Rascal (1969) - full transcript

A comedy filled with tenderness as a baby raccoon snuggles his way into the life of a lonely boy. He becomes the boy's only companion during his father's frequent absences. Because of Rascal, both father and son realize their responsibility to each other.

It was a long time ago...

here in the Wisconsin
of my boyhood...

that a new friend
came into my life...

and stole my heart away.

I often think of him now,
a half a century later...

and I relive in memory
the good times we had together.

He was a member
of our family almost...

for a while anyway...

and I shall never forget him.

I wonder if I can
make it as real for you...

as it is for me still.

I wonder if you
can remember the excitement...

of that last day of school...

when everybody could
hardly wait to get out...

and enjoy
the long, lazy summer ahead.

And also this summer...

my mother's going to teach me
how to use the sewing machine...

and to make upside-down cake.

That sounds like a very
interesting summer, Sarah.

Now, let me see...

whom have I overlooked?

Of course, Lucy.

For my vacation,
we're going to New York City.


And my Aunt Elizabeth is
going to take us to the top...

of the Wool worth Building,
sixty stories high!

And then we're going to
Central Park and Grant's Tomb...

and the Metropolitan Museum!

That's very exciting, Lucy.

And then we're going
to Boston and Bunker Hill...

and Paul Revere's house.

Lucy, if you tell us
everything now...

there won't be anything left
to tell us next fall.

Yes, Miss Whalen.

And how about you, Sterling?

Hey...come to the party.

Sorry, Miss Whalen.

And what kind of excitement...

are you going to stir up
this summer, Sterling?

Well, mostly I'm going
to be working on my canoe.

Canoe? Is that what this is?

Yes, ma'am.
It's a design my Pa worked out.

From the kind the Indians used.

I'm very impressed.

Well, we have only
a few moments more...

so I'd like to wish you all
a very pleasant summer.

Be sure that you don't
have any books with you...

that should be left behind.

Bye! I'll send you a postcard!

Sterling, what else will you
be doing this summer...

besides working on your canoe?

Will you be going with your
father on one of his trips?

Well, he goes by himself.

You see, he sells real estate
all over the place.

Well, you don't want
a kid hanging around...

when you're doing that.

I see.

Well, you won't be alone.

Your sister Theo has been
taking care of things...

since your mother
passed away, hasn't she?

Yes, ma'am.

But she has to go back
to Chicago tomorrow.

Bye, Miss Whalen.
Have a nice summer.

Sterling, I'll be working
at the library this summer...

and you can stop by.

Wowser, how are you, boy?
Huh? Ha ha!

Come on, get in there.

Pa! Hi, Pa!


How are you, boy? Ha ha ha!

Fine. Theo was afraid
you wouldn't get home in time.

Well, now, she ought
to know better than that.

I always get home, don't it?

- Come on, jump in!
- How about my bike?

We'll pick it up later.
I've got something to show you.

- Hmm?
- Out at Lake Koshkonong.

Well, what do you think it is?

A bobcat?

You're getting warm.

You got a rough idea,
haven't you, boy?

A panther?

A lynx.

They live in Canada.

This one lives right here.
At the moment, anyway.

Hasn't been four hours since
he put those tracks there...

and a good size cat it is
from the looks of them.

There he is.

Well, you want
to remember that, son.

He's probably the first lynx
in these woods in forty years.

What's he doing
so far from home?

Oh, he's a rambler, I guess.
Like me.



Who made it?

Farmer's wife in Minnesota.

I told her I had a boy
who liked apple pie.

Good, isn't it?



Mmm. They're awful busy.


Yes. Special kind of bird.

To me, anyway.

Your mother and I used to
sit here and listen...

to the whippoorwills
a long time ago.

I thought we had all the time
in the world then.

If I'd only known
how short it would be...

I might have listened
to her more.

She always wished
I'd settle down...

and stop chasing
after farm auctions...

all over the country and...

rent that little office
over Pringle's store...

come home for supper
every night...

instead of every other week.

I always figured I would...

You know, Sterling...

it's awfully hard for
the female of the species...

to understand how some men are.

I'll bet that lynx has a wife...

up in the Canadian woods

with supper
on the table right now...

wondering why he can't come
home every night at 6:00...

like the other lynxes.



Don't you ever get lonesome?

No. I got a million things
on my mind.

Miles of country to look at,
people to talk to.

A little fishing on
Sunday afternoon now and then.

The only man
who gets lonesome...

is a man who can't live
with himself.

It's a big, wonderful world,

You only walk through it once.

Wouldn't it be
a terrible mistake...

to come to the end
of the line...

and realize you haven't stopped
along the way...

to smell the flowers?

The lynx!

What's he after?

A woodchuck or something.



Wowser, get off him!


Now, I said quit
and I mean quit!

Now you know
what she was fighting for.

Serves you right, you big bully.

I don't know why he's got
such a thing about raccoons.

He gets along
with a skunk even...

but there's something
about a raccoon.

Well, it's time
we got on home anyway.

Come on, Wowser.

Wowser, it's all over.
There's nothing we can do.

Wowser, what's eating you?

look what got left behind.

Ha ha ha!

Ah! Ha ha!

Why did the mother leave him?

She probably
doesn't know she has.

She won't find out till she
gets a chance to stop and count.

Well, then this one's sort of lost.

Yeah. Looks like it.

without needing to say it...

Pa and I agreed we couldn't
leave the little fellow...

to fend for himself,
not at his age...

and not with the lynx
in the neighborhood.

Besides, we kind of
felt responsible for him.

After all, it was my dog that
had chased his mother away.

I guess Wowser
didn't realize it...

but from then on he was going
to have to share my affections.

So, that's how it happened...

on that special day in June...

a helpless little orphan
came into my life.

I didn't know then how much
he'd come to mean to me...

or the troubles he'd bring.

As it turned out,
I had met a character...

a personality,
and a ring-tailed wonder.

I called him...


That day
we came home with Rascal...

I remember Walt Dabbett
went sailing by...

in his Stanley Steamer.

Pa said he was
a bit of a blowhard...

but not a bad fellow at heart.

Cy Jenkins was
our neighbor on the back...

and I swear he spent
more time in his corn patch...

than in his drugstore downtown.

Anybody home?

This was my sister
Theo as she looked then.

She'd come home on her vacation
to take care of us...

and for some reason,
she seemed to feel...

one of her duties
was worrying about me--

more than I thought necessary.

Our other neighbor,
Garth Shadwick...

was a horse lover.

I guess it went with his owning
the town's harness shop.

Afternoon, Garth.


Settle down, blast you!

Come on, boy! Come on!

He had a trotting
horse named Donnybrook--

a nervous, fractious animal.

Pa al ways said
it might someday win a race...

if it'd ever put all four feet
on the ground at once.

How was the trip, Will?

Oh, never better.

Got a new member of the family.

bring him around here...

and introduce him
to Mr. Jenkins.

- He's a raccoon.
- So I see.

Garth! You best come here!

Go! Ah, you show-off!


Is something wrong, Mr. Jenkins?

Raccoons are varmints, son,
and varmints are trouble.

I'm gonna educate him.

Train the varmint out of him.


Good to see you back again,

What's all the hollerin' about?


That's a raccoon!

Yes, sir. His name's Rascal.

Well, what about my chickens?

And my corn patch?

I'm gonna train the varmint
out of him.

- Oh ho.
- Just what I said.

And there's another problem.

Hambone's a coon hound.

I suppose you know that,

Yes, sir, but, well,
I think he'll be reasonable...

as long as Wowser's around.

Uh, excuse me.

We don't want
to be unreasonable, Sterling...

but facts are facts, now.

And the facts are this
just isn't going to work out!

Varmints are varmints,

You can't train it out of them.

Not in a thousand years!

Hey! Grab him, Sterling!

That horse spooks
at a butterfly.

I'm a son of a gun.

Well, he was supposed
to be a coon hound.

Heh heh.

Hi. I had a wonderful trip
this time out.

Springtime up north
is really something.

That smells good.

All right.

You may fire
when ready, Gridley.


my leave is up.

I'm due back at work on Monday.

That means the morning train
to Chicago.

Is that a problem?

Papa, what are we going to do
about Sterling?

Do about him?

Do about him!
What's to happen to him...

with me gone
and you off who knows where?

Oh, Sterling
can take care of himself.

Papa, he's only a boy.

You can't leave him alone
to fend for himself.

Why not? I did.

You'd think after all these
years I'd be used to you.

I've written it all down.

The laundry boy'll
pick up on Wednesday...

Mr. Pringle will deliver
groceries twice a week...

newspaper's paid
through the first--

You should have been
born a top sergeant.

Which brings us
to the housekeeper.

Housekeeper? What for?

To keep house. I ran an ad.
And I got these replies.

I wanted to interview
them myself...

but there just isn't time now,
so I've got to leave it to you.

That's my first choice.
Spoke to her on the telephone.

Mrs. Satterfield.

"Purest gold."

She's a widow,
she lives in Brailsford...

knows all the merchants.

She raised a big family
in the Dakotas somewhere.

Well, I've got a better idea.

Why don't you give up
that job in Chicago...

and come home to stay?

This is where you belong.

Oh, Papa...

you know I can't do that.

You really stuck
on that guy Norman up there?

Yes, Papa, I am.


About as serious as you can get.

He wants me to go up to
Appleton and meet his family.

A nervy kind of a fella,
swiping my favorite daughter...

without so much
as a by-your-leave.

How are we gonna get along
without you?

Papa, I'm trying,
in my own clumsy way...

to take care of that.

Now, I want you to talk to these
applicants and make a decision.

Right. Don't you think
it's about time...

we got a look at him?

Maybe. First thing Monday?

- First thing Monday.
- OK.

I tell you what...

why don't you bring him home
for Thanksgiving?

I've got the biggest turkey
you ever saw in your life...

all staked out down in Illinois.

Guy owes me some money
down there.

Fella named McQuade.

Gave me the pick of the flock.

Just said, "Go out and pick
your Thanksgiving bird...

"and I'll put your name on it."

How about it?

I don't know.

Don't know what?

Norman comes
from a...different world.

He might have
a little trouble...

about Mr. McQuade...

and taking out
real estate commissions...

in turkeys and apple pies...

and about your other
comings and goings.

Now, don't you worry
about that, Theodora North.

You just bring that boy
home for Thanksgiving.

You sure you'll be here?

You can bet your hat on it.

I haven't missed
a Thanksgiving at home since--

Since last year.

I didn't miss it.
I was just a little late is all.

I know.

So we sat down without you,
and we had our dinner...

and it was the last ever with
Mama, and you weren't there.

I won't miss this one.

How about it?

I'll see.

Now, remember, this one.

Miss Satterly.

Satterfield, and it's "Mrs."

Don't forget now.

OK, Sarge.

You must understand,
Mr. North...

your daughter made
no mention of a menagerie...

no mention whatsoever.

Well, Mrs. Satterfield...

I'm sure she wasn't
trying to conceal--

Naturally, naturally...

but we must be honest
with each other, Mr. North.

Utterly and completely honest.

Of course.

Right from the beginning.

I couldn't agree
with you more, but--

We must face facts.

Some people have a feeling
for animals, others do not.

I do not.

Well, that's too bad.

I have managed to live
my life without them...

and they without me.

I'm afraid it's too late
to change.

Houses are for people...

and the woods are for animals.

But you're an animal,
Mrs. Satterfield.

Beg pardon? What?

People are animals.
It's a zoological fact.

Animals are not people.

You have me there.

I'm not even sure
they want to be.

I'll be happy
to report immediately...

but the raccoon--out.

Any other livestock,
fur, fins, or feathers--out.

- Out.
- Out?!


But, Pa--

Sterling, why don't you
take Rascal and Wowser...

into the kitchen
and give them their supper?

Yes, sir, but--

Go ahead, son.

Yes, sir.

Good night, Mrs. Satterfield.

Come on, Wowser.

Oh, I'll be happy to take over
if those conditions are met.

Thank you, Miss Satterly.

Satterfield, and it's "Mrs."

Ah, yes, "Mrs."

A pleasure, Mr. North.
A genuine pleasure.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Well, Sarah,
I've got a decision to make.

Who will it be?

Mrs. Satterfield?

She'd break your son's heart.

How about Mrs. Delaney?

The sad one?

Or Miss Endicott?

Abigail. Good influence.

Or Mrs. Mc-what's-her-name?

Trouble is, you've left
footsteps that nobody can fill--

light and quick and tiny--

but nobody can fill them.

So we decided
to keep house for ourselves.

Not the way Theo
would have wanted, maybe...

but the arrangement suited us.

And, for the moment,
we agreed that, uh...

what she didn't know
wouldn't hurt her.

There's a pot of stew...

cooking on the back of
the stove for tonight's supper.

Cy said for you to come over and
have Sunday dinner with them.

Yes, sir, I know.

Oh, you're off to a good start
on that canoe, son.

I still haven't figured out
a way to bend the ribs.

Well, best way would be
to soak 'em, I guess.

I've got to get started.

I've got one hundred miles
to make before dark.


- Pa?
- Huh?

What's it like
up where you're going?

Lake Superior?
Oh, big as an ocean.

Deep blue color...

dark green pines
along the shore...

gulls hollering overhead...

the Apostle Islands
off in the distance.

A pretty wonderful place.

When you grow up,
it's a place for you to see.

Yes, sir. When I grow up.

Set the spark, will you, son?


You leavin' already, Willard?

Yeah. I got a long way to go.

Remember, Sterling,
if anything comes up...

you hustle right over to Garth.

Yes, sir.

Be gone a week,
ten days at the most.

- So long, partner.
- So long, Pa.

You want to stay over
at my place tonight, Sterling?

I'll be OK.

You know, Sterling,
one of these days...

he's gonna take you
along with him.

Yes, sir.

At suppertime that evening...

I thought about Pa
and his Apostle Islands...

and Lake Superior,
big as an ocean...

and I wished I was there
riding along with him.

it all now, I realize...

it was the first time
I'd ever been left alone.

And I must say,
that big, rambling house...

felt kind of empty.

"Sterling, dear...

"I'll bet you're having
the time of your life now...

"with summer vacation
in full swing...

"and all the things
that Brailsford offers...

"a boy your age.

"Papa wrote you've solved
the housekeeper problem...

"but he didn't say how.

"I'm assuming
it's Mrs. Satterfield.

"I do feel she's right for you.

"Busy as you are, you still
need someone around...

"to sit down to meals with...

"someone to talk
to and confide in.

"Papa's probably somewhere
over the horizon by now...

"and since I don't know
where to reach him...

"I'll ask you.

"How's Mrs. Satterfield
working out?"

"Dear Theo.
Nice to get your letter.

"Pa's off on one
of his trips again...

"and Rascal 's
growing like a weed.

"Did you know a raccoon
could ride a bicycle?

"Well, not really.

"I do the steering
and the pumping...

"and all the hard work...

"and Rascal sits up front
and gives orders.

"You should see him.
He's a real speed demon.

"Keeps telling me
to go faster and faster."

"Dear Theo.
I suppose you knew...

"that raccoons can swim.
It comes kind of natural.

"I had Rascal
down to the creek today...

"and first time in
he took to the water...

"as though he had webbed feet.

"I think he could swim rings
around even Wowser...

"if he wanted to.

"Wowser sends his regards,
so does Rascal...

"and so do I.

"Your loving brother,
Sterling North."

"Sterling, dear,
do you read my letters?

"If you do, you must realize...

"that you still haven't
answered the question...

"I've asked several times now.

"How is Mrs. Satterfield
getting along?"

"Dear Theo.

"You should see how clever
Rascal is with his hands.

"You wouldn't believe it.

"Sometimes he seems
almost human.

"Last Sunday
at the fireman's picnic...

"I won
the pie-eating contest--

"at least I thought I had
until they disqualified me...

"because Rascal was helping.

"It was his idea, not mine.
What a gyp!

"You'd think they'd give us
a--a special prize...

"for best raccoon pie eater."

"Hooray for Rascal
and the fireman's picnic...

"and your canoe
and everything else.

"But what I'm really
interested in is...

"how is Mrs. Satterfield?"

"Dear Theo.

"Raccoons are
natural-born fishermen...

"and Rascal 's one of the best.

"He sometimes catches
four or five crayfish...

"while I'm standing there
still waiting for a bite.

"It's a real kick to watch him.

"Whenever I go into town
I take him with me...

"riding up front as al ways.

"I sometimes think he could
handle my bike alone."

"Sterling North,
how is Mrs. Satterfield?!"


How are you, Mrs. Satterfield?

Fine. Just fine.

"Mrs. Satterfield's fine.

"Everybody's fine.
Pa's fine, too.

"Very finely yours, Sterling."

For some reason...

I couldn't seem
to make Theo understand...

that everything
was fine at home...

that she needn't worry about us.

Rascal and I
had so many adventures...

I hardly had time to miss Pa.

We were al ways together,
partners and pals...

exploring the back roads,
wandering the woods...

and learning new things
every day.

I'll bet we knew every
bird nest and fox's den...

and rabbit burrow
for miles around.

Looking back now, I realize
that people worried about us.

But we didn't worry.
We were too busy.

The fact of the matter was...

it was turning into the most
wonderful summer of my life.

♪ Summer sweet was green,
green grass there ♪

♪ Fields were wet
with morning dew ♪

♪ I'll meet you
on the road across there ♪

♪ Don't you be late,
you rascal, you ♪

♪ Every man's a boy
at heart there ♪

♪ Every boy, a little man ♪

♪ Skip a rock
across the pond for me ♪

♪ Barefoot boy
with cheek of tan ♪

♪ I'll trade my new suit
for your blue jeans ♪

♪ I'll take
your country road ♪

♪ And you can have
my city street ♪

♪ Just let me taste my youth ♪

♪ In sunshine once again ♪

♪ And take me back
to summer sweet ♪

♪ Summer sweet was green,
green grass there ♪

♪ Fields were wet
with morning dew ♪

♪ I'll meet you
on the road across there ♪

♪ Don't you be late,
you rascal, you ♪

Lots of things
happened that summer.

I remember one morning
Garth gave Rascal and me...

a ride in his sulky.

You should have seen
Donnybrook go.

Garth said he was showing off
for his little friend.

Walt Dabbett came along...

in that noisy contraption
of his...

and it threw Donnybrook
all off stride.

Whoa! Whoa, boy! Whoa!

Whoa, Donnybrook!
Easy, easy, easy!

Dang fool!

And so that summer sped by...

Rascal getting fatter
and lazier...

I getting on with my canoe.

I had finally come up with
a great idea for the ribs--

the hoops from Mr. Pringle's
cheese boxes.

That summer, I might add...

I cornered the market
on empty cheese boxes...

and the canoe
was coming along nicely.

Meanwhile, it seemed...

Rascal had some schemes
of his own.

I don't know when
it came to his attention...

but somewhere along the line...

he had made a little note
for future reference--

there was corn
growing next door.


My cornfield! Go on!
Get out of there!

Get him, get him, get him, Ham!

Get out of here!
Get out of my cornfield!

You miserable varmint!
Get him, Ham!

Go on, get him!
Get him! Get him!

If I get my hands on you--
gotcha now!

I gotcha, you miserable varmint!

Sorry, Mr. Jenkins.

I don't know what got into him.

My corn!
That's what got into him!

- Ohh!
- Yes, sir.

Anybody else, they'd shoot him!

And that's just
what's gonna happen...

if you don't
do something about it!

Shoot him?

Mine ain't the only
corn patch in this town.

Now, you better just
straighten out that varmint.

Or get rid of him!

I didn't
realize it just then...

but my troubles
were only beginning.

Making Cy Jenkins mad at me
was bad enough...

but that afternoon a new
problem arrived in my life.

It was my teacher and the new
minister coming to call.

This is the house,
is it not, Miss Whalen?

Uh, yes. Yes, it is.

I hope I made myself clear,
Miss Whalen.

Of course.

There's a difference between
unwarranted interference...

and Christian concern.

Yes, but--the thing is...

the boy's doing fine work
in school.

He's healthy and--

- And happy?
- Well, I've always thought so.

Oh, come now, Miss Whalen.

You aren't suggesting
this is a suitable existence?

A boy his age living alone
without parental guidance?

Well, it does seem unusual,

Indeed it does, Miss Whalen.
Indeed it does.

- Miss Whalen.
- Good afternoon, Sterling.

I'd like you to meet...

our new minister,
Reverend Thurman.

How do you do?

Hello, Sterling.

This is Rascal, my raccoon.


Uh...we were just passing by,
and we thought we would drop in.

Oh, well, I'm glad you did.
Come on in.

There's something
I'd like to show you.

Well, thank you, Sterling.

We won't stay
more than a minute.

I've gotta clean these.

I've been kind of busy.
Come on in the kitchen.

Is that a canoe?

His project for the summer.


I'll just be a second.

Now, you see,
I've got a problem.

Rascal's been getting in
a little bit of trouble lately.

So I've got to, uh,
de-raccoonify him.

I beg your pardon?

Well, I've got to get Rascal...

to stop thinking
like a raccoon...

and start thinking
like a person.

I've been working on him.



Rascal, come.


Ah! That's better.

Ah! No!

The flesh is weak,
but the spirit's willing.

That's it.

Ah! That's it.


That's it!

Good boy. See?

- How very interesting.
- A giant step.

When I get through with him...

he's gonna be
the world's greatest raccoon.

Aren't you, Rascal?
Here, let's get a marshmallow.

Have a marshmallow. There.

- Sterling...
- Hmm?

Don't get too fond of him.

What do you mean?

Well, he won't always be young.

There'll come a day
when old Mother Nature...

will reach across your shoulder
and tap his ear.

And he'll tell you
that it's time to go.

Ah, no.


That's the way things are,

Rascal wouldn't leave me.

He--he's part of the family.

Yes, which brings us to why--

It's Pa!

Hi, Pa!

Hello there, son.
How'd things go?

Fine. Oh, we got company.

Great. Well, we had
a big harvest up north.

Not much money, but the crops
were comin' out their ears.

- Who's the company?
- Uh, the Reverend.

Oh, great. Reverend who?

Thurman. Gabriel Thurman.

Oh, heh heh. Willard North.

- How do you do, Reverend?
- Real pleasure, Mr. Nor--

Real pleasure, Mr. North.

I'm taking over
at the Methodist church...

and I thought
I'd look in on Sterling.

Well, you couldn't have come
at a better time.

And Miss Whalen!
Well, this is a double pleasure.

Yes, sir, you couldn't
have come at a better time.

You'll both stay to dinner.

- No, really--
- No, no, we couldn't.

Oh, you have to, Reverend.

We've got so much food here...

it'd be against
the Scriptures to waste.

You leave me without a defense.

Now, you can see
that I'm sort of...

on the barter system these days.

The only way to operate
in the farm country.

There's a farmer up north
owes me commission.

He had no money, so I'm taking
it out in geese and apple pie.

Miss Whalen, would you just
put a pot on to boil?

Get us a mess of turnips
and potatoes, will you?

How are you
at plucking a goose, Reverend?

Well, I don't know.

Well, there's only one way
to find out.

There's a clothes basket
there on the back porch.

I beg your pardon?

For the feathers.
Sterling, get it, will you?

Sure, Pa.

Rascal, I better get you
out of the way.

We were just a little concerned
over Sterling being alone...

for prolonged periods
while you're off--

The little old lady
who makes that cider...

has an apple orchard
up out of Duluth.

McGreevy Marvels.

While you're off
on your business trips--

Nothing else,
just McGreevy Marvels.

I always make it a practice...

to sort of stop by
and help her out.

It occurred to me...

that the church might be
of some assistance to--


McGreevy. McGreevy Marvels.


Well, the point that
I'm trying to make is--

Thank you--the point
I'm trying to make--

I'll take
your bag upstairs, Pa.

Thank you, Sterling.

The point is
we have this committee--

You don't run into cider
like that every day.

Whose duty it is is to act--

Look at that color.

You put the right kind of
squeeze on a McGreevy Marvel...

bottle it with loving care,
set it in a stone cellar...

for just
the right number of weeks...

there you are.

You sure this isn't...


Oh, Parson, if you only knew
the dear old soul who makes it.

To the dear old soul.

Hear, hear.


The finest canoe water
in the whole world out there.


A man can travel a hundred
miles without a portage.

Sterling, how you coming
with that pie?

OK, Pa.

Rascal, that's not for you.

How about some more cider?

- I couldn't.
- Oh, please.

A little bit.


Ha ha ha!

Remarkable. Remarkable.

Isn't it? Ahh.

Garvey Meevals. Oh!

What would there be about this
particular breed of apple...

that makes its juice so...

- Crisp?
- Very good. Crisp it is.

Very crisp. Very, very crisp.

You know, it was a seedling.

It came up in the orchard
of a man named McGreevy.

The tree's still there,
still bearing fruit...

seventy, eighty years later.

Eighty years.

And still going strong.

To the very
first McGreevy Marvel.

Hear, hear.

Very crisp.

Now, I want you to pay
particular attention...

to this pie.

Sterling, there's a wedge of
sharp cheddar in the icebox.

Get it, will you, son?

Wisconsin cheddar
makes apple pie something else.

There we are, Miss Whalen.

This is
very special apple pie...

Very special, indeed.

Farmer's wife in
northern Minnesota makes it.

It's like nothing
you ever tasted before.

There we are, Sterling.

Bite yourself off a piece
of that cheese, Reverend.

You're 100% right
about that pie, Mr. North.

Make it Willard, Pars.

Willard. Perfectly marvelous!

You missed quite
a demonstration tonight.

- Oh?
- Sterling and his raccoon.

Oh, you should see him, Pa!

I've got him so he won't
even look at an ear of corn.

Well, I certainly hope so, son.

It's true.
He's 100% de-raccoonified.


I must say, there's a word
I'm not familiar with either.

Perhaps it should be

Well, it's all new to me.

They don't use the term
down in Indianapolis.

Well, it opens up a fruitful
field of speculation.

You are right.

Who among us are to be marked
for un-varmint-ization?

Raccoons are varmints
to people...

but people are varmints
to raccoons.

If raccoons were running things,
would they go running around...

hollering people out
of their corn patches?

And wear people-skin caps?

You're right.

Where, in short,
does justice lie?

Wowser, cut it out!

- What's going on?
- I don't know!

Things seemed
to be going from bad to worse.

First corn, now eggs.

Where would
Rascal 's appetite stop?

The young minister
had meant well, I'm sure.

I suppose he had hoped
he could reform Pa...

and maybe me, too...

but I don't think he knew
what kind of a sinner...

he was up against in Rascal.

Night after night...

that sneak went out
on his expeditions...

picking locks, outguessing us
every step of the way.

There was a night Mrs. Folger
caught a burglar...

in her jam cupboard--

a burglar
in a little black mask.

Next day I made sure that exit
was permanently closed.

He wouldn't go out that way
again--and he didn't.

He went out the attic--
the super second-story worker.

His next job
was the molasses caper...

in Mrs. Krause's kitchen.

The only clue
she had were fingerprints--

raccoon fingerprints
leading away...

from the scene of the crime.

It was like locking the barn
after the horse was gone.

Rascal simply found
another escape hatch.

And another...

and still another...

and yet another.
There was no holding him.

And so it really
came as no surprise...

when the long arm of the law
reached for me.


Hi, Mr. Stacey.

I've been lookin' for you.

I'm afraid you and I are gonna
have to have a little talk.

Yes, sir?

Now, I've had complaints.

I don't know
if you're aware of it...

but what we're facing here
is a misdemeanor.

A misde-what?

Meanor. A misdemeanor.

That's a violation, Sterling.
A violation of the law.

Has that animal got a license?

No, sir, but I've got him tied.
He's on a leash.

I don't write the laws, son.
I just enforce them.

- But, Mr. Stacey--
- As they are set down.

Now, here.

Municipal code,
section fourteen.

"Public nuisance."

Paragraph five--
"Keeping of animals."

"Keeping of animals
other than farm stock...

"and household pets
shall be forbidden...

"unless strictly confined."

That means kept in a cage.

"Violation shall be
punishable by--"

Hey! Look out!

Walt Dabbett,
you're a four-alarm lunatic!

- Take it easy, Cy.
- What do you mean, take it easy?

Why take it easy?
I nearly got killed!

What seems to be
the trouble here?

Seems to be?
Well, you seen it!

Practically run me down
with that steam kettle!

Minor navigational error.

Law-abiding citizen
ain't safe in this town...

with nuts like you!

What's going on?

My hitchin' posts!
Look at my hitchin' posts!

Hand-carved, both of 'em!

If they hadn't
been standing there...

I wouldn't have
knocked them over.

They don't even belong there.

They belong in
some old-fogey museum.

What do you mean museum?

Are you afraid of the truth?

Why don't you face it?
The age of the horse is over.

- Over?!
- Finished.

- Is that so?
- That is most certainly so.

Listen, I got a horse
that can outrun...

that puffin' billy
of yours sorefoot...

and pulling a flatbed wagon
with square wheels.

Are you trying to tell me
you got a horse...

can stand up to a steam car?
You're not that crazy.

I'll stand up to you any day
in the week, Barney Oldfield!

Now, hold back.

A race might be violatin'
the municipal code.

A race? Garth!

Put up or shut up,
unless you ain't got the spunk!

I got the spunk all right...

and I got the money
to back it up with.

Name it! Ten? Twenty?


Five hundred?

And I'll even give you two to
one to spark your convictions.

- We'll take it!
- Garth!

Tomorrow, 2:00,
Miller's picnic grove.

Afternoon, Mr. Pringle.

Afternoon, Mrs. Beck.
Be with you in a minute.

- No hurry.
- Anything else, Mrs. Folger?

That's everything on the list.

Afternoon, Mrs. Beck.

Lovely day.

You're sure that's all,
Mrs. Folger?

- Oh, yes.
- That'll be $ 1. 65.

Oh, we're having a special
on kitchen tinware, Mrs. Beck.

No, thank you.
I've got plenty.

Well, I wouldn't
want to sell you anything...

you don't really want,
but I think you ought...

to take advantage of this sale.

Prices are going up,
sure as shootin'.

Thank you,
Mrs. Folger. Now, Mrs. Beck?

Did the yard goods
I ordered come in, Mr. Pringle?

Indeed it did,
and so did the patterns.


Mrs. Folger,
I think you ought to look...

at that kitchenware.
Every item's on sale.

Here we are, Mrs. Beck.

- Bye-bye.
- Bye.

That'll be $ 1.46.

Mrs. Folger, I think you ought
to look at that kitchenware.

Mr. Pringle,
are those cabbages fresh?

Came in this morning,
Mrs. Folger.

And the
cauliflower, Mr. Pringle...

is that fresh, too?

Came in with
the cabbages, Mrs. Folger.

And the yams?

Fresh, Mrs. Folger.
Everything's fresh.

That's al ways been our policy,
you know.

Aah! Aah! Aah! Mr. Pringle!


Aah! Aah!

Oh! Oh!


Rascal, come back!

Mr. Pringle!

Catch that thing!

Well, that's not bad
for a hurry-up job, huh?

Tomorrow we'll move in
a few of the comforts of home.

Well, I think we ought to be
moving along to bed, Sterling.


Yes, sir.

He'll be just fine, son.

Come along to bed.

- You ready to go, Pa?
- Yep.

Aren't you gonna
take him over...

to say good-bye to Cy
and Garth and Donnybrook?

They already left for the race.

Oh, that's right, the race.

Say, why don't
we stop by Miller's Grove...

and turn him loose afterward?

No, Pa.

Son, are you sure
you want to do this?

He's not really full-grown.

There's an awful lot
about taking care of himself...

in the woods
that he doesn't know yet.

He'll learn.

Tell you what...

since we're going
right by Miller's Grove...

why don't we just stop by
for a minute?

All right!

Step right up, gentlemen!
Who else?

Who else has got the courage
to back poor Garth Shadwick...

and his one-horse shay
with some hard cash?

Two to one.

How about you, Mr. Pringle?

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Whoa, whoa.

What's ailing him?

Don't he know he has half
the loose money in town...

bet on his nose?

It's that darn varmint.

Whoa! Whoa!

Calm down! Where's Willard
and that boy anyway?

All right, gentlemen,
it's time to start the race.

Official starting time--2:00.

Last chance to bet.
Any more sucker money?

Both of you know the course.

You go down to the crossroads,
swing past Miller's farm...

turn right, across the creek,
past Otto Wagner's feed pens...

and come back down
the county road...

across the covered bridge...

and back to the starting line!

OK, let's go.

Steamer, four laps.
Donnybrook, two laps.

Yeah, yeah. Let's go.

Donnybrook, if you ever ran,
you'd better do it today.

Stand back.
Don't want nobody getting hurt.

Ready, gents?


get set...go!

I said "Go," didn't I? Well, go!

Come on, Donnybrook! Go! Go!

Donnybrook, go, boy!

Ha ha ha!

Easy, boy. Easy.

Stop blowing that whistle!

Ha ha ha!

Now, easy, boy, easy!


Down, Donnybrook!
Down, boy, down!

Any more Donnybrook money
at two to one?

Three to one? Five to one?

The race ain't over yet,
Walt Dabbett!

Aw, the heck it ain't! Ha ha!

Hey, look!

Hey, what's going on?

Never mind what's going on!
Where you been? Come on!

What are we gonna do?

Try to make a race out of
it, that's what we're gonna do!

Garth! Garth, stop! Stop!

Stop! Garth--

I'm pulling him
out of the race.

But, Garth, he showed up!

bring him here!

There we go! All right!

Let's go!

- What's going on?
- Looks like you're in trouble.

Donnybrook's on his last lap.

Donnybrook, let's go!

Come on, Donnybrook,
you can do it!

- Congratulations, Garth!
- Rascal, you did it!

You're my fuzzy darling!

You can have anything
your darn heart desires!

Corn till it
comes out your ears!

Eggs anytime, day or night!

The lid'll never be
on the marshmallow jar.

And as for municipal code,
section fourteen...

And so Rascal
was the hero of the hour...

and back in everybody's
good graces.

but Walt Dabbett's maybe.

That most wonderful summer
of my life...

was about to come to a close.

And before we knew it,
it was Thanksgiving...

and time for Theo's homecoming.

Um, Norman, about Papa...

I want you to be forewarned.

Honey, don't be nervous.
You've explained all about him.

I couldn't have.

Nobody can explain my father,
you've got to meet him.

Well, I'm looking forward to it.

Thing is,
I--I want you to like him.

All right, I'll do that.
I'm glad you told me.

I mean, I want him to like you.

Ah, now that may be harder.

Norman, you are hopeless.

Just remember, I warned you.

OK, I'm warned. Now relax.

Oh, I've got to drop those
figures off back to my office.

Do you suppose
there's a place in town...

I could send a telegram?

- Be right back.
- OK.

Mrs. Satterfield!


I'm Theo North.
We talked last spring.

Oh, to be sure.

You caught me
at a disadvantage.

How are things going?

I'm been meaning
to write to you...

but Sterling's
been filling me in, so...

Very satisfactorily,
I would say.

A touch of arthritis.

Oh, well, I meant
with Sterling and Papa.

Seems to be fine.

Of course, they march
to a different drum...

as the saying goes.

Well, I really must be going.
A lot to do today.

Thanksgiving and all, you know.

Wait a minute,
we can take you home.

It's only a two-seater, but
I'm sure we can manage somehow.

Here, let me help.

I wouldn't want to take you
so far out of your way.

Nonsense--out of our way?

I'm clear over
on the other side of town...

on Menomene Avenue.

Mrs. Satterfield...

who is minding the store?


Yes. Who's keeping house
for my father and Sterling?

So far as I know, nobody.

As I said, they march
to a different drum.

A tom-tom, if you want
to be honest about it.

Well, happy Thanksgiving.

Well, Theo!

Nice to have you home.
Where's your young man?

Later, Mr. Jenkins.

Theo, where are you going?


Ahh, you must be
Theo's young man.

Well, I thought I was.

Holy cow.

Holy cow. She wasn't
supposed to be here until--



Oh, hi, Theo. You're early.
You remember Rascal, don't you?

Bet you're surprised
to see how much he's grown.

Sterling North,
how could you do it?

Do what?
Oh, you mean my canoe.

Well, it's all finished now...

and me and Pa were going
to haul it out to the garage.

I'm not talking
about your canoe!

How could you hoodwink me like
this about Mrs. Satterfield?

It wasn't a lie, exactly.

Not a black one anyway.

Gray. Dark gray, Pa says.

Where is he?

At the butcher's getting
the turkey for tomorrow.

Oh, Theo, you've got to see it.

Thirty pounds! The biggest
turkey in the whole--

Sterling, stop trying
to change the subject.

A fellow
owed Pa some money, see?

Sterling North, answer me!


It was my fault.

I should have told you.

We just couldn't do it.

Why not?

What is so difficult
about hiring a housekeeper?

Sterling, I'm talking to you.

What's so awful
about Mrs. Satterfield?

She's a perfectly nice,
clean, respectable lady.

What is so wrong with
having your meals on time?

And your socks darned.

Maybe the furniture
polished once in awhile.

- Tell me!
- OK. OK, I'll tell you.

Because she wouldn't
be anything like Mom.

Or you, even.
That's what's wrong.

Well, Sterling, Mama's gone,
and I've got a job.

OK, so you've got a job.

It's easy for you
to sit in Chicago...

and write your letters.

But what about Pa and me?

Pa's gone half the time.

Mrs.--Mrs. Satter--
Mrs. Satterfield--

Do you know the first thing
that she wanted to do?

She wanted to kick out
Wowser and Rascal, too.

That's right.
Just--just--she hates animals.

She wanted to kick them out
like they were nothing.

like they didn't even matter.

I see.

Soon as she came in here,
she was walking in...

putting her finger
all over mother's furniture...

saying, "Kick 'em out.
Animals aren't people."

Well, maybe they're not...

but they're not just animals
to me, Theo.



I'm not gonna let anyone
kick them out.

Not anyone.

Hey, Sterling...

I'm sorry.

Gotta finish cleaning up.

Wait a minute.


♪ Over the river
and through the wood ♪


Hello, Papa.

Look, I know
just what you're going to say.

Mea culpa.

That's Latin for
"I know the house is a mess...

"daughter, but you got here
three hours early."


I know. Just give Sterling
and me some working room...

and we'll have
the whole thing shipshape...

before you can say
Jack Robinson.

- What do you think of that?
- Just fine.

I pulled off a real transaction.

You know, there's a fella
down in Illinois--

Named McQuade. He owes you
real estate commission.

Gave you
the pick of the flock...

and that just happens
to be the biggest turkey...

in the state of Illinois.

I forgot I told you that.

So where's your young fella?

Down at the telegraph office.

Why don't you be a love,
go down and pick him up...

take him out to Koshkonong...

and watch the ice boats
or something?

Ice boats? The water won't
freeze over for a month.

Take him out there and wait.

Now, what was that?


Why don't you just
come right out and say it?

Do your heart good.

I have said it all, Papa.
I'm out of words.

Just go down and fetch Norman,
tell him I'm sorry...

and that I wasn't
thinking too clearly.

Look, don't you think
you're making...

an awful lot out of nothing?


We're just living the way
we want to live.

Is that so bad?

Papa, you've always lived
the way you wanted to live.

Well, what's wrong with that?

What is wrong with it, Papa...

is that somebody else
has to pay the price.

Now, see here, young lady.

You just hold on.

What is most particularly wrong
at this moment, Willard North...

is that I've just made up
my mind I can't marry Norman.


Because I haven't the heart...

to let Sterling
grow up in a vacuum...

while you're off
chasing rainbows.

Because you are
too eternally selfish...

to act like an adult
responsible human being...

and give that boy
the father he deserves.

Now, you just wait a minute--

Papa, I won't wait!

This has got
to get said for once.

Look, Papa,
for every fun-loving...

happy-go-lucky free spirit...

for every charming,
rollicking pixie...

somebody has got
to pay the price.

Somebody is seeing
that the bills are paid...

and the checkbook balances...

and the kids are dressed
and homework's done...

and that there's soup
on the back of the stove.

Somebody, Papa,
has got to do the worrying.

And it's a father's job mostly.

And if a father
wants to chase dreams--

Theo, there's no point
in going into all that.

Papa, I'm afraid there is.

Because I'm going
to have to do your job.

Because I know
what'll happen to Sterling.

What is happening
to him right now.

I can feel
the loneliness in him.

Why, he never said a word.

No, Papa, he wouldn't.

He's too proud to tell you...

that he needs
something in his life...

besides a yellow dog
and a pet raccoon.

Papa...face up to it.

Be honest with yourself.

Don't go running off
to Wentworth Woods...

or out to Minnesota.

Don't go chasing after
the biggest turkey...

in the state of Illinois.

Just stop and ask yourself if
you're being fair to that boy.



Well, Norman.

I saw the lights.

Thought it might have been Theo.

You couldn't sleep either, huh?

Well, join the club.
Cup of coffee?

Thank you.

Mr. North, could you tell me
what's going on?

I mean, first Theo drops me off
in the middle of town...

and now she's hardly
even speaking to me.

Am I engaged or aren't I?
And if so, why?

Norman, sit down.

Norman, the longer I live,
the more I'm convinced...

no, the less I'm convinced...

that I know the answer
to anything.

Norman! Norman!
Papa! Sterling!

- Theo!
- Norman, oh!

Honey, what's wrong?

That is what's wrong!

I reached out in my sleep,
and it--

What happened?
Where's Rascal?

- Downstairs.
- Rascal!

What's going on?

Rascal's trying
to get out again.

Rascal! Now, how many times
do I have to tell you--

He bit me.

I'll get the iodine.

don't get too fond of him.

He won't al ways be young.

There'll come a day
when old Mother Nature...

will reach across your shoulder
and tap his ear...

and he'll tell you
that it's time to go.

Come here, son.

Take care of these bites.

He didn't mean it, Pa.
He just wants to ramble.


It just stings a little.




I'm gonna have to let him go.

Well, that's the way it is,

Things change.

We can't always keep them
the way we'd like them to be.

We all have to grow up sometime.

Raccoons and boys, too.

Even fathers, I guess.

He'll ramble for a while.

That's just
some people's nature.

But he'll get over it.
He'll get over it.

He'll get smart, settle down.

Might even rent that little
office over Pringle's store.

Just as Miss Whalen
had said it would...

the time had come.

Old Mother Nature had whispered
her mysterious message.

Rascal had heard and heeded...

and now I knew
I had to take him back...

to the world
where he really belonged.

As we came near the shore...

I heard a little call...

a trilling sound,
almost bird-like.

It was another raccoon,
a little female...

chittering at us.

Not so much at me as at Rascal.

I wondered if he'd heard her,
half hoping he hadn't.

But it was soon clear
that he had.

He could hardly wait to land.

Though I was sorry
to see him go...

it helped to know he wouldn't
be alone in the world.

Just once he looked back
to see if I was still there...

I think he was sort of
saying good-bye.

Well, now I knew
my little raccoon...

could take care of himself,
no doubt about that.

And so I left him.

Our wonderful summer was over.

In his way,
he seemed to know it, too...

for he came back to give me
one final farewell.

A character, a personality...

and a ring-tailed wonder.

It was all
a long, long time ago...

a different time,
a mellow time...

and as I think of it now,
the happiest of times.