Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 18 - Plague - full transcript

With the sudden intensity of a prairie storm, typhoid is unleashed on an unsuspecting Walnut Grove, teaming Charles with Doc Baker and Reverend Alden, who work together to the point of exhaustion tending to the community's sick and dying; but when new victims begin to pour in from the surrounding countryside the desperate men know they must find the source of the plague if they expect to stop the deadly epidemic.

Well, there's your receipt
and 25 cents change.

Thank you kindly.

Well, my cornmeal
is here to sell.

I know.

You could make a lot more on
it, though, if you wanted to.

There's not a poor family in these
parts that's not in your debt.

We could never afford
hanson's prices.

Well, now,
don't blame hanson.

I was just lucky and made a
good deal on this cornmeal.

It's no more than right
folks should benefit.

We appreciate it.

Thanks again. You'll be
in my family's prayers.



Did you see that?

What's that?

Boulton just went up the street
with a load of cornmeal.

The last 3 days, everybody's
been going up the street

with a load
of cornmeal.

I don't know how
Peterson does it.

Going to have to
lower your prices.

Well, Charles knows
I can't do that.

I'm just
breaking even now.

That's the truth.

Well, I just have to hope
that he runs out.

Will you have
that order ready today?

Right after lunch.


I sure would like to know where
he got cornmeal at that price.

Cornmeal thing sure
bothering him, isn't it?

I can't blame him.

He's got a lot of flour to
sell, including some of mine.

Well, I hate to say it.

Friend or no,

I'm going to have to get me a
couple of sacks over at Peterson's.

Yeah, I don't blame you.

It's all good when the bread
comes out of the oven.

Let's get back to work.

Supper's ready!


I let you catch me!

Yeah? Well, you're getting too
fast for me, you little pumpkin.

Mmm! That smells good.

Two loaves for one supper?

Two loaves, Paul.

And not because
it's a special day, either.

We can have two loaves
whenever we want,

ain't that right, sylvie?

Thanks to
Mr. Peterson.

Well, come on.
Sit down.

It'll get cold.

We thank you, o lord,
for blessing us this day

with the food
which we are about to eat,

and thank you for bringing
Mr. Peterson to our town.

Bless him and keep him
from harm.


- Amen.
- Amen.

You sure you won't
have some more?

I couldn't eat
another bite.

Half-pint, I want you
to finish that meat.

But it hurts
when I chew.

What hurts?

My tooth in the way back.

Open up. Let me see.

Wide. Wide. Let me see.

Which one?

This one here?


It's not loose.

But it hurts.

Well, it could be
a bad tooth.

I'll take you in to see
doc Baker tomorrow.

just drink your milk.

Laura, that's what comes of snitching
sugar out of the cupboard.

Sweets are the worst thing
in the world for your teeth.

Candy's sweet,
isn't it?

Yes, and very much of it
is very bad for your teeth.

Well, Nellie and Willie
eat candy all the time...

Even for lunch

And their teeth
are fine.

I know Willie's are.
He bit me once.

Charles: He bit you?


Well, if he does it again,
I want you to cuff him good.


I don't like that.

I'll not have any biting.
He needs a lesson.

Your father's right.

If he bites you again,
cuff him good.

I already did!

I'm through.

And as for your teeth and
eating candy, you wait and see.

Nellie and Willie are going to
have bad ones in a few years.

You can fetch some water
for the dishes.

Yes, pa.

I told Nellie her teeth
would fall out.

She didn't care.

She'd just buy teeth
like her mother has.

I didn't know Mrs. Oleson
had store-boughten teeth.

Well, how could you tell?
She never smiles.



Mm. Good.


Going to have
to pull it?

Well, that all depends.

It's a first tooth, so
It'll fall out eventually,

but if it hurts real bad,
it might be infected.

So it should come out.

I can hardly
feel it.


I guess you
better pull it.

Whatever you say.

But I'm scared.

So am I.

I never know when my patients are
going to bite one of my fingers off.


Dr. Baker:
Back here!

Charles: Boulton.

Sorry to bother you.

Nonsense. I'm only in the
middle of major surgery.

What is it?

It's about my boy.
He's down with a fever.

He's had it
a couple of days now.

Well, can't you
bring him in?

Well, I was hoping
you could come out.

He's so weak
from the fever,

I hate to bundle him up
and take him.

All right.

All right, boulton. I'll be
out this afternoon, hmm?

Thank you, doctor.

I'll see you then.

Charles: Hope he's
feeling better.

Thank you.

Well, don't look so sad.

You can put your tooth
under your pillow tonight,

and the tooth fairy might
just leave you a penny.

Now what do you say
about that?

I'd just as soon
not have a penny.

Oh, thank you, doctor,
for coming out.

He's in the back here.

Well, Paul, you really must be feeling
bad, staying in bed on Saturday.

Yes, sir.

He's really burning up,

Let me take a look.

How long has
he had the fever?

4 or 5 days.

Wasn't bad at first.
I thought lt'd pass.

How do you feel, Paul?

Not so good.

Yeah, well, I know that.

I mean you got
any aches or pains?

I feel kind of sore.


All over, kind of,
and my head hurts.

Now put this
under your tongue

and purse your lips around it
like you was sipping cider.

How high is
my temperature?

Oh, doctors never
give out information.

Why not?

because if they did,

the patients would end up
knowing everything,

and we'd be out of a job.

Eric, uh, I want you to go
into town, pick up some ice.

I want to get
the boy's fever down.

What is it, doctor?

I can't be sure... Yet.

He's got a pretty
good fever going,

but I've seen fevers like this
come and go like nothing,

so there's no use

Now go get that ice.

Sylvie, I want you
to get some rags.

I want to try to cool him
with some alcohol.



Did it hurt bad when he
pulled out your tooth?


What do you have your
hand in your mouth for?

Mmm cmmmmtng.

You're what?

I'm counting.

What are you

Teeth. I have
25 teeth.

Why do you care how
many teeth you have?

Well, they call come out,
I'd have 25 cents.

Counting the one
under my pillow,

I'd have 26 cents.

Then I could buy all the candy
in oelson's mercantile.

What good would
it do you?

You couldn't chew it
without teeth!

You know,
you're right.


Good night.

You ever see so much
ice in your life, huh?

Well, you can...

You can make believe
you're an eskimo up north

and think
about polar bears

and things like that.

You're gonna be fine,
just fine.

There we go.

You got your own
little igloo now.

Boulton: Doctor!

I'll be with the boy.

♪ Bringing in the sheaves ♪

♪ We shall come rejoicing ♪

♪ Bringing in the sheaves ♪

♪ Bringing in the sheaves ♪

♪ Bringing in the sheaves ♪

♪ We shall come rejoicing ♪

♪ Bringing in the sheaves ♪

That concludes the service
for this Sunday,

but before you go,
I'd like to add one thought.

Let's try to hold on to that feeling
of love throughout the week,

not just on Sunday.

Dr. Baker: Reverend?

I'm sorry to interrupt
like this, reverend.

I've just come from
the boulton place.

Sylvie boulton died
early this morning.

I'm not sure what it is yet.

The boy's sick with it, too.

But until I know for sure,

I want everyone to stay
at their own place.

Well, what do you
think it is, doctor?

I'm not positive,

but I think it's typhus.

Oh, no.

I wish I could
go hunting, pa.

Well, just 'cause there's
no regular school,

that doesn't mean it's time
to stop learning, you know.

I know.

God willing,
it won't be for too long.

How do you
get typhus, pa?

You get it from fleas.

Jack has fleas

No, it's not that kind.

These fleas come from rats,

Caroline, I'm off.

I'll walk you out.

All right.

Good luck.

Bye, pa.


That wind's coming up.


I didn't want to say
anything in front of Carrie.

What's the matter?

Well, I was reading her
a story last night,

and, uh, it was about
a rabbit,

and, um... Well,
she started to cry,

and she said that
she loves rabbits

and she doesn't think
we ought to eat them.

Ha ha ha!

All right. If that's all I can
get, I'll keep it a secret.

I love you.

Better get inside.
It's getting cold.






Dr. Baker.

My wife.

Dr. Baker: Ingalls?

Hello, doctor.

Mrs. Ingalls.

How's the boulton boy?

Well, he's holding
his own.

I've been going
from farm to farm checking.

So far, so good.

Everyone here is fine.

Charles is just
out hunting.

Well, give him my best.

I'll drop by
in a couple of days.

Thank you, doctor.


I came across them
while I was hunting.

Pretty bad.



My wife.

She's going to be fine.

Just fine.

I didn't want
to move her.

And then when...

When I got sick,
I got afraid.

I was afraid nobody
would find us.

You did right, Carl.

You did right.

I've been checking as
many farms as I could.

But the area is just
too large, and it...

Oh. A rash.

There's no doubt
about it now.

It's typhus.

There'll be more now.

There's no way
to tell how many.

I'll need your help,


We'll make the church
into a hospital.

We'll need as many sheets and
blankets as oelson's got

and a key
to the icehouse.

Do you know who the
reverend's staying with?

Yeah. I think he's out
at Amy Hearn's.

Well, you might
drop out there

and tell him we'll
be using the church.



You'll want to tell your
wife where you'll be.

Don't go near her
or the girls.

You're exposed now,
same as me.

I'm sorry.

When you get back,

we'll move
the Harpers.




I'll be right down,

No, no. Stay there.

It's typhus, nels.

I've been exposed
to it.

Doc needs sheets
and blankets.

He's gonna make a hospital
out of the church.

You're welcome to anything
I've got in the storeroom.

I don't want to go
into your place.

Take everything you can
over to the church

and just leave
it there.

I'll do it
right away.

Thank you.

What'd you get, pa?

Stay there!

What's the matter?

Your ma in the house?


Go inside and get her.

Ok, pa.

Charles, what's wrong?

The Harpers are sick.

Came across them
near Willow lake.

I took them in
to the doc.

They've got typhus.

Oh, my god, no.

I'm not going to be able
to come home for a while.

Can't take a chance.

I'll stay in town
and help the doc.

You girls mind your ma.

Yes, pa.

Keep up with your studies.

We will, pa.

Take care of yourself.

I'll be all right.

bring in some wood.

Yes, ma.

Reverend, what...

I told him
not to come.

He wouldn't listen.

It's a fool thing
to do.

Then I'm
in good company, doctor.

We'll get the Harpers
over to the church.

Reverend, would you get
that shade, please?

Charles: Easy.


I'd like you
to take the wagon.

Go out to
the boulton place.

Bring the boulton
boy back here.

And you might start making
the rounds of the farms.

Let them know about
the hospital.


Reverend, we'll need
some large kettles

to boil the sheets
and blankets.

Oleson will have them,

but tell him to leave
them outside the church.

All right.


Ask oleson to, uh,
bring some shovels.

We'll have to bury
the dead right away.



Good day to you,

Too nice a day to spend
inside a schoolhouse.

I didn't have the heart to
send this little pumpkin...

To school on a day
like this.

I remember
when I was a boy...

Days like this...

Were for fishing.

Or sleeping,

god's clean air.

Well, I surely didn't want to
go to school on days like this.

Did you?

No, I guess I didn't.

If you see miss beadle...

Tell her my son and I are
spending the day together.

You'll tell her that?




P-Paul is sleeping.

Days like this were made
for sleeping.

And you tell miss beadle
my son...

My son won't be
in school today.

I'll tell her.


Hey, Ingalls.
Hey, come on in.

I'm making some fine stew
and corn Dodgers.

Stay where you are.

What's the matter?

I've been with
the typhus.

And the missis?
Little ones?

No, they're fine.

I'm staying in town
with the doc,

gmng him a hand
till it's over.

I'll come along.
Give you a hand.

We don't need any help.

Look, I'm too ornery
to get sick. You know that.

I know. I'd just
feel a lot safer

if I knew my best friend was
around to lend a hand...

Just in case.

Man, ain't nothin'
gonna happen to you.

Just in case.

All right.
I understand.

I better be going. I got
a lot of stops to make.

I wish you'd stay
and have some stew.

I'll make them corn Dodgers
as big as cannonballs.

Just as heavy,
too, I bet.

Take care of yourself.

It's Tom Carter.

Makes 11.

Charles, you've been at
it 3 days without sleep.

Get some rest.

I'll be all right,

I'll take him.


When's it going to stop?

There's no way
of telling.

I thought by keeping everyone
apart, we'd have a chance,


I just don't know.

We have people in
there from all over.

Family from here,
a family from there,

and it's spreading.
I don't know why.

If we could only
find the source.

The source.

Are you all right,


Come on.
I'll give you a hand.

Laura: A week went by.

Pa came to see us
every few days.

He looked tired,
and we knew ma was worried.

But she always smiled
and pretended that she wasn't.

Eat your supper,

Yes, ma'am.

You, too, Mary.

I can't.

What do you mean
you can't?

Pa said
he'd be by today.

Why didn't he come?

Your father will come
when he can, Mary.

But he said
he'd come.

Charles: Caroline?

You eating

Yes. We were
just about finished.

You want something?

Yeah, I'd like a little
salt-rising bread.

I'll get it, pa.

When can you
come home, pa?

Real soon, Mary.

Real soon.

It's still hot, pa.

You girls get inside
and finish your supper.

I don't want you all
skinny when I get home.

Laura and Mary:
Yes, pa.

You look so tired.

I am.

I buried
another one today.

It was nobody we knew.

Just a little old man
living by himself.

Didn't even know
his name.

I couldn't put it
on the cross.

You must have faith.

You look beautiful.

You know, standing
out here like this,

I feel like I'm
courting you again.

Ha ha ha!

If you were, my ma and pa would
be standing in the doorway.

Your pa did keep an eye
on me, didn't he?

Ha ha ha!

I sure would like to see
your folks again someday.

I got to go.

See you
day after tomorrow.

Any more today?

3. I'm getting
more ice.

I don't know what we're going
to do to hold the fever down

when the ice is gone.

I'll get it for you.

There you go, doc.

Thank you, Ingalls.

I'll go get you
some more.

He rode in
this afternoon.

Charles: Doc?

Just take it easy
rest easy.

I'm all right.

I know you're all right.
Just rest.

If we could only
find the source.

How you gonna
find it?

It's coming
from everywhere.

I don't understand it.

They live so far apart.

There couldn't have
been any contact.

We don't find the source,

be no way to stop it,
no way.

If you want,
I'll take the ice.

I can make it.

I know you can
make it.

I'll still get
the ice.

Thank you.

Reverend: Doctor?

Mr. Ingalls?


My ma and pa
all right?

They're fine.

I was out to see them
this morning.

They wanted to send you
a whole mess of cornbread,

but I told them it
would be a little while

before you got
your appetite back.

"Feed a cold, starve
a fever," ma says.

Your ma's right.

I wonder if
I'm going to die.

You're going to be
just fine.

I'm not scared.

I know I'll go
to heaven,

especially when
you die in church.

No more talk of dying,
all right?

You just get some sleep.

All right.

Well, nurse,
what do you think?

Well, your fever's
down a little bit.

It ought to be.
You near froze me solid.

Half-pint and the others...
They still all right?

They're fine.


How you feeling?

Well, you can't kill
a grizzly bear.

If those corn Dodgers of
yours don't kill you,

I guess nothing will.

You're just saying that 'cause
I used Peterson's cornmeal

instead of your flour.


You bought that
cornmeal at Peterson's?


Two sacks
for the price of one.

Get some rest, huh?

Doc? I think I got it.


Peterson's. The cornmeal
at Peterson's.

Edwards bought some. I know
Leslie's parents had some,

and I saw a sack of it
at boulton's.

It's locked!




The keys to the shed.

The keys!

I got them.

All this time,
it's a hundred yards away.

We'll get Peterson
to the church,

burn this place
to the ground.

Laura, voice-over:
It was over, pa said.

He would stay in town and help Dr.
Baker until the danger passed.

We counted the days
till he would come home.

Well, reverend,
that church of yours

will smell like rotten eggs
for a couple of days,

but the sulfur
will make it safe.

Well, we'll not soon
forget these last weeks.

Sometimes it's difficult
to understand

why god allows things
like this to happen.

But somehow
when it's all over,

instead of being
weakened by it,

we find we're made

God bless you,


Are you sure you boiled those
clothes out real good?

Boiled them? They're so clean,
they're downright uncomfortable.

Doc, why don't you go to sleep
for about two weeks, huh?

I just might
do that, Ingalls.

Thank you
for everything.

Thank you.

Caroline's got
a special supper going.

How about joining us?

Oh, well,
thank you kindly,

but you know homecomings are
kind of just for family.

Edwards, when are you going
to learn you are family, huh?

Come on.