In the premiere episode, which aired as a special episode of Touched By an Angel, angels Tess and Monica asked Russell, recently laid-off from his factory job, to "redefine what it means to be a good neighbor and recapture the American dream." To do this, Russell and his family traveled around the country in a beat up Airstream trailer, helping people in need, looking for work, and learning from their experiences. Russell's family included his wife Clare (Wendy Phillips), who was licensed to homeschool their kids while they were on the road; his mother Hattie (Celeste Holm), who updated a hand-embroidered map to show all places they had traveled; and his teenage son Josh (Austin O'Brien), daughter Dinah (Sarah Schaub), and young nephew Nathaniel (Eddie Karr), who had been abandoned by Russell's troubled brother Joe (Richard Thomas). Erasmus was an old friend of the family who lived in Chickory Creek, the small town in Kentucky where Hattie grew up. The family frequently returned to Chicory Creek to celebrate holidays and rest. Occasionally they were assisted by Tess or other angels while they tried to help people overcome their personal problems or rekindle their lapsed faith.