldberg
Andrew Chambliss
Directed by Victor Nelli
Episode Guide
That Still Small Voice
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
The Shepherd is the sixth episode of the American Fairy Tale/Drama television series Once Upon a Time. The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the "real world" town by a powerful curse. This episode revolves around David's (Josh Dallas) increasing attraction to Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), the back story behind Prince Charming's (Dallas) past, and Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan) getting caught lying.

It was co-written by Ian B. Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, while being directed by Victor Nelli. The episode first aired in the United States on ABC on December 4, 2011.

View the The Shepherd Gallery.


Opening sequence

A dragon breathing fire is shown in the forest.

Event chronology

The Enchanted Forest scenes appear after "White Out" and directly before the events in "Snow Falls", "Snow Drifts" and "There's No Place Like Home". The Storybrooke events occur after "That Still Small Voice"

In Storybrooke

In Storybrooke, Kathryn (Anastasia Griffith) brings David (Josh Dallas) home for a party in an attempt to bring back his memory. Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) tells Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) that his amnesia is keeping the curse out, which is why the fake memories have not set in. Later that evening, David tells Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) he did not choose Kathryn, and tells Mary Margaret that he loves her instead. That night, Emma tells Mary to do what she feels is right and let David "figure out his life."

Later at the café, Regina (Lana Parrilla) tells Mary Margaret to stay away from David, who has left Kathryn. Hours later at the school, David shows up to see Mary Margaret, but before she can tell him to leave, David tells her that he has made up his mind and to meet him at the toll bridge where she found him the night he awoke. While en route later that evening, David becomes lost and is given false directions from Regina, leading him to Mr. Gold's (Robert Carlyle) Pawn Shop. David becomes fixated on a small windmill that he claims once belonged to him and regains his memories. Moments later at the toll bridge, David tells Mary Margaret that he remembers his life with Kathryn and wants to try again with his wife. A heartbroken Mary Margaret leaves and takes solace at the café, where Dr. Whale (David Anders) joins her and offers a drink. David, on the other hand, returns home to work things out with Kathryn.

Between these events, Emma agrees to cover the night shift at the Sheriff's department so Sheriff Graham can volunteer at the animal shelter. While on patrol, Emma sees a person climbing out of the Mayor's home. As she stops to capture the individual, she is shocked to see that it is none other than Sheriff Graham himself and realizes he is having an affair with Regina. Disgusted, Emma storms off and tells the Sheriff he can finish her shift.

In the Characters' Past

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Prince James (Dallas) competes in a battle against a challenger, preparing for his acceptance from King Midas (Alex Zahara) to slay a dragon as part of a deal between him and James' father, King George (Alan Dale). However, after celebrating the deal, James is stabbed to death by the nearly dead challenger. This makes King George worried about his future and his kingdom, until Rumpelstiltskin (Carlyle) shows up to pay him a visit. Rumpelstiltskin tells him that James has a twin brother, as it appears that the king adopted James through Rumpelstiltskin in order to save the kingdom. He then tells the King that he can bring the twin to the castle to have him pose as James.

At a nearby valley, a young goat herder (despite the episode's title), James' twin brother, is tending his flock. As his mother (Gabrielle Rose) arrives home from the market, she mentions the prospect of an arranged marriage, but the shepherd is not prepared to marry for the sake of a dowry, even though the farm is in trouble. Rumpelstiltskin appears and tells the shepherd the truth about his twin brother being traded to save the farm, and George's offer. The shepherd reluctantly accepts, even as he forgives his mother.

While on their mission, the dragon kills the leading guards, prompting the shepherd to jump into action and kill the dragon. After returning the dragon's head to King Midas, King George and the shepherd, who now takes his late brother James' name, receive a more surprising offer that will unite the two kingdoms: the hand of Midas's daughter Abigail (Griffith) in marriage. But just as the shepherd is about to turn down the offer, King George pulls him aside and whispers in his ear that he is to accept the deal or he will kill him and his mother and take away their land. The shepherd has no choice but to go along with the deal.

As the shepherd returns to his home, he tells his mother that he will not be staying and he can never see her again. However, she gives him a ring that she hopes will be worn by the one that he'll fall in love with. The shepherd returns to the kingdom to thank King George and King Midas, then takes his new bride-to-be Abigail to their destined location, where along the way they're about to encounter a road block that was put in place by a hooded vagabond named Snow White (Goodwin).

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