As their journeys begin, Lloyd is freed from prison by Flagg in exchange for becoming his second in command. Trashcan Man, who is a pyromaniac, destroys a set of fuel tanks in Indiana, then much of Des Moines, in order to win Flagg's favor. Larry escapes New York and meets a mysterious woman named Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo). Despite their mutual attraction, Nadine is unable to consummate a relationship with Larry because of her visions of Flagg, who commands her to join him as his concubine. Nadine eventually leaves Larry to travel on her own. Stu escapes from the CDC facility and gathers a group of survivors, including Frannie; Harold Lauder (Corin Nemec) a hometown acquaintance of Frannie's; and Glen Bateman (Ray Walston), a retired college professor.
As the group travels west, Harold grows frustrated at the way that Stu has assumed leadership and grown close to Frannie. Meanwhile, Nick makes his way across the Midwest, eventually joined by Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke) a gentle mentally challenged man. Eventually, Nick's group reaches Mother Abagail's farm in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. She tells them of a great conflict is imminent and that they must all travel on to Boulder, Colorado. There, the various survivors, including Stu, Frannie, and Larry, join with others to form a new community based around Mother Abagail's teachings. Meanwhile, Flagg sets up his own autocratic society in Las Vegas.