Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 12 - The Award - full transcript

A frightened, angry Caroline impulsively forbids Mary from taking a scholarship exam as punishment for accidentally starting a late-night fire in the barn where she had gone to study to keep from waking her sleeping little sister, Laura. But more than anything, Mary wants the exam winner's prize, a beautiful, new Webster's Dictionary, and when she delays telling her teacher that she won't be taking the test, Laura worries that her big sister is planning to defy their mother.

Laura: Pa didn't go away
very often, but when he did,

it took all of us working
together to get him ready.

He was only going to be gone 3
weeks to mankato and other places

on errands for Mr. Hanson,

with Mr. Edwards to help him
and keep him company.

But pa said
when it came to leaving home,

it took a lot of people pushing
to get him started.

Laura: Good-bye, pa!
Good-bye, Mr. Edwards.

Mary: Bye.
Have a good time.

Good-bye, Mr. Edwards!

Bye, pa.

Good-bye, papa.

Ma: All right, girls, you don't
want to be late for school.

We'll hurry, ma.

Laura, will
you come on?

We'll be late
for sure.

I'm looking
for something.


I don't know.

Well, how can you be
looking for something

if you don't even know
what the something is?

I'll know it
when I see it.

Laura, sometimes you
don't make sense.

Come on.

Ok, I'm coming.

You know, sometimes you
don't make sense, either.

When don't I?

Every morning you're always
in a hurry to get to school.

Well, I like school.

That's what I mean.
You don't make sense.

Come on, Laura.

Hurry up!

Miss beadle:
Now, as you all can see,

I've written
"scholarship award."


Yes, girls. Come in.

Miss beadle:
You're late.

Yes, ma'am.
I'm sorry.

It was my fault. I was
looking for something.

Well, I hope
you found it.

Thank you,
miss beadle.

Now, I've written "scholarship
award" on the blackboard.

As you all know, each
year an award is given

to the student who
scores the highest grade

in a special

Now, in the years past,
the award has been a ribbon,

but this year the school board
has made a generous donation,

and this will be the award.

Isn't it beautiful?

It's a lovely
Webster's dictionary.

Now, I will supply any student
who wishes to enter the contest

with a list of subjects
that the examination will cover.

With a lovely award like this, I'm sure
we'll have more entries than ever before.

All right, now we'll get on
with today's work.

I've corrected
your spelling papers,

and I would like you to write the
words that you missed 25 times.

Miss beadle: Casper?

Yes, ma'am?

Will you please
pass out these papers?

Yes, ma'am.

Laura: Now.

There now.
Lay down.


Whoever wins
that dictionary

is really going
to deserve it,

with this list
of subjects.

I've got 3 weeks
to do it.

I've just got
to win.

Mary, a lot of the students
are older than you are,

and they'll all
be trying to win.

Pa says you can do anything if
you just set your mind to it.

That's true, but...

Well, I've set
my mind to it.

I want to be a schoolteacher
like you were,

and I'll need
a dictionary.

I'm gonna go
upstairs and study.

I'll win it.
You'll see.



Do you think
she'll win?

I know she'll do
her best.

What are you
working on?


I have to write down every
word I missed 25 times.

Hmm. How many did you miss?

A few.

How do you spell "Bo," like on a tree?

You mean bough?







If Mary wins
that dictionary,

pretty soon you
won't have to ask.

You can look
the words up.

How can I look up
a word I can't spell?

Miss beadle?

Yes, Mary?

I'm having trouble finding
some of the things

I need to know
for the examination.

What kind of things?

History... American history,
before the revolutionary war.

Mm-hmm. I think
I can help you.

This helped me,

I'm sure it can
help you.

Oh, thank you.

I'll take good care of
your book, miss beadle.

Oh, I know you will.


Bye, Mary.

Mary, would you
quit poking?

We got chores to do.

I'm not poking.
I'm reading.

What are you
reading about?



I like history.

I don't. It's all
about dead people.













hi, ma.

Hi. You're late. Did you
have to stay after school?

Close the door.

No, ma. It was
Mary's fault.

She was reading
about dead people.


Look what miss beadle gave me.

Oh, my.

She gave it
to you?

No. She just
let me use it

to help me study
for the examination.

Oh. I know you'll
take good care of it.

I promised.

Good for you.



Since I don't have
any homework,

can I go fishing
after I do my chores?

Well, just because you
don't have any homework

doesn't mean
you can't spend

a little extra
time learning.

Yes, ma.

When I'm dead,

the history book will say I
hardly ever got to go fishing.

Close the door.

Mary, would you please
blow out that light?

I can't sleep
with it on.

Well, I can't read
without it.

You're not supposed
to be reading.

You're supposed
to be sleeping.

I can't sleep.

Ma needs her rest

with all the extra work she
has to do with pa gone.

I know, but I'm
in a real good part

George Washington.

Well, I can tell you
what happened.

He got to be the father
of our country.

Now blow out that light
before it wakes up ma.

Well, move over.
I got to get in.


Oh! Ma! Ma!

It's on fire!
The barn is on fire! Ma!

Ma: Aah!

Mary! Mary,
get out of here!

Buckets! Get water from
the creek, both of you!

More water!

I'm... I'm so sorry, ma.

Sorry is not enough.

Ma: I want to know
what happened.

I must have
fallen asleep...

Tipped the lantern
over. I...

What were you
doing out here?

I was studying...

For the examination.

You have a whole
house to study in,

and you had to
come out here?

Ma, I didn't want
to wake you. I... I...

Do you realize you
could have been...

How many times
have I told you

not to light matches or
lanterns in the barn?!

I guess. I...

But you forgot!

Well, young lady, you're gonna
remember from this night on!

And you can forget
that examination.

Now, tomorrow morning
I want you to go in

and tell miss beadle that
you're not taking it.

But, ma,
she can't.

Why not?!

Because tomorrow's Saturday.

Well, Monday, then.

Now go on to bed!

Both of you!

9 eggs this morning.

With the 9 you had, that's
a dozen and a half.

Thank you.


Would you sit
down, please?

Mary, I want
you to know

I was very frightened
last night...

Horribly frightened.

I'm very sorry, ma.

Well, if the barn burned... the
sparks... the house.

Well, that's why
I was so harsh...

Because I was

Yes, ma'am.

Can I go now?

I want to rake up all the burnt
straw and the pieces of sack.

Can I go?
Please, ma?

Of course.

Most troubles are not
as black as they seem

when you pull them
into the sunshine

and take a good look
at them.

Before I forget...

I ran into Charles and Mr.
Edwards on my way here...

Near new ulm. They were
camped aside of the road.

Charles sent
his love.

Thank you.

Now, after the fire, you
sent the girls to bed,

and you told Mary she couldn't
take the examination?

I did more than that.

I lost my temper,

and I never lose my
temper with my girls.

There are few
among us

who haven't said or done
something we regret.

Did Mary say
she was sorry?

Oh, several times,
but I was so upset,

all I could think about was
what could have happened.

She might have been...

She might have
been killed...

But she wasn't.

That's one worry
behind you.

Let's talk about
today, this morning.

Well, I tried
to talk to Mary.

What were you
going to tell her?

That you changed
your mind,

there wasn't going to
be any punishment?

Something like that...

But I didn't get
a chance.

Why not?

She was like
a stranger.

She wouldn't even
look at me.

She just kept saying
she understood

and that she had work to do
and asking if she could go.

What kind of work?

Cleaning up
in the barn.

Had you told her
to do that?

No. It was her own idea.

Doesn't that say
quite a lot?

She's accepted
the responsibility,

and she's trying
to make amends.

A few days,

and she is going to be the
Mary you always knew.

But what about
the examination?

If you forget
this punishment,

all your girls
could expect you

to forget
the next one

and the next one
after that.

That's true.

Family discipline

Well, it's based
on promises kept

for punishment
or reward.

Without constancy, a child
has no rules to live by.

Nor do we.

Thank you.

Come on, Mary.
Hurry up.

Otherwise we won't
have any time to play

the bell rings.

I don't feel
like playing.

Do you want
some candy?


Well, I still haven't
paid you back

the half of a Christmas
penny I owe you.

Ah, you don't
have to.

Well, licorice always
makes you feel better.

All right.

Well, good
morning, girls.

What can I do
for you?

Hi, Mr. Oleson.

We'd like a whole penny's
worth of licorice, please.

My, my.

A whole penny... it sounds
like a real celebration.

Mr. Oleson?


That sign...
"help wanted"?


What kind of help
did you have in mind?

Oh, just somebody to help around
here keeping things neat,

keeping an eye
on the place

when I'm
in the storeroom.

See, Nellie can't help
out for a few weeks.

She's studying for that
special examination.

I'm a good worker,

and I add
better than most.

I don't know whether your ma
and pa would like that idea.

I'll ask ma. I'm sure
it will be all right.

It would mean every
day after school

and all day
on Saturday.

That's fine.

Well, I'll
tell you what.

You ask your ma,
and if she says yes,

you can start

Thank you.

Well, there's
your licorice...

A whole
penny's worth!

And here's
your penny.

Thank you.

Come on, Laura.

Oh, Mr. Oleson?


How much do I get?

50 cents a week.

Thank you.

Mr. Oleson?

Yes, Mary?

How much is
a history book?

Well, that all
depends on the book.

A Thompson
American history.

About a dollar.

Thank you.

Why, Mary. I thought
you'd be out at recess.

I was just looking
at the book.

Yes. It'll be a nice
prize for somebody.

Yes, ma'am.

Miss beadle?

Yes, Mary?

I think I'll
go out and play.

Laura: Guess it's
none of my business.

What isn't?

What I'm thinking

What are you
thinking about?

You didn't do
what ma told you to do.

You didn't tell
miss beadle

that you couldn't be
in the awards contest.

You know
why I didn't.

I know. Because you'd
have to give back a book

you didn't have
to give back.

I'll have it as soon as I
earn the money to buy it,

and that's before
the award contest.

The day before.


Then are you going to
tell her what ma said?

a long time away.

But what if ma
asks you?

Asks me what?

If you told miss beadle
what you were supposed to.

Maybe ma won't ask.

That's a big maybe.

Remember, pa always says,
"never cross your Bridges

until you get
to them."

Well, that's what
I'm going to do.

I'm going to wait
for my Bridges.

Laura: Hi, Jack!

Hi, ma.

Hello. Ooh!
Close the door.

Yes, ma'am.

I'm going out
to play.

What about
your chores?

I'll do them.

Hi, Mary.

Hi, ma.

How was school

Oh, same as always.

And, ma?


Mr. Oleson had
a sign in his store

that said "help wanted."


I asked him about it.


He said
I could have the job

if you said
it was all right.

Do you think
you can do all that

and keep up
your chores, too?

Oh, yes, ma.
I can do it.

All right,

as long as you keep your
marks up at school.

Oh, thank you, ma.

Well, I guess I better
get to my chores.

There you are,
Mrs. Foster.

Should I put that
on your account?

Certainly. Say hello
to your mother for me.

I will. Good-bye.


Working hard?

Doing just fine.

You should look nicer when
you come to work in a store.

Maybe your mother would let
you wear your Sunday dress.

My Sunday dress
is for church.

Well, you don't get paid
for going to church.

And I don't worship in
oleson's mercantile.

Oh, hello, miss beadle.

Oh, hello, Nellie.
Why, Mary.

Miss beadle.

Are you
working here now?

Yes, ma'am.

I can't work until
after the examination.

Mother won't let me.
She wants me to study.

Well, that's fine,

Mary, I need a pound
of white sugar.

Yes, ma'am.

Miss beadle?

Yes, Nellie?

We have every reference
book you listed

right here
in the store,

and I'm going to read
every one of them.

You're a very
lucky girl, Nellie.

I wish all my students had
the same opportunity.

All they have to do
is buy the books.

Nellie, I think
you better get started.

Yes, miss beadle.

It'll be
just a minute.

I'm new at this.

That's all right.
Take your time.

How's your studying

Fine. Just fine.


You've taken on quite
a lot, working here,

with your regular studies
and the examination.

I can manage.

When do you find time
to study?

Here you are.
That's 4 cents.

Mary, you didn't
answer my question.

When do you find time to
study for the examination?

You have
a very good chance.

I have a lot
of free time here,

and I can read all the
books in the store

when I'm not busy.

Oh, I see.
Very good. Very good.

Well, I'll see you
in school tomorrow.

Uh, miss beadle.


The sugar. 4 cents?

Oh. I'm sorry.

I hope my students have a
better memory than I have.

Here you are.

Thank you.

Keep studying.

I will.


Just forgot what
time it was, ma.

I didn't
mean to.

I didn't want you
to think

that I'd worked her
that late.

I didn't think so,
Mr. Oleson.

I was worried, Mary.

Thank you for
bringing her home.

I expect supper
is on the table.

Yes, it is.

Your daughter's
a good worker.

She's a good reader, too.

That's what she was
doing when I locked up

and didn't notice
she was there.

I better go eat.

Uh, thank you,
Mr. Oleson.

I don't want to
keep you,

but reverend Alden said
that he ran into Charles

and Mr. Edwards
up near new ulm.

Yes. He told me.
Thank you.

And thanks
for bringing her home.

Oh, you're welcome.

Come on.

What are you doing,

My homework.

I thought you said you did
it at oleson's mercantile.

I know what I said.

I... but...

Miss beadle
came in today,

and I wanted
to tell her

I couldn't take
the examination,

but... but
I just couldn't.

She wants me
to take it.

She said I have a
good chance to win.

But ma said
you couldn't.

I know,

but I can't disappoint
miss beadle.

She's sure I'm going
to take the test.

If I take it
and win,

I think ma will
be so proud,

she won't be angry.

I'm not so sure.

Well, there's nothing
else I can do.

But what if you don't
win and ma finds out?

I'll just
have to win.

I'll just have to.

Mary: Bye!

Laura: Bye, Mary!

Mr. Oleson: 3 weeks'
work at 50 cents a week.

That's one dollar,
25, and 50 cents.

And my thanks
for a job well done.

Thank you, sir.

I'd like to buy the Thompson
American history book.

It was a dollar,
wasn't it?

Yes. That's right.

25, 50, one dollar.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Don't you want it
in a bag?

No, sir. I'll just
carry it this way.

Good-bye, Mr. Oleson.

Good-bye, Mary.

Now, before you're

I want to remind you all
that tomorrow is test day.

It will also be
a regular school day,

so I'm going to ask
all the students

who are not taking
the examination

to remain an extra hour
at recess

while the exam
is being taken.

All right. I'll see
you all tomorrow,

and class is dismissed.

Well, come on, Mary.
Hurry up.

You go ahead.

I want to talk
to miss beadle.

Well, Mary, tomorrow's
the big day, huh?

Yes, ma'am.

Here's the book
I borrowed.

Thank you very much.

You're welcome.

I hope it was
of some use.

It was.
Thank you, ma'am.

Mary, have you been
working too hard

getting ready
for this test?

No, ma'am.

I think you have,

and I think you're nervous
and upset worrying about it.

Does your tummy

Miss beadle...

This is different.

Of course
it's different.

It's different
with everyone.

I used to throw up.
Honestly, I did.

I was that nervous
and upset.

Well, you haven't
done that, have you?

No, ma'am.

Mary, why don't you
just scoot on home

and forget about the
test till tomorrow?

All right?

Yes, miss beadle.

50 cents?

Mary, do you know
where this came from?

It's the money
I earned.

I thought if pa had to buy
anything to fix the barn...

Well, I'm sure that
he'll thank you,

but 50 cents
for 3 weeks' work?

I didn't have to work
very hard.

I learned a lot.

But all those hours.

I didn't mind.
It was kind of fun.

Well, I better
get the milking done.

Oh, good morning,
Mrs. Ingalls.

Good morning,
Mr. Oleson.

Two dozen today.

Oh, I can use them.

Do you want me to mark
it in the ledger,

or would you rather
have cash money?

Cash money, please.

Oh, I'm
going to miss

that daughter of
yours around here.

I expect so.

It must be difficult
to find help

for 50 cents
for 3 weeks.

50 cents a week,
you mean,

and a bargain.

She's quite
a worker.

You must be very proud of her, Mrs.

There aren't
many young folks

who would spend
their own money

to buy
a history book.

I know neither one
of mine would.

A history book?

I was surprised
that she bought it.

She read every Thompson
study book in the store.

Well, can I
get you anything?

Oh, yes.
Thank you, Mr. Oleson.

Um, I need some pepper

and, uh, two spools
of white thread

and, um,
some vanilla beans.

Well, it's examination
time... Finally.

Today is the day we find
out who wins our prize.

Now, all the children
who are not taking the test

are going to have
a long recess.

Now, I want you to play
quietly, and don't go away,

because we have a lot of work
to be done after the test.

All right.
You may go.

Now, quietly.

Aren't you
coming, Mary?

Now, I want you to leave
these papers facedown

until I return
to my desk.

That way, you can all
start at the same time.


Hi, ma.

Where's Mary?

She's inside.


Never mind.

The tests have
all been graded,

but before announcing
the winner,

I want you to know
that I'm proud

of each and every
one of you.

But there can only
be one winner,

and the winner is
Arnold lundstrom.

Arnold, would you
come up here, please?

On behalf
of the school board,

I'd like to present you
with the annual award.


Thank you.


Laura, please stay
after school.

I'd like
to speak to you.

Yes, ma'am.

Miss beadle:
Whoa, pat. Whoa.

Ma: Miss beadle,

it's very nice of you
to bring Laura home.

Is something wrong?

Where's Mary?

I thought
she'd be here.

I came out because I
wanted to show you this.

It's not the kind
of examination paper

most parents
would enjoy,

but in this case,

I think it's exactly
what you wanted to see.

She wrote me that note

saying she wasn't going
to take the examination

and why,

and she didn't take it.

I see.

I really must be
getting back now.

Thank you. Thank you
for bringing this to me.

You're welcome.

Laura, would you take this
water in and watch Carrie?

I've got to go
find Mary.

Keep this for me.

Oh, Mary!


I didn't, ma.

I didn't take
the examination.

I know, I know.
Miss beadle stopped by.

I told you
a lie, ma.

I know. I made a lot
of mistakes, too, Mary.

I never should have
been so harsh with you.

I'm sorry it's been
so hard on you.

I didn't mind,
really, honest.


It's all over now.

I am sorry.

I'm sorry, too.

Come on.
Let's go home.