This volume takes place as the group is on the road making its way to Washington, D.C. with a scientist, Eugene Porter, who can apparently end the outbreak. Rick is immediately at odds with Abraham over their methods on how to lead. With Carl in tow, the three travel to Rick's hometown for any supplies left at Rick's police station and come across an old friend in the process. Along the way, Rick finally sees just how far he is willing to go to protect the family he has left.
The survivors travel and set up camp along their way to Washington, D.C., but, Rick still feels guilty for the decision that lead to many deaths, but, is primarily tormented by the death of his wife, Lori, and daughter, Judith. He has a long talk with "Lori" on his phone about his dream where he is almost unable to stop Carl from dying. Meanwhile, Maggie Greene is going through depression due to the loss of her entire family, and Glenn is unable to comfort her. The group scavenges a small town for supplies and discovers a zombie that is too weak to attempt to eat anyone. The group ponders if the zombies can be malnourished or even starve to death.
The group sets up camp again, and Maggie leaves to use the restroom. After a while, Glenn sets off to find her and discovers that she is hanging from a tree with a rope tied around her neck.
Glenn screams for help and Abraham cuts her down, only to find that she is not breathing. Glenn wants to do CPR, but, Abraham puts a gun to her head and says that she is dead and they have to shoot her or she will come back as a zombie. The group argues and just as Abraham is about to pull the trigger, Rick puts a gun to Abraham's head and says that if he shoots Maggie, he will kill him. Just then, Maggie wakes up and gasps for air, revealing that she was alive. The group goes back to camp, and Maggie does not want to talk to anyone, even her husband, about what she tried to do. Rick is watching over the camp that night until Abraham comes to relieve him and tells Rick that if he ever points a gun at him again, he will kill him. Rick replies that if Abraham ever does something that requires Rick to put the gun to his head, he won't hesitate to shoot.
The next morning, Rick is attacked by a zombie, but, does not have a weapon and is unable to defend himself, but, can see Abraham pointing a gun in his direction. Rick screams for Abraham to shoot, but, Abraham just watches. Finally, he shoots the zombie and saves Rick's life. Abraham walks away from the group, and Rosita finds him shaking and crying. Abraham tells her he was pointing the gun at Rick before he even saw the zombie. He pleads with Rosita to not let him kill again. Rosita assures him that the people he killed in the past left him no choice and it was not his fault.
The group stops at a gas station and tries to decide the best route to get to Washington, D.C. and whether they should take the interstate. Rick tells Abraham that he wants to take the interstate to his hometown to get extra supplies from the police station and to check on "old friends." Abraham agrees, and the group decides to wait while they go. Rick, his son Carl, and Abraham set off, with Michonne stating that if they are not back in three days, she will set off to find them. On the first night of their trip, they are surprised at knife point by three bandits who want to take their supplies. Rick tries to fight them off, but, he is overpowered and beaten. The bandits then say they are going to rape Carl because Rick tried to fight. Rick bites the neck of the bandit holding him back, killing him. This causes the bandit holding a gun to Abraham to get distracted and Abraham shoots him in the head. The third bandit tries to run away, but, Rick chases him down and brutally kills him.
The next morning, Abraham tells Rick that no one is the same after doing something like that. Abraham tells Rick that at the beginning of the outbreak, he and a group of friends banded together. During this time, after successfully securing a grocery store, Abraham went out to search for more weapons. While he was gone, his friends raped his wife and daughter while they made his son watch. In a fit of rage, he killed the men who did it. After that, his wife and children were scared of him and decided to run away. After a day of searching, Abraham caught up with them, but, they eaten alive or zombified and he had to kill them. Rick reveals to Abraham how he killed Dexter and Martinez at the prison to protect his wife and son. Carl talks about how he killed Shane when Shane threatened Rick.
At long last, Rick, Abraham, and Carl reach Rick's hometown. There they find an unstable Morgan and Morgan's undead son who is chained to the floor. Unwilling to kill his own son, Morgan remained with Duane and killed anyone who came to their house to feed him. After seeing this, Rick has a short discussion with Morgan and hands him a gun, explaining to him that he must kill Duane and move on. A gunshot is heard and Morgan leaves the house with Rick and his party. It is revealed that Morgan fired a gunshot and freed Duane instead of killing him. Morgan, Rick, Carl, and Abraham go to the police station to get the guns. After spending a sleepless night out in the open, they are driving along when they come upon a herd of about a thousand zombies. Rick drives as fast as he can to plow through them, but, hits an abandoned car. They escape on foot and are pursued by zombies. Rick and the others escape the herd by tricking them into thinking they've occupied a house, they do this by searching around the house for electrical appliances that would make a large noise. This plan fails and they are pursued by the herd back to the gas station. In a state of panic, they declare that they must immediately leave and get back on the road. Dale is reluctant, because he's found an isolated farm house and wants to settle down and feels that Rick is continually putting the group into serious danger, however, Andrea manages to convince Dale to leave. Dale adds that he is anxious what Rick will do next to put them in danger.
- Rick Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Morgan Jones
- Maggie Greene
- Abraham Ford
- Rosita Espinosa
- Eugene Porter
- The Marauders
- Duane Jones (Zombified)