In a small North Carolina town, two estranged half brothers carry on very different lives. Basketball prodigy Nathan Scott has inherited the throne of high school popularity once held by his father, Dan, while Lucas Scott, also a talented player, stays an outsider. Spending nights shooting hoops on a riverfront court, Lucas remains the son Dan never acknowledged.
Now, Lucas' and Nathan's paths intersect for the first time, and in the middle of the crossroads stands Peyton Sawyer, Nathan's beautiful, edgy girlfriend who just may have more in common with Lucas. Throw in the quiet animosity between Dan and his brother, Keith, along with Lucas' mother, Karen--all of whom must cope with the aftermath of their choices--and something has to give.
01 - The French Connection
Aside from their love for basketball, Nathan Scott (series star JAMES LAFFERTY) and Lucas Scott (series star CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY) seem to have little in common. But like it or not, the two young men are bound together--they share the same father. Arrogant and assured, Nathan is the star of the high school basketball team and hails from a wealthy family. Quiet and driven, Lucas is a legendary playground basketball player and the only child of a working single mom. After growing up on opposite sides of the tracks in the same small town of Tree Hill, North Carolina, the half-brothers suddenly find their lives colliding. And squarely in the middle is Nathan's beautiful girlfriend, Peyton Sawyer (series star HILARIE BURTON), an intensely private and sensitive girl who quickly feels a connection to Lucas. At the same time, Nathan becomes intrigued by Lucas' female best friend, Haley James (series star BETHANY JOY LENZ), who must deal with this strange new existence of wealth and privilege along with Lucas.
Nathan's father, Dan (series star PAUL JOHANSSON), and Lucas' mother, Karen Roe (series star MOIRA KELLY), were high school sweethearts. When Karen became pregnant during their senior year, she was devastated by Dan's decision to go to college on a basketball scholarship, leaving Karen behind to raise their son, Lucas, alone. When Dan's dream of a basketball career didn't work out, he returned to town with the wife he met in college and his new son, Nathan. Now a wealthy businessman, Dan lives his basketball dreams through Nathan. While Karen raised Lucas without a father, she remained friends with Dan's older brother, Keith (series star CRAIG SHEFFER), who has served as Lucas' surrogate father.
It is Keith who persuades the grizzled high school basketball coach, Whitey Durham (series star BARRY CORBIN), to invite Lucas to join the team, sparking a conflict with Nathan. At the same time, Dan and Keith clash over Dan's disowning of Lucas. Nathan challenges Lucas to a nighttime one-on-one basketball game. If Nathan wins, Lucas must not join the team; if Lucas wins, Nathan will quit. During the game, the players are almost equally skilled, but Nathan's cockiness costs him a few early points, and Lucas triumphs. He then reveals to Peyton that he changed his end of the bargain--Lucas bet that if he won, Nathan would not be allowed to quit the team. The two estranged half-brothers are now teammates.
Not appearing in this episode is series star SOPHIA BUSH as Brooke Davis, a cheerleader.
02 - The Dream Lover
After failing in his first varsity basketball game, Lucas decides to quit the team. Meanwhile, Nathan and Peyton's faltering relationship continues to weaken as Peyton tires of Nathan's poor treatment of Lucas. And Keith forces Karen to deal with her resentment towards Dan after she refuses to attend Lucas' games.
03 - The Groundhog Day
After a particularly spectacular basketball game, Lucas quickly supplants Nathan as the team's most popular player. Sexy cheerleader Brooke immediately sets her romantic sights on the new star athlete. Frustrated by Lucas' success--and goaded on by Dan--Nathan rallies his teammates and begins a hazing campaign against Lucas, including trashing the outdoor court where Lucas practices. The pranks escalate until Nathan and the guys abduct Lucas and order him to quit the team before something terrible happens to him. But one player, Jake (recurring guest star BRYAN GREENBERG), defies Nathan and supports Lucas. Nathan seeks the ultimate revenge on Lucas by attempting to seduce Lucas' best friend, Haley, persuading her to tutor him and then flirting relentlessly. Haley agrees to help Nathan with his homework only if he will stop harassing Lucas, but even she finds it hard to resist Nathan's charm, and she keeps the entire arrangement secret from Lucas.
Meanwhile, Peyton becomes upset with Lucas because he submitted her drawings to a hip magazine without her knowledge. She also wonders why she continues dating self-centered Nathan, who barely acknowledges her ambitions. When the publication expresses interest in printing her work, Lucas is the one who encourages her to dispense with her doubts and pursue her dream of being an artist without compromising her ideals. Also, Karen confronts her rival from high school, who is now the stepmother of one of Lucas' jealous teammates.
04 - The Case of the Franks
Haley convinces Lucas to go with the team to a party at Nathan's beach house, hoping that the guys will become friendlier. When Lucas sees the wealth that is denied him, he finally confronts his mother about why she lets Dan ignore them. Meanwhile, when Nathan's mother, Deb Scott (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS), returns home and tries to deal with her angry son, she turns to Karen for advice.
05 - The Shake Up
Lucas asks Keith to play with him in the annual "Father and Son" basketball game and realizes he got the better father figure after Dan publicly humiliates Nathan on the court. Meanwhile, Peyton has a hard time dealing with the anniversary of her mother's death and finds a comforting ally in Whitey.
06 - The Night Moves
When Whitey ejects Lucas and Nathan from the team bus due to their misconduct on the basketball court, the half-brothers are stranded 30 miles from home. They encounter a carload of punks who threaten them with a gun. Injured during the game, Brooke needs Peyton to drive her home and, in an unlikely turn of events, Peyton asks Haley for help. Meanwhile, Karen and Keith attend a business function, and tempers flare when Nathan's mother, Deb (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS), is seated at their table with Dan.
07 - The End Isn't Near, It's Here
The night of Dan and Deb's (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS) annual basketball appreciation party spurs old memories and new feelings. Karen makes a new friend, Keith confronts Dan again, and Lucas finally makes his romantic intentions clear to Peyton. Meanwhile, Haley and Nathan grow closer until Brooke spreads a vicious rumor that devastates Haley.
08 - The Search for Something More
Hoping to have fun, Brooke and Peyton attend a college party, but the situation gets bad when one of the guys, Gabe (MIKE ERWIN - "Everwood"), drugs Peyton. After Brooke calls Lucas for help, the friends bond while caring for the sleeping Peyton, prompting Lucas to gain a new appreciation for Brooke. Meanwhile, Haley gives Nathan another chance, and the two go on their first date.
09 - With Arms Outstretched
After fighting with his father and Haley, Nathan succumbs to the pressure and takes amphetamines to help him play basketball better. However, he isn't prepared for the destruction the drugs do to both his body and his family. Meanwhile, Peyton intends to rekindle her relationship with Lucas, but when she arrives at his house, she witnesses him with Brooke.
10 - You Gotta Go There to Come Back
Lucas and Peyton try to redefine their friendship after Lucas chooses to be with her best friend, Brooke, who is unaware that Lucas and Peyton briefly dated. Dan invites Deb (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS) to a getaway weekend, but she suggests he devote the time to Nathan. However, Dan and Nathan's father/son weekend ends abruptly when, after Dan's constant criticism, Nathan publicly reveals his drug use and rebukes his father. Lucas asks Nathan to join his team in a late-night basketball game.
11 - The Living Years
Unable to cope with the pressure from Dan, Nathan quits the basketball team. Although Haley fears that Nathan will not need her emotional support as much now, he relies even more heavily on her. Meanwhile, Brooke becomes increasingly jealous of Lucas and Peyton's growing friendship.
12 - Crash Course in Polite Conversation
After Peyton receives the devastating news that her father is lost at sea, she and Lucas take an overnight trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to identify a body that has washed ashore. Overcome with emotion, Peyton kisses Lucas. Meanwhile, an unexpected visit from Dan's parents, Royal (GERALD McRANEY - "Major Dad") and May (TESS HARPER - "Crimes of the Heart"), leaves the Scott family in turmoil as numerous family secrets are revealed during Dan's birthday dinner.
13 - Hanging By a Moment
On their way to drive Karen home from the airport, Keith and Lucas collide with an oncoming vehicle, leaving Lucas unconscious and fighting for his life. At that moment, Dan is traveling to Deb's house to plead with her to give their marriage a chance, and he witnesses the accident. At the hospital, Dan must acknowledge that Lucas is his son in order to authorize emergency surgery. Karen is paged at the airport with the devastating news. Meanwhile, Peyton decides to tell best friend Brooke that she kissed Lucas.
14 - I Shall Believe
While holding a vigil at Lucas' bedside as he lays in a coma, Karen meets Brooke, who is now dating Lucas, and learns from Deb (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS) that Deb and Dan are getting divorced. Most shocking of all, Karen is horrified to discover that Keith was drinking alcohol while driving at the time of the accident. Meanwhile, Nathan tries to win Haley back after she breaks up with him.
15 - Suddenly Everything Has Changed
After his near-death experience, Lucas decides he made the wrong choice in girlfriends. He breaks up with Brooke and secretly rekindles his romance with Peyton. However, the truth is revealed after he is rushed to the emergency room again, and the girls come face to face in the hospital. Meanwhile, unable to pay his mortgage because he had to cover Lucas' hospital bill, Keith puts his business up for sale.
16 - The First Cut is the Deepest
Nathan must choose which parent to live with after Dan and Deb's divorce. Dan forces Nathan to make the decision by threatening to reveal Deb's (recurring guest star BARBARA ALYN WOODS) darkest secrets in court unless Nathan chooses him. Meanwhile, Lucas meets a beautiful stranger who challenges his perceptions of life since Lucas' car accident. Grammy Award winner SHERYL CROW guest stars as herself and performs her song "The First Cut Is the Deepest" in Karen's Café.
17 - Spirit in the Night
The gang hits the road to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a basketball game and an annual cheerleading competition that squad leader Brooke is determined to win. When one of the teammates gets sick, Brooke's fellow cheerleader Peyton begs Haley to join the squad for the competition. Meanwhile, after Whitey assigns Lucas and Nathan to the same hotel room, tempers flare, and Haley is caught in the middle.
18 - To Wish Impossible Things
Lucas, Nathan, their teammate Jake (recurring guest star BRYAN GREENBERG) and the rest of the Raven basketball players are auctioned to the highest bidder in the annual "Boy Toy" charity auction, and the evening leads to surprising developments. Meanwhile, having missed out on the auction, Brooke ends up with offbeat Mouth (recurring guest star LEE NORRIS) and gives him the night of his life.
19 - How Can You Be Sure?
Lucas must make a difficult decision regarding Brooke. Haley considers having sex with Nathan. Keith wants more from his relationship with Karen. And Dan tries to get runaway Nathan to return home.
20 - What Is and What Should Never Be
While Nathan looks for an after-school job to pay his rent, Haley hosts a party at his apartment--but she panics when the situation gets out of control. After jilted Brooke realizes she was not invited to the festivities, she decides to attend the party anyway, along with her new friend, Nicki (recurring guest star EMMANUELLE VAUGIER - "Smallville").
21 - The Leaving Song
Lucas is shocked to learn that Dan once asked Karen for joint custody of him when he was a baby. Meanwhile, Peyton panics after her friend Nicki (recurring guest star EMMANUELLE VAUGIER) kidnaps basketball player Jake's (recurring guest star BRYAN GREENBERG) baby while baby-sitting.
22 - The Games That Play Us
Lucas and Nathan bear the brunt of Dan's abuse as he coaches them into the playoffs, pushing both of them to their emotional breaking points. Haley is stunned after Dan threatens her, causing her to reconsider her relationship with Nathan. Meanwhile, Whitey finds out that his medical condition may be more serious than he first expected, and Dan learns a shocking secret from Deb.