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Episode 180 — 'Rules Of Engagement'

Eager to find any excuse to be together, Alex and Stevie share a truck and head off to sell their cattle. Unbeknownst to Stevie, Alex has a ring and is planning to propose at a romantic dinner where he has booked out the entire terrace of a restaurant.

Against Alex’s wishes, they stop to pick up a hitcher along the way, a feisty young woman called Peta. Owing back taxes, she’s in danger of losing her farm. She is desperate to see her accountant – who also happens to be her boyfriend. When a farmer treats Stevie as invisible, Peta confirms that that’s the sort of thing that can happen to you when you get married. Alex, understandably, is not at all thrilled with this conversation. But when Stevie takes charge and Alex is treated like a farmhand, he’s not too thrilled either. As they discuss how they’re going to work out their roles, a frustrated Peta steals the truck, stranding them in the middle of nowhere.

Determined not to tell Stevie about the ring and foil the surprise, Alex is hell-bent on getting the truck back. He even steals a car, when they fail to get a lift on the road. Stevie can’t understand what’s got into him, and he’s not saying. They get picked up by a cop and carted off for questioning. Released after an impassioned plea by Alex, they eventually find the truck, but no Peta – and no ring. With no money and no credit cards, they are forced to spend a hideously uncomfortable night in the truck. The next day when Alex insists on continuing the search for Peta, Stevie refuses to go with him. She starts to make her own way home, now doubting if the relationship is ever going to work. Alex has to talk her back into the truck. Cornering Peta, they recover their belongings. But Stevie insists on looking in Alex’s bag. They fight over it, sending the ring flying into a muddy yard full of cows. Alex and Stevie scrabble around for the ring, and then, filthy, Alex proposes. Moved by the efforts he made to keep the whole thing a secret, Stevie says yes.

Kate discovers feral cattle in the national park, intending to apply for a permit to claim them. But Phil Rakich claims he’s already applied. The girls give the cattle to Phil, discovering in the process that he’s asked Moira on a date. But when Riley reveals that Phil has lied. Moira tells him to stick his date. Spurred by her troubles with Dave, Kate decides to steal “her” cattle back. Moira has to do a back flip to distract Phil. The date is actually rather charming, and both Phil and Moira enjoy themselves immensely – despite Phil’s revelation that he knows the date was a ruse. Triumphant at their rustling efforts, the girls are dismayed to discover next morning that the cattle have disappeared. But it’s not Phil who’s taken them, it’s Riley. He’s acted on his application for a permit. Refusing to be beaten, Kate insists on a fifty-fifty split and Riley agrees.

Patrick is dismayed when Tayler’s interest in Riley is rekindled after they become entangled managing a skittish brumby. Patrick tries to warn Tayler off by describing the sort of girls Riley likes. The advice backfires, leading Riley to laugh at a humiliated Tayler. Patrick warns Riley to go easy on Tayler, but this backfires too, as Tayler just feels that Patrick has betrayed her trust.

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