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For Better or for Worse
Season 3, Episode 25
Takes Place {{{takesplace}}}
Air date 20 May 1995
Written by Beth Sullivan
Directed by Gwen Arner
Episode guide
Ready or Not
A New Life

For Better or Worse is the twenty-fifth episode of Season 3 of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, the sixty-sixth episode of the series, and the seventh two hour special. The episode centers around the arrival of the new railroad, Dr. Mike and Sully's wedding, and Custer's attempts to capture Cloud Dancing.

Part 1[]

The railroad has finally come to Colorado Springs and Dr. Mike and Sully's wedding is just a little over a week away! The town is busy planning for the big wedding day and preparing for the first train's arrival. On it are a few surprises -- the first passengers on the new train are Dr. Mike's mother (Mrs. Elizabeth Quinn) and two of her sisters (Rebecca Dickinson and Marjorie Quinn). The conductor on the train is John, a man who Dr. Mike perform facial plastic surgery on in episode Halloween II.

Tensions mount between Sully and Dr. Mike leading up to the wedding when Dr. Mike reveals that she doesn't want to take Sully's name and that she would like him to wear a ring, something he adamantly opposes. To make matters worse, with the arrival of Dr. Mike's mother came a series of trunk full of items Mrs. Quinn deems necessary for a proper wedding. The entire wedding seems to be slipping away from Dr. Mike and Sully's control as the townspeople and Mrs. Quinn take over planning for a big affair, disregarding the wishes of the bride and groom to plan their own wedding. Mrs. Quinn even invites General Custer, not knowing how much that will bother Dr. Mike and Sully, who have just learned that Custer has placed a bounty on Cloud Dancing.

A notice has been placed at the train station offering a $500 reward for the capture (dead or alive) of Cloud Dancing. Sully tracks down Cloud Dancing to warn him, but is followed by Custer and his army and taken prisoner himself. Though Custer ultimately sets Sully free, his captures causes Sully to miss his rehearsal supper, leaving Dr. Mike to believe he ran off angry because of their recent fighting and doesn't want to go through with the wedding. Mrs. Quinn and Dr. Mike's sisters do not help matters as they try to convince Dr. Mike that Sully has run away and left her at the altar.

Marjorie Quinn briefly becomes Dr. Mike's patient after Hank informs her that the reason for her increasingly foul behavior since her arrival is that she's jealous of Dr. Mike and that she's suffering from an STD, presumably given to her by her estranged husband, Everett. The episode ends with Dr. Mike and Marjorie coming to some resolution over their differences and expressing how happy they are to be sister.

Part 2[]

Sully returns to town in good spirits and he tells her how he was captured by Custer. Sully and Dr. Mike apologize to each other for fighting and agree that he won't wear a wedding ring and she won't have to change her name. Together, they decide to take a firm stance about their vision for their own wedding.

The men in town throw a surprise bachelor party for Sully at Hank's saloon and Dr. Mike is treated to a bridal shower at Grace's café. Mrs. Quinn is insulted that despite gifting an expensive gown from Paris, Dr. Mike deems all the gifts equally as nice. Mrs. Quinn storms out of the shower, and the mother and daughter have a heart-to-heart about mutual disappointments in each other and where the boundary must be set between maintaining the old traditions versus embracing new ways and Dr. Mike's new life. With Mr. Quinn being dead, Dr. Mike asks her mother to give away the bride. She flat out refuses.

The wedding day arrives, but before the ceremony begins, Sully asks Loren if he will give the bride away. It's especially meaningful that Loren accepts as he is the father of Sully's late wife, Abagail. Sully visits Abagail's grave to tell her it's time he moves on, and he leaves a lock of hair on her grave, a symbolic tradition of the Cheyenne when they lose a loved one.

The women work furiously to combine the two wedding dresses -- the one Dorothy made and the one Mrs. Quinn brought with her -- into a single dress.

Jake knocks out Custer with a pew when Cloud Dancing arrives at the ceremony, then he, along with Robert E., tie Custer up in the clinic until the reception.


  • railroad arrives in town
  • a bounty is placed on the capture of Cloud Dancing
  • first time we see the new house Sully built nearly finished
  • the wedding date is May 20th - what the spirits told Cloud Dancing it must be
  • Everett abandoned Marjorie


Dr. Quinn Episodes
Season 1 "Pilot" • "Epidemic" • "The Visitor" • "Law of the Land" • "The Healing" • "Father's Day "• "Bad Water" • "The Great American Medicine Show" • "A Cowboy's Lullaby" • "Running Ghost" • "The Prisoner" • "Happy Birthday" • "Rite of Passage" • "Heroes" • "The Operation" • "The Secret" • "Portraits"
Season 2 "The Race" • "Sanctuary" • "Halloween" • "The Incident" • "Saving Souls" • "Where the Heart Is" • "Giving Thanks" • "Best Friends" • "Sully's Choice" • "Mike's Dream: A Christmas Tale" • "Crossing the Line" • "The Offering" • "The Circus" • "Another Woman" • "Orphan Train" • "Buffalo Soldiers" • "Luck of the Draw" • "Life and Death" • "The First Circle" • "Just One Lullaby" • "The Abduction" • "The Campaign" • "The Man in the Moon" • "Return Engagement"
Season 3 "The Train" • "Fathers and Sons" • "Cattle Drive" • "The Library" • "Halloween II" • "The Washington Affair" • "Money Trouble" • "Thanksgiving" • "Ladies Night" • "The First Christmas" • "Indian Agent" • "The End of the World" • "Pike's Peace" • "Cooper vs. Quinn" • "What Is Love?" • "Things My Father Never Taught Me" • "Baby Outlaws" • "Bone of Contention" • "The Permanence of Change" • "Washita" • "Sully's Recovery" • "Ready or Not" • "For Better or Worse"
Season 4 "A New Life" • "Traveling All-Stars" • "Mothers and Daughters" • "Brother's Keeper" • "Halloween III" • "Dorothy's Book" • "Promises, Promises" • "Expedition" • "One Touch of Nature" • "Hell on Wheels" • "Fifi's First Christmas" • "Change of Heart" • "Tin Star" • "If You Love Someone" • "The Iceman Cometh" • "Dead or Alive" • "Deal with the Devil" • "Eye for an Eye" • "Hearts and Minds" • "Reunion" • "Woman of the Year" • "Last Chance" • "Fear Itself" • "One Nation" • "When a Child Is Born"
Season 5 "Runaway Train" • "Having It All" • "Malpractice" • "All That Glitters..." • "Los Americanos" • "Last Dance" • "Right or Wrong" • "Remember Me" • "Legend" • "The Tempest" • "Separate but Equal" • "A Place to Die" • "Season of Miracles" • "The Dam" • "Farewell Appearance" • "The Most Fatal Disease" • "Colleen's Paper" • "A House Divided" • "Hostage" • "The Body Electric" • "Before the Dawn" • "Starting Over" • "His Father's Son" • "Moment of Truth"
Season 6 "Reason to Believe" • "All That Matters" • "A Matter of Conscience" • "The Comfort of Friends" • "Wave Goodbye" • "A Place Called Home" • "Lead Me Not" • "A Time to Heal" • "Civil Wars" • "Safe Passage" • "Homecoming" • "Point Blank" • "Seeds of Doubt" • "Seven Kinds of Lonely" • "Life in the Balance" • "Happily Ever After" • "Birdman" • "Vengeance" • "To Have and to Hold" • "The Fight" • "A New Beginning "
Movies Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The MovieDr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The Heart Within