|Full Name:||Laura Dayton|
|Spouse|| Frank Dayton|
|Romances/Domestic Partners:|| Adam Cartwright|
|First Episode:||The Waiting Game|
|Portrayed by:||Kathie Browne|
Laura Dayton made her first appearance on Season 5's "The Waiting Game." She lost her husband, Frank, to a riding accident leaving her to raise their child, Peggy, alone. Four months after Frank's death, Adam Cartwright began to show interest in the lovely young widow. Adam paid Laura a special visit to invite her to the Cartwright's "Spring Round-Up" dance. Upon doing so, he discovered that Peggy still believed her father was alive; that he was gone on a long trip. Laura told Adam that Peggy was too young to understand.
Laura invited Adam in for coffee; Adam accepted and invited Laura to the dance accordingly. Peggy soon joined them inside but was hostile toward Adam. Sympathetic, Adam advised Laura to be honest with Peggy but Laura was resistant and firmly told Adam she knew what was best for her daughter. Adam backed off respectfully and sat down to drink his coffee. Peggy's hostility came to the fore as she yelled at Adam; demanding that he get out of her father's chair. Laura told Peggy to apologize but she refused; Laura sent Peggy to her room. She apologized to Adam but he understood. He reminded Laura of the dance; asking her not to change her mind. Adam later shared his concerns with Ben, his father.
Laura accepted Adam's invitation and attended the party as his date. After enjoying a evening of dancing; Adam and Laura shared a passionate kiss in the moonlight. Laura pulled away from Adam and persuaded Adam to take her home; feeling that Peggy needed her. Adam complied and escorted her home; ending their night early. They discovered Peggy had a nightmare but Adam felt that Laura should have let the babysitter handle it. Laura insisted that it wasn't the same and stated that Adam just didn't understand that she was shielding Peggy from pain. Adam began to reason with her but to no avail and left shortly thereafter. The next day, a questionable woman approached Adam revealing that she was Frank's mistress. Frank had been planning to leave Laura and take Peggy with them. Her objective was to obtain $500 from Laura; the amount she lent to Frank so they could go away together. She informed Adam that Frank and Laura didn't think much of each other and was married in name only. She supported her claims by showing Adam the last letter Laura wrote to Frank prior to his death. She told Adam that if he made arrangements for her loan to be repaid that she would not only keep quiet but he could have the letter as a bonus. Adam agreed to make the arrangements and told her to ride into town.
Adam told Laura of what transpired and offered his help. Laura expressed guilt over writing Frank that she hated him and wished him dead. She told Adam she knew about Frank's infidelity.
Laura shared that Frank would always go on long trips with women but he always came back to Peggy. Laura vehemently hated Frank and prayed for his death. Adam told her that now it was no more reason to hate and that it was time to tell Peggy the truth. Laura said that Peggy was alwasy her father's child and that she couldn't talk to her. She pleaded with Adam to tell Peggy the truth for her; to help Peggy as he helped her. Adam initially refused; feeling that it should come from Laura but gave in. Adam attempted to break the ice with Peggy and brought her a pony. Peggy tried to hold on to her hostility but was unsuccessful. Adam convinced Peggy to accompany him on a ride; even racing with her. On their way home; Peggy was scared to pass by the grave and Adam realized that Peggy already realized her father was dead.
After they reached Laura's home; Adam told Laura it was time to tell her the truth; that her daughter needed her. Laura said that Peggy would hate her the way Frank did. Adam was unrelenting and insisted that she talk to her. Laura broke down and confided in Adam that Frank hated her from the beginning; that "it" was so terrible. She elaborated that she was afraid of him from the very first night and that she was afraid that she'd do the wrong thing. She said that she cried but Frank bust down the door, taunting and laughing at her. Laura wished he was dead and that she HATED Frank. Laura said it was her fault; that she drove him to other women and made him what he was. Adam comforted Laura and told her there is no guarantee when people fall in love and that there is no more blame for either one of them. Laura said she was hurt, confused and so alone. Adam assured her she was no longer alone. Suddenly, Peggy, having overheard their conversation, verbally attacked her mother and told Adam she hated him. Peggy ran outside to her swing; where she always counted and waited for her father. During this emotional event, Laura finally admitted to Peggy the truth about her father being dead. Peggy denied it at first, but when Laura began counting with her daughter; Peggy finally accepted the truth and the two embraced. Adam, looking on from a short distance, got on his horse and rode away.
A day or so later; Adam arrived at Laura's house to take she and Peggy to a picnic. Adam once again sat in Frank's chair but this time; no objection from Peggy.
Adam continued to court Laura and spend time with Peggy; even protecting her from a scam artist in "The Cheating Game." But he still had yet to make his intentions clear.
Adam's hesitance on "The Pressure Game," caused much talk and speculation. Concerned, Ben approached Adam, frankly stating that Adam had a certain responsibility toward Laura and that "When a man's been as single as long as you have, Adam, you can't blame him for being spooky about marriage." He urged Adam to bow out if he was not sure of his feelings for Laura. Later that evening, Adam proposed to Laura who firmly turned him down as she realized he was only doing so out of obligation. A few days later when Laura was hurt; Adam realized his feelings for Laura and proposed again to which she accepted.
However, on "Triangle," Adam neglected Laura during their engagement and allowed other business affairs to prevent him from attending his own engagement party. He was secretly building a house for Laura to surprise her on their wedding date. During this time, Will Cartwright (Ben's nephew) and Laura grew closer and confessed their love to each other. However an accident resulted in Adam being confined to a wheelchair temporarily; therefore Will and Laura decided to forego pursuing a life together. Adam overheard Will and Laura expressing their love. After confronting Will, he later told Laura that he felt he know all along that it would never "really" work out between them in marriage. Quote: "I love you, Laura, and I'll always love you. But not the way Will loves you, and not the way you love Will. MARRY him." Adam gave her his blessing to marry his cousin and Laura and Will left together happily.