Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 11 - The Voice of Tinker Jones - full transcript

A deaf-mute traveling tinker may have the only solution after Rev. Alden's request for a new church bell starts the Kennedys and Olesons feuding over who will donate the bell and who will take the credit.

Ma! Mr. Tinker's here!

Hi, tinker.

Good morning.

How are you,
Mr. Jones?

Oh, you got it, huh?

Just beautiful.

Charles: Tinker.

How are you?
Good to see you.

Real craftsman.

Charles: Real craftsman.

So shiny.

You can use it
for a mirror.

Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

It's really
very special.

We thank you.

How much
do I owe you?

It's less than
the mercantile.

And so much nicer.

Look at those.


Isn't it pretty?

Mine's prettier'n yours.

Thank you, tinker.

Laura: Thanks.

Oh, for Carrie.

Look at that.

Isn't that pretty?



Thank you very much
from all of us.

You're really
very kind.


Thank you!

It's time to put
those away.

Yes. It's almost
time for supper.

It's time for you
to wash your hands.

There we go.

Where does tinker
come from?

I don't really know,

Where's his family?

Well, I don't really
think he has one.

That must be awful, not to
have anyone to love him

like we have you and ma.

Well, half-pint,

I wouldn't feel sorry
for tinker.

He gets a lot of pleasure
out of making those toys

for all the boys
and girls.

You know, in a way it's like
you're all his children.

The kids
are his family.

That's right.

I wish tinker
could talk,

so we could know for sure
if he was happy.

I'm sure he is.

Now, go on. Take
those toys upstairs.

You forgot to.

I did?

Well, we'll take care
of that right now.

Almighty god...

Who has blessed the land that
it should be fruitful...

And bring forth whatsoever is
needful for the life of man.

And has commanded us that
we work with quietness...

And eat our own bread...

Even though
we have sinned.

Bless the labors
of the husbandman...

And Grant us
such seasonal weather

as we may gather in
the fruits of the earth.

And ever rejoice
in thy goodness...

To the praise
of thy holy name.


All: Amen.

Thus endeth the prayer

and the service
for today.

Now if the children would follow Mrs.
Kennedy outside for Sunday school,

I should like
to speak to you briefly

about a subject that is
very near to my heart.

It's good to be back here
in walnut grove...

Among my friends,

whom I've really
come to Cherish

during these
monthly visits.

My, how
this community's grown.

You should all be very proud
of your accomplishments.

You know, recently I...

I spoke with my superior in mankato
about my experiences here.

I told him that...

The only thing
that I felt was missing...

Was the sound
of a church bell

calling the faithful to
worship every Sunday morning.

Now, isn't that what we need...

A bell for our church
here in walnut grove?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Ooh! I think
it's a good idea!

Man: So do I.

Well, I propose
a special collection.

I think we should
all search our hearts and...

And our pocketbooks

and give what we can.

We can choose the bell after
we see what we can afford.

Uh, reverend?

May I speak?

Well, certainly,
Mrs. Oleson.

Thank you.

I, uh...

I think that we should
have a very large bell

like they have in the
churches in St. Paul.

Mrs. Oleson,
that's a wonderful dream,

but walnut grove
doesn't have...

Well, nor can we compete with
a city the size of St. Paul.

And a bell that size,
uh, we couldn't afford.


Well, my husband and I would
like to contribute the bell.

Reverend: Well,
that's very generous.

We will contribute the
bell and the plaque.

What... plaque?

Dedicating it
in our names.

After all... Heh,

we are paying for it.

Uh, reverend,
may I speak?

Reverend: Well,
certainly, Mr. Kennedy.

Now, I don't know
about the rest of you,

but... l feel this
is god's house,

and we built it
with our own hands,

and I don't think the lord's going to like
it much we put somebody else's name on it.

Why, that's the most
ungrateful thing that I...

Now, hold it a minute.

Mrs. Oleson has been kind
enough to make the offer,

and I think
we ought to accept it.

Now, what could you give,

50 cents? A dollar?

As much as I could,

which is more
than you'd give.

You sit there snoring all the
way through the service.

You never hear
the word of the lord.

At least I come
to church every Sunday.


Let's not forget
we're in a church.

We'll continue the story
next week, children.

You can run along now.

We need that bell,

Reverend: Thank you.

Always good
to see you, tinker.

You never miss
a service.

Thank you, reverend.

Don't worry.
We'll have our bell.

Thank you,
miss beadle.

Look forward to seeing you very soon, Mr.
Alden. Thank you.

I meant what I said,

You give
that woman a plaque,

she going to change

If she gives us
a bell, Kennedy,

what difference does
a little plaque make?

We don't even
have to look at it.

Oh, the next thing you know,

she's gonna change the name
of this town to olesonville.

You are
a stubborn man.

Well, that may be true, but oleson's
not going to run my religion.

I tell you. That
won't happen here.

Well, it just might.

Well, maybe not as big as
the bells in St. Paul,

but at least a lot bigger than the
ones in mankato or sleepy eye.

That will certainly
show them.

Well, there...

There seem to be a few
who oppose our generosity.

But, well, I'm sure
that... They'll come around.

How do you feel,
uh, Mr. Hanson?

I approve
of the bell.

Miss beadle?

I think it's
a wonderful idea.

And we need the bell for the
school as well as the church.

Oh! Good gracious!

Why, that would
clearly be sacrilegious.

Why, a church bell is only for
the church and nothing else.

Come along, nels.

Miss beadle: Mrs. Oleson,
that's not right.

Well, we use
the same building.

Why can't we use
the same bell?

Dorfler: We may have
neither church nor school.


From the size bell
that she wants,

it would tip
that building over.

We would have nothing
but a mess of kindling.

Ha ha ha!

Excuse me, miss.

Caroline: Seemed
like such a nice idea.

Yeah. The church
could use a bell.

But Mrs. Oleson wanting
to do it all by herself...

I think that's
a little too much.

Well, they can afford it.

I don't see what's
wrong with it.

It was the way
she did it.

And that plaque.

Well, it's going to get a lot
worse before it gets better.

I think the reverend Alden's
got a war on his hands.

I now have the feeling I should
have come to you first, Charles,

but I didn't.

I went to the olesons
and the nelsons and...

I met Mr. Tyler,
Mr. Dorfler,

and Mr. Kennedy
at the blacksmith shop.

I thought I could prevail
on Mrs. Oleson

to let others contribute
towards the bell,

but she refused.

We accept the bell
as offered,

or the oleson family will
attend church in Springfield.

Springfield? That's
a 50-mile round trip.

I mentioned that...

But she was adamant.

But so are Mr. Kennedy
and Mr. Tyler.

Now they want no part of Mrs.
Oleson's bell and plaque.

They said that...

Oh, we can imagine
what they said.

Well, it's
just as well because...

Some of the words used

wouldn't bear repeating
with a lady present.

And one thing
I did find out...

The... angers
are spreading.

People are
choosing sides.

If I accept
the olesons' offer,

we lose
half the congregation.

And if I don't,
we lose the other half.

these storms come up,

and then they blow over.

You have a lot
of friends here.

Thank you.

I've taken up
enough of your time.

I'll see you out.

Thank you
for your hospitality.

Good night,

Reverend, I don't know if It'll
make you feel any better,

but in your absence, the
elders all give a sermon.

They take their turns.

If you're ever in church
to hear one of those,

you'd realize how
welcome you really are.

What I haven't told you
is that, um...

People on both sides
of the argument

have threatened
to write my superior

and ask
to have me replaced.

Well, like I said,
these storms blow over.

Why don't you let me
look into that?

I'd appreciate it.

You might tell
everybody concerned...

I only want what's best for the
church and the congregation.

I think
we all know that.

Thank you again.
Good night.

Good night.

Let's go,
jehoshaphat, go.

how you doing?

Hello, Ingalls.
What can I do for you?

Just stopped by.

Wanted you to know
we're going to have

a meeting at the church
tonight about 7:00.

Oh? What for?

Discuss the bell.

There's nothing
to discuss.

The matter's been settled.

I wasn't aware of that.

Well, let me put it
another way.

It's been settled
as far as I'm concerned.

Now come on, Kennedy,

give the rest of the
congregation a chance.

It's not going
to hurt you to listen.

All right. I'll listen.

But my mind's
made up, Ingalls,

and we don't want
no oleson bell,

and that's final.

Can we have
some quiet please?

Thank you.

I thought we should
have this meeting

to discuss the reverend
Alden's suggestion.

I think we can discuss it
as friends, neighbors,

and members
of the congregation.

I suggest we think in terms
of a compromise.

There's no one of us that can have
his or her way on everything.

I personally think
we need a bell.

We've had an offer of such
a bell from the olesons.

And a plaque.

Don't forget
the plaque.

The bell and the plaque.
Thank you, Mr. Kennedy.

Now, I think
we should hear

from those who are willing
to accept that offer

and those who are opposed.

I think we ought
to accept the gift

in the manner in which
it was intended.

Well, now, that's
just what I don't like.

Don't you remember
how hard we worked?

We built this church
in honor of the lord.

We donated the boards
and the joist

and the beams and
the rafters to him,

and we didn't put our
names on none of it.

Oh, now, really. That
is not the point.

That is the point.

Wait! Please!

Uh... this is
the house of god.

Now let's conduct our
discussion quietly.

We take that bell,

it's going to be
the oleson house,

bell, pew, and pulpit.

And I'll tell you
something else, Ingalls.

She'll be doing
the sermon.

Man: That's sacrilegious.

Now, wait.
Uh, I suggest

that we forget about
the olesons' bell,

and that
we start over

and we take a collection so
all of us can contribute.

Oh, well, this is the...

You are a measly man!

Nels, I will not
stay here and be insulted.

Come along.

No! Wait! Please!

Oh, be quiet. I'm not going
to discuss it any longer.

No insult intended.

All I wanted was
so we could all

contribute to the bell.

Good riddance!

Mr. Kennedy, if you would keep
a civil tongue in your head,

we might just get something
accomplished here!

All right, I think
we should take the vote

all those in favor
of a special contribution.

Mr. Ingalls,
we're a poor community.

If we accept a gift
of the bell,

that way, it won't
cost us anything.

If we take the bell

and then you will
want a new church,

that also should
be for free?

Hanson, that's
not true.

Well, not exactly
for nothing, hanson.

You're gonna be
standing right there

ready to sell
the lumber.

Mr. Kennedy.

I contribute
as much as any man

in this town,
and I will...

I thought we came here
to discuss the bell.

Why don't we forget
that bleeding bell?

We done all right
without it up to now.

Show of hands.
Hanson: For what?

That's it, Ingalls.
The meeting's adjourned.

Hanson: No,
wait, come back.

Get... bring him
back here.

come here.

Bring him back
in here.

Hey, Kennedy!

You wouldn't have
believed it.

Start out
discussing the bell,

next thing you know it's the
battle of the little big horn.

I can't tell the soldiers
from the Indians.

Well, didn't they
listen, pa?

I'm afraid not,

They're all too busy
yelling, shouting.

I do declare.

A bunch of grownups
carrying on like children.

Children wouldn't
have been that noisy.

Does this mean there won't
be any church on Sunday?

I was beginning
to like Sunday school

even if they did repeat a lot of
stories Mary and I already knew.

If we have to,

we'll worship and have
Sunday school right here.

We've done it before.

Let's play
uncle John.

We can't.

Why not?

Our fathers won't let us

because of what your father
said about the bell.

Aren't we
friends anymore?

We can't play
with them either.

Laura: We caught a lot!

Hey, we got
plenty here for supper.


Nice size ones, too.

I'm wondering, why is everybody
mad at reverend Alden?

Oh, they're not mad at the
reverend Alden, half-pint.

They're mad at themselves.

Fighting over a bell.

I think that's silly.

Well, Mary, grownups can
be pretty silly sometimes,

like little boys
and girls.

You mean like Mary and me?

That's right.

And grownups can be
more stubborn.


They've had a lot more
time to practice.

Come on, half-pint.
Let's clean those fish.

Come on, Jack.
There'll be some for you.

Mary: Come on.

Thank you for sharing this
hour of worship with me.

And for this demonstration
of your generosity.

Now let's all stand and turn to page
47 for our concluding hymn, please.

♪ Ring the bells of heaven ♪

♪ There is joy today ♪

♪ For a soul returning
from the wild ♪

♪ See a father meet him
out upon the way ♪

♪ Welcoming his weary
wandering child ♪

♪ Glory, glory,
how the angels sing ♪

♪ Glory, glory,
how the loud harps ring ♪

♪ 'Tis the ransomed army ♪

♪ Like a mighty sea ♪

♪ Pealing forth
the anthem of the free ♪

You mustn't
blame yourself.

I unwittingly
started the conflict

which is tearing the
congregation apart,

and my efforts for peace just
seem to make things worse.

I'm afraid there won't be
an end to the fighting

unless I do leave.

Reverend, no.

But I think
it's best.

I think it's best if we
have our Sunday services

at home from now on.

Two weeks from today,

I'm going to be coming through
walnut grove on my way to mankato.

With your permission, I'll stop
in and share your service.

We could say
good-bye then.

Charles: You're always
welcome, reverend.

Good day, reverend.

Caroline: Charles,
would you stop?

What's the matter?

Would you mind?

I'd like to go have a talk
with Mrs. Kennedy.

You really think
it's going to do any good?

I think it's high time the
women took this thing in hand.

All right. Maybe you'll
have better luck than I did.

Can we go with you, ma?

Yes, ma,
may we?

I don't see
any reason why not.

You can say hello
to Christy and Sandy.

Well, just you and me.

Well, I was thinking if
we could get together...

Mrs. Ingalls.

I, uh... I came by

to see if we couldn't put an
end to the hard feelings.

Your husband send you?


But he is aware of my visit,
if that's what you mean.

Well, I was just wondering
who rules your roost.

Here, I make the decisions.

Mr. Kennedy,
don't you realize

that all this senseless
squabbling is ruining our church,

hurting our children?

Your children, maybe.
Not mine.

Now, the matter is closed,

and you can tell your husband
it's going to stay that way

until talk of this
damn bell comes to an end,

and we find ourselves
a new minister.

I'll thank you to
watch your language.

My house. Say what I like.
You would...

You don't care that your neighbors
aren't speaking to each other,

that your children and... and mine are
aching over this terrible feud.

I said before,
Mrs. Ingalls,

the matter is closed!


How'd you make out?

All right, girls,

Get out of
your Sunday clothes.

Both: Yes, ma'am.
Right away.


How'd it go?

Caroline: Stubborn,
selfish man.

He won't listen
to reason.

He just wants
everything his own way.

Well, I thought you went
to talk to Mrs. Kennedy.

I did, and
she was very nice,

then he came in,

and he wouldn't
let her say a word

when he was in the room.

Well, he does like to hear
the sound of his own voice.

Honestly, Charles,

I would have gladly given up
the whole notion of the bell

if only to get everybody
back together,

but after talking
to him, or, rather,

after being
talked at by him,

I really think
we need a bell.


You're terrible.

You should not wear
your hat in the house.


Christy: Hey!


Are you sure
it's all right?

Why not? Nobody said we
couldn't visit tinker Jones.

And we all happened by
at the same time.

Come on.

It's beautiful.

I have one at home just like it.

I wish I did.

I wish I did.

For me?

Oh, thank you,

Hey, let's go out in the Meadow
and play run, sheep, run.

Nellie: We can't.
Someone might see us.

Nellie's right.

It's all your father's
fault, Laura Ingalls.

It is not.

It is too!
If it weren't for him,

there wouldn't be
no more talk about the bell.

Willie's right.

My pa says there ain't
gonna be no bell anyway.

Well, my ma says that your
pa is stubborn and selfish.

You take that back,

I won't.

You ought to hear what my
pa says about your pa.

You say one word
about my pa,

and I'll slap your face!

You do,
and you'll be sorry.

What he's telling us,
I think...

We're acting just
like our parents.

I'm sorry, Christy.

So am I, Laura.

Well, what's he
trying to tell us?

He's going to
make a bell.

Can we help,

Wait till I
tell my mother.


He wants it to
be our secret.


You tell your mother,

and you won't have
anybody to play with.

Or anybody to be mean to.

She's right.

All right.
I'll help.

We'll all help.

Laura: It'll be fun.

Laura: It was Saturday when
tinker decided to make the bell.

Sunday, for the first
time I could remember,

there was no church service
in walnut grove,

but all the next week,

we couldn't wait to get away
from school and help tinker.

There was
so very much to do.

Laura: We worked every day
before and after school,

and suddenly
it was Friday,

the day tinker was
going to pour the bell.

there's no more.

There's no more!

Laura: Tinker, no!
Don't do it!

You need my horse?

And mine?

You need all our toys.

He needs tin, too.

We'll get more tin.

A whole wagonload.

Even if we have to

turn walnut grove upside
down and shake it,

we'll get a lot.

Tomorrow morning,
we'll have it here.

Mary, help me.

Oh, yeah.

All finished.
Can we go now?

Are you sure
he asked you?

Yes, ma'am.
He really did.

He drew a picture of a clock on his slate
to tell us to be sure to be early.

All right.

And remember to...

That was quick.



Help me.

Christy: Wait a minute.
What's pa gonna say?

I expect I'll find out.

Come on.

Gonna take the buffalo?

The fire engine?


Gonna take the Indian?


Ok. Go.

Nellie: Ma said
we could have it.

She didn't say anything
about bringing them back.

Pa didn't say anything.

Girl: It's beautiful.


Mmm. That
bread smells good.

I just happen to
have a knife ready.

No. You have to wait
until it cools.

The bread's better when it
comes right out of the oven.

One little piece
for a hardworking man.

You're worse
than the girls.

Where are they?

And make it
a big piece.

Visiting tinker Jones.

I was out in the barn.

I was looking for some coal
oil cans I had out there.

I couldn't find them. Did
you use them for anything?

Of course not.

What would I do
with old coal oil cans?

That's what
I was wondering.

Somebody took them.
Mmm. It's hot.

Let me get you
some butter.

Mmm-mm. Delicious
the way it is,

and I've got
more work to do.

I love you.

It's getting awful late.

We're gonna
stay and see it.

What do you make of that?

Don't know.

Why don't you
get the girls ready.

We're going to town.

Let's go,



Mr. Kennedy: Will you
stop ringing that bell?

Now, who's responsible
for this?

Who paid for it?

I think
it's glorious.

Mrs. Oleson: Did someone take
up a collection behind my back?

Mr. Kennedy: I think the
reverend owes us an explanation.

I assure you, Mr. Kennedy, I'm
just as surprised as you are.

Pa, it wasn't
the reverend.

It was tinker Jones'

Tinker made the bell.

He did it so we...

So we would all stop
fighting'n become friends.

And have church here...

Like we used to.


Don't you think it's time to
lead us into Sunday service?