Allison DuBois is a happily married mother of three, trying to become a lawyer. But she has a problem living a normal life: the dead talk to her. Her husband Joe persuades her to contact local police departments with her visions, in the hope that she will then realise that they are just dreams. But the Texas Rangers get back in touch, and a very skeptical Captain enlists her aid to crack a crime. So she decides that this is the life for her.
Allison is bored: the DA hasn't yet consulted her on anything. But then he asks her help to pick a jury that will sentence a convicted murderer to the death penalty. She agrees, and manages to pick jurors that do so. But then she sees the killer, and he doesn't have the the face in her dreams. She's distraught, until she sees the face in her dreams on a menu of a restaurant that they frequent -- so now she's happy.
Detective Lee Scanlon is convinced that a string of apparent murder-suicides are in fact murders by someone else. But he is less than thrilled to discover that the only person who agrees with him, Allison, is a psychic. But she gives him the clue that lets him catch the perpertrator: a psychotic photographer engaged in sick psychological experiments. Meanwhile, her husband Joe is pretending to throw her a surprise birthday party so that he can really surprise her with a holiday trip to Mexico. It appears to have worked, except at the last minute she pulls a ready-packed suitcase from under the bed.
Allison dreams she is being chased by a wolf through an airport. A woman witness a murder, but the description she gives isn't the one Allison sees in her mind. Eventually she persuades her to describe the real killer -- Detective Wolfe -- and the nightmare chase is played out again for real.
Allison consults another psychic to find out if her husband Joe's biopsy on a mole is anything to worry about. It's not, but the psychic lets slip there is an upcoming strain on the marriage. Allison is worried it might be adultery: Joe has been coming home late, and she has a dream of him embracing another woman. When Allison dreams of the location of a murder weapon in a coffin, the DA gets an exhumation order by lying about where she got the information. The defence calls her to the stand to cross-examine her on this fact, and the DA wants her to uphold this lie. She argues with Joe about whether to lie, and realises this is the strain. She manages to stop the defence lawyer cross-examining her by letting him know that she knows of some dubious actions in his past. In the final scene, Joe performs theon a woman choking, and Allison recognises her dream as this scene.
Allison has dreams about an evil man raping and murdering women. She then sees the man, a Good Samaritan come in to report a burglary. Digging deeper, she realises her dreams are about events 7 years in the future. Meanwhile, she discovers her oldest daughter Ariel can read minds.
Allison dreams of a woman jumping off a cliff. But then it appears the victim may not have been alone when she jumped. The ruthless defence lawyer [1.5. In Sickness and in Adultery] and his son seem to be involved, but how? Allison also gets a premonition that her husband Joe's workmate is going to die from a heart-attack -- can he be saved?
Allison dreams of her soldier brother's death in Afghanistan, but then he turns up on her doorstep. When she hears his dead sergeant speaking to him, she realises he has similar powers to her. She also investigates an arson attack in which a young girl died.
Allison's oldest daughter Ariel dreams of a little girl Sarah who seeminingly was murdered two years earlier. But Ariel is convinced the girl is still alive. Allison pretends it is her own dream, to protect Ariel, but as the evidence builds, she has to admit to Detective Scanlon. She and Scanlon hunt for Sarah, and find her being held captive by the brother of the man who confessed to murdering her.
A 14 year old boy confesses to the murder of a respected politician, but the DA thinks he is being paid to do so. He asks Allison for help, but she is being haunted by a dream of a train and a missing boy. She finally tracks down the now-grown man, but is too late to save the teenager.
At home ill with a fever, watching reruns of a favourite TV show from her childhood -- "I Married a Mind Reader" -- Allison dreams of the real events surrounding a scandal about its stars 40 years earlier.
Allison watches an execution, and is surprised not to see the spirit of the condemned man after he dies. Then a murder witness reports that the ghost of the man killed a woman. Eventually, through visions, Allison realises the man faked his death [those of us who have watched any Mission:Impossible realised this from the start!] Meanwhile, Allison's daughter Ariel makes a new friend at school, but when Allison realises his mother is a fugitive, the pair of them flee, leaving Ariel heartbroken at the loss.
Allison dreams of a plane crash narrowly averted by a resourceful pilot. Then she is called in to work out if that pilot recently murdered his wife. Discovering the crash is in the future, but that the pilot is guilty of murder -- should she turn him in and risk all those lives? [The title appears to be a reference to a USAn legend that Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern and started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.]
Allison discovers that Detective Scanlon framed someone for a murder they didn't commit, because he couldn't get him for the actual murder of a four year old girl. She has uncovered evidence to exonerate the guy from the frame, and must race to find evidence to connect him to the girl's murder. Meanwhile, Joe's mother is visting, and the ghost of Joe's father keeps giving Allison advice about how to handle her.
Allison discovers evidence that every 15 years, a doctor horribly murders a young girl, claiming to hear voices. She isn't in time to stop him now, but she manages to save his next "host" from possession. Meanwhile Ariel's maths teacher accuses her of cheating in a test, and Allison must persuade his that she's merely a "good guesser".
While investigating a crime scene, Allison has a vision of Texas Ranger Captain Push showing a clue in a steamy mirror. He joins them to help in the search, as their case is linked to three murders of his own. But he has another heart attack, and dies for a moment, telling Allison he sees who the next victim is. But he is revived before he can tell her. When the next victim dies, he feels guilty, so cuts the wires on his pacemaker to contact Allison again...