Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Act One

It is 1850. Adam Pontipee is on his farm, packing his gear in preparation for a trip to town. He looks downriver in anticipation. He hasn't met her yet, but he's looking for the gal for him ("Adam Introduction"). When he arrives in the town, the suitors, brides and townsfolk are dancing together, making it clear that there are already ten men for every woman in town ("Gallant and Correct"). At Mayor Hoallum's trading store, Adam offers to trade some of his beavers for a bride; Mrs. Hoallum is not pleased by the suggestion. Despite the odds against him, the girls in the town are drawn to Adam, and he goes around town to meet them, vowing not to leave until he's found a wife. He sees Milly going into Mr. Sander's restaurant and is intrigued. ("Bless Your Beautiful Hide.")

Adam goes into the restaurant and, not only sees Mr. Sander ordering Milly around, but also the Lumbermen upon whom she is waiting, giving her a hard time. When one of the Lumbermen grabs Milly, Adam takes issue and throws him out the door. Milly thanks him with a bowl of stew, which she cooked. This information, along with everything else, makes Adam certain that Milly is the "gal" for him. He finds her chopping wood out back and introduces himself. They talk about how she lives alone after having arrived in town a few months back; her parents died on the trail. He proposes marriage. Milly is taken aback because she barely knows him, but after he describes his farm, she accepts, and feels it might be nice to go somewhere a bit more remote after the restaurant. He goes off to clean up and find a preacher, telling her that he'll be back soon.

Once he's gone, the other women in town question Milly about what she is doing. Mrs. Hoallum can't believe that Milly is marrying a man that she just met. Mrs. Hoallum tries to tell Milly something that she "needs to know" about Adam's family, but Milly doesn't want to hear it, she is sure that he is her dream man. The other women try to warn her of all of the possible complications, but she won't hear them ("Wonderful, Wonderful Day"). Soon after, a clean-shaven Adam returns with a preacher, and they get married.

Adam takes Milly back to his family home. She is surprised to be introduced to an incredibly messy house and his six scruffy brothers: Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank and Gideon. As Adam explains all the chores that he wants Milly to do, Milly realizes that she should have listened to Mrs. Hoallum and Mrs. Sander. Nevertheless, she begins to make dinner, declaring for herself that she will show them that she will not become their slave ("I Married Seven Brothers"). When she complains to Adam about his brothers' atrocious table manners, he doesn't understand. Frustrated, she lifts the corner of the table – turning the whole supper over onto them – and storms off.

While Milly is locked in her room reading The Bible, the brothers wait to see what Adam will do, as he reluctantly waits downstairs. Finally, in order to save face in front of them, Adam goes to her and tries to act as if nothing is wrong. However, Milly confronts him, saying that he doesn't want a wife... he wants a hired girl! To Milly, a hired girl's "got a right to her own sleeping place." She sends him outside to sleep in a tree, and he has to sheepishly walk down the stairs, past his brothers. Once out in the tree, Adam makes a big show of trying to find a comfortable position in which to lie. In the ensuing comic scene, he wins Milly over with his contrition and repeated insistence that he wanted to marry her, not just find a hired girl. He insists that his brothers will soon have wives of their own, and it will be just them.

The next morning, Milly wakes up the brothers, telling them that she has washed their clothes, and they're now out on the line. She requests that they give her the undergarments in which they were sleeping. While the brothers refuse at first, they eventually give in as Milly "seduces" them with hotcakes, bacon and coffee. After removing their dirty clothes, the brothers re-emerge, covered in blankets, and start breakfast. Gideon tells Milly that he's glad she is the lady that Adam chose for his wife. He and the others confess that they, too, would like wives, but don't know anything about women. Milly decides to teach them etiquette so that they can go to the next social in town and meet some nice girls ("Goin' Courting"). Time passes, and the men transform themselves from wild country bumpkins to clean-shaven gentlemen.

At the social, Milly introduces each of the brothers to a prospective bride by pairing them up to help carry in the dishes: Dorcas and Benjamin, Ruth and Caleb, Liza and Daniel, Martha and Ephraim, Sarah and Frank, and Alice and Gideon. However, the town suitors do not take kindly to the arrival of the Pontipee Brothers, especially when they see that their dates are rather taken with the handsome lads. As the dance begins, the suitors cut in to claim their dates from the brothers, and tensions escalate ("The Challenge Dance"). Initially, everyone keeps their cool, but when Adam is slugged by one of the townsmen, a fight breaks out and pandemonium reigns.

Back at home, Milly gives the wounded brothers different remedies for their injuries, but Gideon's ailment is of a different nature: he confesses to Adam that he is in love with Alice. Adam tells him not to think of her, because every girl is the same. Simultaneously, Milly reflects on how Adam is the only man for her ("Love Never Goes Away").

The next morning, Benjamin tells Adam that he wants to go to town rather than stay snowed in all winter; it's clear that Gideon's not the only smitten brother. Adam is confounded that his brothers are "grieving" for girls that they just met, but Milly warns him that, if Benjamin leaves, the others will follow. He agrees to talk to them.

Adam sits his brothers down and tells them that they look like a bunch of "lovesick bull calves" and that they should just marry the girls if they love them so much. When Gideon responds that the fight means folks won't let them into town to court the girls, Adam questions the need for courting. He says that they should just do what the Romans did with the Sabine women – steal them. The brothers agree. Adam gathers the necessary equipment and leads them to town ("The Sobbin' Women").

Act Two

When the brothers arrive in town, they each go off to find their respective brides. Adam warns them to stay out of sight or they'll end up with a rifle to their noses. Each devises a plan to lure his bride away from whomever she is with at the moment, and then summarily throws a blanket over her head and carries her off. The one exception is Gideon, who can't bring himself to do that. He scares Alice with a mouse so that she'll faint, and then carries her off. When the townsmen and suitors realize what has happened, they chase the Pontipees back to the farm. The chase causes an avalanche to go off in Echo Pass, trapping the brothers and the brides at the farm (from a head start) and keeping the townspeople and suitors out until spring. The dismayed suitors and townsmen pray for their girls' virtue ("The Suitors' Lament").

Upon arriving at the farm, the brides tell Milly what happened. She is horrified. The brothers realize that they forgot the Parson – meaning that they can't get married until spring. A furious Milly tells the girls that no harm will come to them, so she sends them into the house and tells the men, including Adam, that they must sleep and eat in the barn. Adam and Milly have a heated argument. She is mad about what he's done, and he is mad that she has turned his brothers into "sissies." The brothers side with Milly, admitting that it would be improper to sleep in the house. Adam doesn't agree with them and says that he's leaving. Milly says that he should listen to his brothers. He tells her that, the last time he listened to them, he ended up married to her and he would have been better off with a hired girl. He insists that she doesn't know how hard it is to run the farm, like his parents did – Adam's Ma obeyed his Pa when times were tough ("Where Were You?"). He leaves.

The other six brothers stay in the barn, but want to come into the house. Milly refuses them loudly, but then quietly brings them food and blankets. The girls taunt them with snowballs and tricks. In the barn, the brothers longingly think about their brides ("We Gotta Make It through the Winter"). One day, while the girls are doing chores, the brothers approach them and apologize for what they did. Milly accepts the apology on the girls' behalf, but sends the boys back to their chores. Gideon tells Milly that he's worried about Adam, up on the ridge by himself. He offers to go try to talk to him, but Milly pretends that she doesn't care.

The girls have been placated by the brothers' apology and request to have dinner with them. Milly reminds them of the rules. She then reveals that she will be having Adam's baby, but that he doesn't know. The girls tell Milly that they want to stay with the brothers. She tells them that, if that's true, then they must wait until spring ("We Gotta Make It – Reprise"). Spring comes in the form of a dance that brings the couples closer together ("Spring Dance").

Meanwhile, Gideon finds Adam in the mountains and asks him to come back to the farm. Adam, still angry, has no intention of returning, even after learning that Milly gave birth to a baby girl. Gideon is ashamed of Adam for being so closed-minded. Adam is ashamed of his brothers for letting Milly change them for the worse, as he sees it. Gideon leaves Adam alone to ponder his situation ("Am I Stubborn?").

Back at the Pontipee house, Milly sings a lullaby to her new daughter while everyone else, now happily paired off, gathers around ("Glad That You Were Born"). While everyone sings to the newborn, Adam silently enters the room. Rather than run to his wife and new daughter, he gruffly states that he said he'd be back when the pass opened up and it is now open. The brides are miserable when they hear this news. Milly warns Adam that this will be dangerous for the boys, as they're not welcome in town. Despite this, both girls and brothers are sent off to prepare for the return.

Adam is alone with Milly and the baby. Although he has rehearsed the moment, he's not sure what to say. Finally, he explains that he wants to be with her and the baby... and apologizes. They reconcile ("Love Never Goes Away – Reprise").

While Milly goes to check on the girls, the brothers come to Adam to say that they're not taking the girls back. Adam convinces them that the only way to keep the girls is to take them back to their families. Otherwise, there will be fighting involved, and somebody is bound to get hurt in the process. Milly bursts into the room with a note from the girls, informing everyone that they have run away. The girls don't want to go back. A rather stunned Adam pushes the boys off to find the girls and bring them back. A wacky chase ensues ("The Chase").

During the chase, the girls run right into the townsmen and suitors who have come to "rescue" them, but the women refuse go. Then, all hear the sound of a baby. The Preacher (also Alice's father) asks the girls whose baby it is. Suddenly and simultaneously, the girls declare: "Mine!" The townsfolk react in horror.

Milly and Adam prepare for their wedding, Milly holding the baby ("Wonderful Day – Reprise"). They join the other couples and The Preacher presides over a joint seven-way wedding. Now that they are lawfully wedded men and wives, the brothers kiss the brides, and a wonderful wedding dance ensues ("Wedding Dance / Act II Finale").