Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 1 - A Harvest of Friends - full transcript

After moving his family from Wisconsin's 'big woods' to Minnesota's prairie, pioneer Charles Ingalls settles on farmland by Plum Creek just outside the town of Walnut Grove. To support his family until he can bring in a harvest, Charles works several jobs, establishing himself as a valued community member and a man of his word. But a rash promise to complete a job for devious Liam O'Neill by a specified time and a fall from a tree while rescuing a kite on a family picnic, threaten to ruin the Ingalls hopes for their future. How will the family pull together to save their farm and can they count on help from their new friends?

Laura: If I had
a remembrance book,

I would surely write about
the day we came to Plum Creek

and first saw the house
in the ground.

I can remember
Pa and Mr. Hanson

and how they walked
and looked and talked

and how we wondered
what they said.

You know, there is
no hurry, Mr. Ingalls.

If I were in your boots, I would
think on it and sleep on it.

Nothing to think about, Mr. Hanson.
My mind's made up.

I'll be in Walnut Grove tomorrow
morning to sign the papers.

All right,
I'll be at the mill.

- I'll see you then.
- Right.

- And thank you.
- Thank you.

Well, Ingalls family, soon as
you get done soaking your feet,

we got a wagon
to unload.

We're home?

We're home.

Laura: Pa left Plum Creek at daybreak
and worked all day in Hanson's mill

earning lumber he needed
to build us a house.

Pet and Patty,
our team horses,

weren't big enough to pull the plow
Pa needed to break the prairie sod.

Though we were sorry
to see them go,

Pa swapped them to Mr.
Hanson for a span of oxen,

strong enough Pa said to pull the
state of Iowa 10 miles into Minnesota

if you could find
a place to hitch them to.


Pa came home at sunset, and then
he worked by lantern light.

Ma said he ate his supper
while he was working,

and almost it was true.

Because it happened
mostly in the dark,

our house grew like the mushrooms
we found in the woods.

It was kind of like we were
all holding our breath

and then one day our new house
was there, all done,

and it was moving-in day.

Can we go in now?

Not just yet.



We've all been in
the house 100 times.

No, but not today.
Today's special.

- Can we go make our bed?
- Of course.

Don't forget
your pillows.

Mary: Our new bed's way bigger than
our other one and softer, too.

This is the best house
we've ever had.

We have our own window,
and we can see the stars.

We're supposed to be sleeping
when the stars are out,

and it will sure be nicer to
hear the rain on the roof

than to have
it get us all wet.

Come on, you're supposed to
be helping me make the bed.

Our own window.

A wood floor.
Real glass windows.

A room for the girls,
and one for us.

Don't forget...
A door that locks.

That, too.

Now if I hear wolves at
night, I won't be afraid.

We've heard them lots times before.
If you were afraid I never knew it.

I was, but
I won't be now.

At least we don't have
to fear the weather.

Still have a mountain of work to
do and lots of things we need.

A plow, a harrow,
and seed.


Uh-oh. Hey!
Come on now, munch.

Your room's
downstairs, ok?

I'm not too worried
about the harrow.

I can make one that will work
till I can get a store-bought.

But plow and seed... I'm going to have
to work that out in town tomorrow.

How? We have
no cash.

Well, I'll work it out. You let
me worry about it, all right?

All right.


I'll get her.


Mary: Carrie, you're not
supposed to be up here.

How'd she climb
the ladder?

Pa: What are you climbing around the house
for? You know you're not supposed to do that.

Guess she had to see
what was up here though.

Bed all right?

- It's soft.
- Mary: I love it, Pa.

Good. Here,
let me try it.

Oh, hey, it's pretty nice
if I do say so myself.

- How do you like your room?
- It's wonderful.

Yeah. And I've
decided something.

What's that,

Home is the nicest
word there is.

One of the nicest,
that's for sure.

You like home?


'Cause we got one now.

Working hard?

Morning, Ingalls.
Not too hard.

Mr. Ingalls,
good morning.

Mr. Oleson,
how you doing?

This is the fella I told you about
I ran into over at Hanson's mill.


What can I do
for you?

Well, I'd like a plow and wheat
seed, enough for 100 acres.

I understand you're
building a house out there.

Got it all finished

Start breaking sod soon
as I can get that plow.

I, uh, I don't have
any money right now.

I'd like to pledge
a share on my first crop.

We do give credit to a few farmers
that we've known for a long time,

but only to
a few of them.

There is a reason. We need
the money to buy the things

that we need to
keep in business.

I understand. Cash on a barrel, and
that's the way I like to deal and wheel,

just as soon as I get
that first crop to sell.

Mr. Ingalls, do you know how
many families move out here

and plant their crops and run up more
bills than they can hope to pay for

and then skip out in
the dead of night? Hmm?

Now, I could show you
a whole drawer full...

Mrs. Oleson, I can assure
you I had no intention of

running out in the
middle of the night.

- Thank you.
- Mr. Ingalls,

- I... there's really no way that I can...
- I understand.

- Looking at my fine plows, are you?
- Yeah.

- Would you be needing one?
- Sure could. Name's Ingalls.

Liam O'Neil.
Pleased to know you.

Yeah, I need a plow and
seed, enough for 100 acres.

Well, you've come
to the right man.

I sell only
the best.

I don't have any cash.

Then I'll thank you
for not wasting my time.

Yeah, I got something
you need more than money.

Have you now?

Well, what is it that I could
need or use more than money?

Know-how. Enough to put
a new roof on that shed.

If it had been built proper,
it would have never caved in.

I bought this business for cash, and
I'd no sooner turned the money over

then the last snows of winter came,
and they crashed in the roof.

I'll build you a roof that
will support under any snow.

For a plow and seed.

That's right.

And who'll be
supplying the material?

Well, you will.

Well, in that case, me lad, I'll
be needing a bit more on my side

to make the bargain even.

I'm freighting in some sacks
of grain from mankato.

You'd be stacking those in
the shed and neatly, too.

Consider it done.

Satisfy me on one thing more
and we can shake hands on it.

I see you working
at Hanson's every day.

How you going to get
loose to work for me?

Already arranged
for that.

Work for you in the morning, work
for Hanson in the afternoon.

You're biting off
a big piece.

I'll be after wanting
this done in 3 weeks.

It will be done.

Saying's one thing,
but doing's another.

You got my word
on it.

Ha ha. Well, if
something goes wrong,

your word is not going to
keep the rain out of my shed.

I'm thinking I'll be needing
a bit of collateral.

Like what?

I see you driving
a fair yoke of oxen.

Now, just keep it

You sign a chattel mortgage
leaving the animals to me

in case you don't do
the work as promised.

Now, no offense, Ingalls.
No offense meant at all.

It's just that being burned
once, you fear the fire.

I was a believing man once until a
shed sworn to be sound fell down.

I build a roof
and stack the grain.

In 3 weeks.

My hand on it.

And I hope you'll be
keeping your promise.

There's nothing
to worry about.

The house is all finished except
for a cupboard and a few shelves.

There's no hurry
about those.

All right, so I work
at O'Neil's for 6 hours.

I work 6 hours at Hanson's.
That's 12 hours.

That gives me plenty of time for the
plowing and the rest of the chores.

With going and coming
and eating your lunch,

it's more like
15 hours.

With farm work
on top of that,

you won't
have any time to rest.

It's only
for 3 weeks.

It's a long time
to walk in your sleep.

I can do it.

I believe you can.

Mary, cut up Carrie's
hot cakes for her, please.

Laura's right there.
Why can't she do it?

Because she's going to set
a place for her father.

Whoa, whoa, I haven't
got time to eat.

- I'm late for work already.
- Oh, Charles, you have to eat.

I had some cornbread
this morning.


- You can eat these on the run.
- All right, fine.

See you tonight!

I want molasses.

Yes, dear. Your father
forgot his lunch.

Here, Laura, run.
Catch him!

Pa! Pa! Forgot
your lunch!

Oh, thank you,

Have a nice day.


Oh. Ingalls.

I'm doc Baker.

We haven't met, but Hanson
pointed you out to me.

Pleasure to meet you. Got a
little rim trouble, huh?

The whole wheel's
fallen apart.

Well, I can wedge it
for you for now.

- You can?
- Sure.

- I'd be in your debt.
- No trouble at all.

And I thank you for not pointing
out it wouldn't have happened

if I'd remembered to soak the
wheel and swell the wood.

Ah, happens
to all of us.

Well, I was about
to start walking.

Not looking forward
to it,

having been up all night
with a new mother.

I'd be happy to pay you
for your time.

No, thank you. Just a ride into
Walnut Grove will be fine.

Huh, you got it.

Hanson told me you were a
good man to have around.

Mill work, building
your own house.

He told me you were going to
start repairing O'Neil's shack.

Yeah, word gets
around fast.

In a town the size of walnut
grove, quicker than scat.

I think you're a welcome
addition to our community.

Thank you.

I hear you have
a nice family, too.

I think so.

[Loud whistle]

Doc: Ingalls.

Hey, doc.

You know, it's only
by the grace of god

a country doctor doesn't
cackle when he talks.

You'll never guess
how many times

my patients pay their
bills with chickens.

I couldn't begin
to guess.

Course it could be I'm
perpetuating the system.

I've started more flocks
than I can remember.

I hope you
can use these.

Come on, it's just a little added
thanks for your help this morning.

Look, doc, it's not that
we can't use them...

Go ahead and
take them, Ingalls.

Make the old man happy.

You know, he wouldn't
dare keep those chickens

because they would die on him and
then folks would know he's a fraud.

Fraud! Why,
you old Billy goat!

You can't even blow
a whistle on time.

He's 3 minutes late.

Nej! You are
3 minutes early.

It's that
cheap watch of his.

Cheap, is it? Ingalls,
I'll have you know

this is a very
expensive chronometer

given to me when I graduated
from medical school.

Oh, but if it's that old,
it's an hourglass.

When he graduated,
they didn't have watches.

You and your watch are
both older than I am...

[Loud whistle]

Ma, the whistle's

Laura, don't let
the stew boil dry.

As soon as I get
the oxen yoked up,

I want you and Mary to take them
to the field for your father.

Laura: In my remembrance book,

I'd put down how Pa used
every minute of daylight

and a lot of the dark.

He said he was
counting the days

till he could stay home
and just work the farm.

The rest of us only counted
the days till Sunday,

the lord's day,

when Pa took us all
to church.

As I look out
on our congregation,

I must say I'm distressed.

Now, I see many
familiar faces,

but I also see
the absence of many others.

I see many wives here
without their husbands.

I'm sure if they had lost a loved one
during the week, I'd have heard about it.

Now, we're all of us

some to a lesser degree
than others,

but nonetheless sinners.

It is only by going to church and
asking the lord's forgiveness

that we may be
cleansed of our sins.

Think upon that as
we sing our closing hymn...

Come, sinner, come.

♪ Come, sinner, come ♪

♪ why will you longer delay? ♪

♪ Jesus loves you ♪

♪ his love is true ♪

♪ he will not turn you away ♪

Laura: Mostly I like church
better than Sunday school,

but not today.

Oh, why not?

Just because.

I know why.

Because reverend Alden

"if you don't go
to church, you're a sinner,

and sinners
are punished."

Oh, I think he meant people who
never go to church at all.

Then Pa won't
be punished.

No, dear.
Your father's a good man.

He's worn out.
He needs to rest.

More than
he needs church?

Yes. He's tired.

There's Pa!

You girls catch up
with Carrie.

Charles Ingalls!


You're back
already, huh?

Earlier than
expected, obviously.

Well, what are
you talking about?

You couldn't stay awake to go to
church, and here you are working.

Oh, Caroline, I woke up
and you were gone.

I just couldn't sit around
the house doing nothing.

Charles, the lord's day is set
aside for worship and for rest.

Caroline, I got a field to plow, and
god isn't going to plow it for me.

That is

Well, to you maybe,
but not to god.

He understands farmers.

- I'm sorry I didn't go to church.
- You should have gone to church.

That's why I just said I'm
sorry I didn't go to church.

It's not church
I'm worried about.

It's you. You're
working much too hard.

No, the worst part of it's over.
It's just a little while now.

Come on,
bear with me, huh?

Time spent being angry
with you is such a waste.

I'm sorry.

So am I.





I've been looking at your time sheet,
the days and hours that you worked,

and your lumber bill.

Today at quitting time,
I owe you half a dollar.

You surprised?

No, not surprised.
Pleased is the word.

I've been keeping
track myself.

Kind of like climbing a mountain. You
can't wait till you get to the top.

Ha ha ha! Ja,
I am pleased, too.

You've been
working hard.

How's the work
coming at O'Neil's?

All but finished.

I tell you what, when you
get finished over there

and you get
yourself a rest,

if you want to, come and
work half-days for me.

- I would like that.
- I'd like it, too.

- Good. Ha ha!
- Thank you.

- Caroline!
- What is it?

Well, I am home.
That's what it is.

And I'm starving. Woman, get
my supper while I wash up.


Ah, that's good!

You're really
feeling good.

Oh, it's a fine day.

- Where are the girls?
- In bed.

In bed! The sun's
hardly down.

A little early to be putting
them into bed, isn't it?

Well, it just seemed easier and
quieter if they weren't underfoot.

I'll get your supper.

Have I been that bad?

I do remember telling them to
be quiet a couple of times.

- A couple.
- A few.


I'm sorry.

Why don't you get my supper,
and I'll be down in a minute.

Welcome home.

Get my supper.

Kind of early to
be asleep, isn't it?

Well, we weren't
quite asleep, Pa.

Oh, that's good. I thought
I might tell you a story.

- Yes, Pa!
- Oh, please, Pa!

All right,
let me see.

Oh, yeah, I've got one
about a grumpy farmer.

See, this grumpy farmer used to get
up every morning before sunrise

and stomp off to work.

Sometimes he'd even
forget to say good-bye

to his wife and his
3 pretty little girls.

And every night
when it got dark,

his wife would put his 3
pretty girls to bed real early

so he wouldn't grump at
them when he got home.

That made the whole
family feel kind of sad

'cause they could remember when
he used to have time for his wife

and time to play games with
his 3 pretty little girls,

even take them
to church.

So one day that farmer looked
around and said to himself,

you're a grump."

And he finished all of his
work, almost all of it,

he came home, and he told his
pretty wife and his 3 pretty girls

that tomorrow he was
going to take them

on the biggest, bestest
all-day picnic of all time.

Oh, thank you, Pa!

I promise not
to be a grump.

Charles: Hurry up, the last
one down's a rotten egg!

Come on, Jack,
we're going to win!


Hey, look!

It's higher than
some of the birds.

A lot higher.

I didn't know Pa
could fly a kite.

I didn't either, Mary.

I'll get it!





Don't move.

Laura, run get
Mr. Hanson.

Tell him Pa needs
Dr. Baker and a wagon!


Never ceases to amaze me the ways
man can find to hurt hisself.

Climbing trees! Wonder you
didn't break your neck.

Couldn't hurt any
worse than this does.

All right.

Now into bed.



Painful, huh?

Just a wee bit, doc.

Well, that's to be expected
with 4 broken ribs.

But you'll mend fast. You'll be up and
moving around in a week, 10 days.

Ja, the rest
will do you good.

I can't spend a week in bed.
I got a lot of work to do.

You do what
the doc tells you.

I will talk
to O'Neil.

The grain stacking
can wait.

It's not just
stacking the grain.

I got plowing to do, I
got work in the barn.

It will have to wait.

I'll check back in a couple
of days, Mrs. Ingalls.

Thank you, doctor.
I'll see you out.

You stay in bed.

You girls don't let
the cornbread burn.

You're looking better.

I'm feeling better.

That soup smells good.

Can I ask you
a favor?


I don't want you to go out
and do any plowing anymore.

We've already
talked that out.

No, I talked, but
you didn't listen.

The field has to be harrowed
before it can be planted.

Now, god isn't
going to do it.

- Laura: Cornbread's done, ma.
- Coming, dear.

That isn't sacrilegious.
You said it.

If god understands farmers, he
understands farmers' wives.

- Mrs. Ingalls.
- Yes.

I'm Liam O'Neil.

Your husband contracted
to do some work for me.

Yes, how are you?

Troubled, ma'am. Your husband
left a sight of work undone.

He was hurt. Dr. Baker
told him to stay in bed.

Yes, I am sorry that
I am to hear that,

but that has nothing to do
with the matter at hand.

A chattel mortgage, ma'am.
Your husband signed it,

guaranteeing that the work
would be done on time

or the yoke of oxen
would forfeit to me.

Well, the work wasn't done, and
that's the plain and simple fact.

I know, Mr. O'Neil, but Mr. Hanson
was supposed to tell you

my husband was hurt.

Hurt has nothing to
do with the matter.

Your husband failed
to do as he promised,

and now the oxen are mine, so
I've come to pick them up.

Please don't do this.

I know how you feel.
Truly I do.

But if your husband was in my position,
he'd do exactly the same thing.

I'm sorry.


Dr. Baker said you weren't
to get out of bed.

He said lots of things.

Please, just tell me what O'Neil said
when he showed you the mortgage.

He said you hadn't done the work.
The oxen were his.

Now there wasn't anything I can do about it.
There isn't anything you can do about it.

I never should
have signed it.

But you did sign it,
and you can't fight it.

Now please go back to bed
before you hurt yourself.

No, Mr. O'Neil and I are
going to have another talk.

- This isn't over.
- But it is!

No, it isn't, 'cause I'm
not going to let it.

We lose those oxen,
I can't make a crop.

I can't make a crop,
we lose everything.

It happened to me in Kansas.
It's not going to happen here.

Go home, Jack.
Go home.

Go home.

[Hammer pounding]

Dorfler, if it's
all right with you,

I'll give you some chickens in
payment for this shoeing job.

I got more chickens
now than I can use.

Half my customers been
paying me with chickens.

I never thought of that.

Well, look who's here.


I thought you said he was going
to be in bed for a while.

That's where
he should be.

Well, Ingalls, you're
looking poorly, lad.

I didn't come here to
talk about my health.

'Twas only
a politeness.

I want to see
the mortgage.

You did when
you signed it, lad.

Then I'll see
it again. Now.

Ah, 'tis the date
you're wondering about.

The contract
expires tonight.

Then the oxen
are still mine.

Well, for a few wee hours
more, till midnight.

I was out your way
on another matter.

I knew that you wouldn't be
able to keep your promise here.

So you stole the oxen.

Well, no, lad, I was
just doing you a favor,

saving you a trip
into town.

If you want to do me a favor,
you'll give me a couple more days.

Oh, sorry as I am, by the look of you,
it would take a lot more than that.

Besides, when a bargain is
struck and a paper signed,

all parties have
to abide by it.

Well, I intend to.

I got till midnight
to keep my end of the bargain.

I got a lot of stacking
to do. I best get at it.

Wonder what
he's up to.

It looks like he's
going back to work.


Pa! Pa!


I want you to go home.

Hear me, I want you
to go home.

Come on. We'll do it.

Now, fellers, now,
this is all a mistake.

Look, I never meant
to take advantage.

Uh, look...

It was a business deal. Now, that's
all it was, was just business.

I... uh... when I saw the poor lad
fall down and him and that sack,

and then the wee ones, they're
coming to help their Pa.

Look, well, I swear
on my mother's grave,

I was going to give
the oxen back.

Go slowly now, Ingalls.

It's the way
the oxen like it.

My thanks
to all of you.

Oh, it did us good
to sweat a little.

I just wish there was some
way I could repay you.

Uh, ja, there
is something.

Um, we've been thinking of holding
a plowing and harrowing contest

at the church on Sunday,

and it would be a favor to us
if we could use your land.

- Got a deal.
- Deal.

Thank you.

Come on,
let's go home.


You're still
3 minutes early.

Laura: That was our
happiest homecoming ever.

Pa said he was glad we'd come to
live on the banks of Plum Creek,

because here he'd harvested a crop
he didn't know he'd planted...

A harvest of friends.