Samara was eventually adopted by Anna and Richard Morgan and taken to live on their horse ranch on Moesko Island. However, as she grew older, Samara's powers began to develop and grow, unintentionally frightening her parents by burning images into their minds. The island's doctor sent them to Eola County Psychiatric Hospital for treatment. Anna was treated for depression and suicidal thoughts, whilst Samara was treated differently, examined and observed for hours on end. She displayed her nensha powers by burning images on transparency materials and film. Doctor Scott interviewed Samara who responded that Richard plans to leave her in the hospital. Doctor Scott eventually died, likely killed by Samara's powers. On the contrary, Richard eventually had Anna and Samara discharged and took them back to the ranch.
To prevent Samara from harming anyone, Richard moved her into the ranch's barn, turning the top floor into her isolated bedroom with a ladder as the only means of access. Left alone, Samara had only a television set for company. She also burnt an image of a tree onto a wall, hidden behind wallpaper. Samara was awaken at night by the ranch horses. Out of anger and jealously, Samara mentally attacked the horses with her nensha powers. The horses went insane and committed suicide by jumping over a cliff, their corpses found on a beach below. At least twenty-seven horses died, and the newspapers called it an epidemic. Anna heavilly affected by the deaths and was sent back to the hospital for several days. The ranch was quarantined for five weeks by health experts but they could not find any source of the deaths, unaware of Samara's presence.
Anna was released from the hospital five days later. To escape the chaos, the family visited Shelter Mountain Inn. Anna revealed ulterior motives for going to the mountain. One sunny day, Samara stood before an old stone well admiring a tree on a hilltop when Anna appeared behind her, commenting on how peaceful the place was. She suddenly produced a black plastic garbage bag and suffocated Samara with it and then knocked her out with a rock. Apologising to Samara, Anna pushed her down into the well. Recovering quickly, Samara awoke to witness Anna sealing her in the well. Anna committed suicide moments later by jumping off a cliff. It is unknown if Richard was aware taht Anna planned to kill Samara but returned to the ranch alone.
Samara spent the next seven days trying to escape the well by scaling the walls, only to fail and break off her nails and fingertips in the process. She eventually drowned on the seventh day. However, her spirit lingered on, longing for help and attention. A set of rental cabins were built around the area, Cabin 12 built on top of the well. With a television and a VCR set placed right above the well, Samara managed to transfer her nensha abilities and likely her own spirit into a blank video cassette, creating the curse of the video tape.