The battle of the sexes is alive and well in Broughton, where feminist society the Skimmingtons has ruled since the First World War wiped out the young men of the village and started a rift between farmers Peggy Aynscombe and Henry Marwood.

Mildred Danvers returns home after years travelling as the village prepares for the Skimmington Fayre, a traditional contest between the men and women. The same day, Henry is burying his wife Vivienne, who suffered from MS.

Chauvinistic Rev Anthony Gant vows to outlaw the Skimmington society for sex discrimination. Then as Barnaby arrives for the fayre, Mildred is found dead. Gant sneaks off with a box of Mildred's possessions, including a mysterious photograph.

Deacon Cathy Hewlett breaks into Gant's office and takes the photo. Barnaby fires a pistol to start the race and Gant heads off on a donkey, chased by the women. He reaches the finish line but collapses, shot through the temple by a high velocity rifle.

Tests show Mildred died from barbiturate poisoning and Barnaby discovers Gant was involved in a homosexual scandal - and that he was Henry's half brother. Their parents died in a fire at Marwood Hall nearly 50 years ago.

Farmer Lorna Hastings admits she knew Gant's scandalous secret and was using it to persuade him to drop the lawsuit. Tests show Mildred's killer used veterinary drugs - and Henry's fingerprints were among those on her whiskey flask. Meanwhile Henry goes to arch rival Peggy's house - and they embrace passionately.

Matching eyelashes are found on the rifle and Mildred's flask - it looks like one killer is responsible for both murders. As Bullard pinpoints the sniper's position to the church tower, Jones is tasked to take swabs from all the villagers to match the DNA.

Peggy's outspoken daughter Fiona claims her gun was stolen from her car - then put back again. She meets Henry's son Roland, who proposes a truce. Then at Mildred's funeral, Peggy shocks everyone by announcing she and Henry are getting married.

Rumours spread among the women about Vivienne's sudden death and Mildred's relationship to the family. Henry makes a confession and Fiona gives Barnaby the old photograph. As the detective realises the Marwood fire holds the clues to the village mystery, another body is found and the funeral toll rises again.