The scene opens in New York in 1781 to what looks like a revolutionary war battle scene. A red coat in a mask charges and is shot by Ichabod Crane but he quickly get up and attacks again. The redcoat seems to have a weird tattoo on his arm. Ichabod cuts off his head and quickly passes out, wounded. We then hear the words, "Ichabod stay with me," as he climbs out of the ground. Ichabod has no wounds despite being injured in battle. He climbs up a rough hewn stone staircase and ends up outside. Ichabod pauses when he comes across a paved road and is almost hit by truck and a car. The owner of the car gets out and Ichabod starts running. We see a sign that says the village of Sleepy Hollow.
In a diner, Sheriff August Corbin and Abbie Mills eat while discussing an unsolved homicide. They seem to have a good report with each other. Corbin asks if Abbie finds the number of unsolved cases around there odd. Abbie asks him to stop and reminds him of how few people Quantico takes each year. Corbin points out that he's not asking if she is qualified for the job but wants to know if she is running away. Outside at the car, they get a call about horses being spooked and Abbey quips that this is why she got into police work.
Corbin and Abbie arrive at the location and split up. Abbie heads to the house and Corbin to the barn. Abbie gets no answer when she knocks and so heads to the side of the house, as Corbin enters the barn to indeed find an upset horse. Abbie heads over to a truck with the door open and she contacts Corbin to say that something is wrong because she has found a weapon on the ground. When she contacts Corbin again, it's beacuse she has found the body of the owner of the farm without his head. The headless horseman comes out of the bushes and Corbin fires several shots at him but he just keeps coming. Abbey is pushed to the ground as the headless horseman charges out of the barn on a horse. When Abbey heads into the barn she finds Corbin and gives a call out about officer down which is picked up by Andy Dunn. Andy then arrests Ichabod who is standing in the middle of the street.
Later, Abbey and Andy enter the jail and Abbey tells Andy that Ichabod is not the man they are looking for. She says that he was wearing old military clothing and had a tattoo on his hand. Icabod pipes up and asks if the man carried a broad axe and if the mark on his hand was a bow. Abbey asks who this man is and when the last time Ichabod saw him was. Ichabod answers, "when I cut off his head."
When next we see Ichabod he is being strapped in to a polygraph machine. Ichabod is incredulous of the machine's ability to discern whether or not he is lying and asks why they are holding him against his will. He is told he is being held as a suspect in the death of Corbin and that if he pasts the test that it will go a long way to proving his innocence. Ichabod says that he was a history professor and that he became a spy under the command of General George Washington. Ichabod then admits to shooting and beheading the horseman before being taken to triage. At triage he received treatment from his wife Katrina where he lost consciousness. When Ichabod asks where he is, the detective hands him a dollar bill and informs him that he is now in the future.
Because he passed the test they decide to take him for a psych evaluation. Abby asks for a chance to question Crane but is denied. Abby makes the argument that Crane might have seen something and could actually explain why Corbin's wounds were cauterized. Again she is told no and so she argues to transport him to the hospital.
When Abbey then confronts Ichabod he is surprised to find that she is a Black female lieutenant and asks if she is emancipated. Abbey makes it clear that slavery has been abolished for quite some time and tells him that she is authorized to carry a gun and shoot him. Ichabod says that he is glad to hear that slavery has been abolished. On the way out Ichabod suggests to Abbey that she believes him because there is no other explanation for both he and the headless horseman.
On the way to the hospital, Ichabod keeps playing with the window and in frustration, Abbey locks it. As they drive Ichabod is surprised by the number of Starbucks and wants to know if there is a law requiring them. He asks when it becomes acceptable for women to wear trousers. They drive by a church and Ichaod sees a priest - the same priest who was there when he was wounded in the past. Ichabod and Abbey head to the cave where he entered the present. In the muck, Ichabod finds a book and it turns out to be the same bible that the priest lay on his chest when he was injured. There is a passage from Revelations that is highlighted and it's about the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Ichabod reveals that the revolution wasn't merely a war about the freedom of the colonies and that it would determine the fate of every man, woman and child on earth. Apparently General Washington gave him a mission to kill an unknown mercenary recognizable by the mark on his hand. Abbey is quick to dismiss Ichabod but he points out that the bible was left with him for a reason and that Abbey just isn't ready to accept it. Abbey asks if she is supposed to believe that the man who killed Corbin is one of the four horsemen of he apocalypse. Ichabod points out that when he beheaded him that the man didn't die because he is death itself and he has somehow returned to Sleepy Hollow to finish what he started.
In the woods the horseman rides, as the priest heads out into the cemetery with a shovel. The priest takes off running but is quickly confronted by the horseman who charges for him. The priest uses magic to chain the horseman but the horseman breaks free and continues to charge. The priest says that he will never tell him where "it" is and that he is prepared to die. At least he was prepared - because the Horseman kills him.