A vital colony, needed to support the eventual expansion of the Federation, is suffering problems. The home planet is ravaged by natural disasters. Alien threats endanger the lives of everyone due to greed for the mineral rights. As the Enterprise patrols the system, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov find that the colonists have outright decided they don't want the help of Starfleet anymore.
In Voyages of Imagination, L.A. Graf remarks: "This was fun for us, because we got to recreate a local western Pennsylvania natural disaster: the Johnstown Flood! (If you check the names of several towns on the planet, you'll find they're from the Johnstown area.) By this time, Julia was also doing a lot of herding with her border collies, so we wrote border collies into the plot and used the names of many of our dog-owning friends (with their permission) as characters. And Karen Rose got to use another generation of geoscience students as the scientific crew!"