Prior to John meeting up with Morgan, he lived a secluded life in a cabin by a river. His home runs on power generated by a windmill, which includes a water filtration system.
John leads a lonely life, watching TV, talking to himself and playing Scrabble alone, and he constantly finds himself killing walkers that frequently wash up on his front yard from the river.
One night, John believes another walker has washed up in front of his house, but comes to find that it is Naomi. He takes her inside and helps nurse her back to health.
Naomi is initially apprehensive of John, but the two soon warm up to each other. John never asks Naomi for her name, and instead gives her the name Laura, as he believes he looks like she would have that name.
Over the next few weeks, John and Naomi grow closer to one another. One night, Naomi finds John cleaning his revolvers. The following morning they go on a run together and Naomi questions John about why he never uses his guns, to which John tries to avoid the question.
They find the railing on the bridge has been destroyed due to a wreck, which is how the walkers are finding their way into the river. Naomi helps John repair the wall and using a truck to barricade it.
John eventually reveals that when he was a police officer, he shot a robber in the leg to stop them, however the man bled out and died before help could arrive.
John was praised as a hero, but he didn't see it that way, which is why he made the decision to move to the cabin and isolate himself. Naomi later reveals that she had a child that died.
That night, a horde of walkers break through the barricade and pour into the river, eventually washing up in front of John's house, but John is able to dispatch the walkers with Naomi's help.
That day, John becomes upset when Naomi says that she will be leaving soon now that she has healed. When she asks John why he's upset, John professes his love for her and they kiss.
The following morning, John wakes to find that Naomi is gone, leaving him a note in the form of scrabble tiles saying "I love you too, I'm sorry." John proceeds to go searching for Naomi, which lead him to meeting up with Morgan in the premiere episode.