Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 19 - Circus Man - full transcript

Jovial Willie O'Hara, a traveling, patent-medicine salesman, comes to Walnut Grove with his talking crow and chimpanzee "circus", appears to immediately cure Mr. Hanson's incurable headache...

What was that?

Man: Hold on!

Hold on, friend.

Oh, no cause
for alarm.

The enemy has fled. The
situation is well in hand.

Who are you?

William O'Hara's
the name.

What are you doing here?

Just trying to be
a good neighbor, friend.

Trying to be
of service.

Caroline: Charles,
what is it?

It's all right, Caroline.
Get back in the house.

So sorry, ma'am.

Hope I didn't scare ya.

Why the shooting?

Well, now, I was coming down
the road yonder with my wagon,

looking for a place
to camp for the night,

when out of the corner of me eye, I
see a bobcat creeping in your yard.

"Aha!" thinks me.

"I could do the man
who lives here a favor."

So I caught up my gun
and went after the furry thief,

but, alas, me aim was nowhere
as good as me intention.

Well, I thank you
for trying, Mr. O'Hara.

Oh, I'd be pleased
if you'd call me "will"

or "Willie," as you
please, as it suits ya.

I'm the circus man.

Sole owner and proprietor of the
O'Hara circus and menagerie.

Not the largest exhibition, but
one of the highest quality.

Well, it's getting late now, and I must
still find a place to stay for the night.

Hope I didn't scare ya,

and I certainly hope
I was of service.

Uh, wait a minute.

You're welcome to stay
the night here if you'd like.

You can put your mules in the corral.
Plenty of feed and water.

You can pull your wagon up
right by the barn.

Oh, now, that's
very kind of you.

If you're sure I won't be in
the way, I'd be much obliged.

It's the least I can do.

Good night.

Will: I didn't
get your name, sir.

Charles Ingalls.

Oh, that's a fine name.
A fine name.

Thank you, sir.
Thank you.

Good night.

Laura: Isn't
that pretty?

Just grand.

Voice: Hello.


Did you
hear that?

That bird
is talking.

Well, well, well.

What have we here now?

Two pixies.

Sure as I'm alive.

Well, well, well.


Oh, now.

I was sure I'd find
two pixie wings

fixed to
your shoulders.

We're not pixies,
we're girls!

No such thing
as pixies.

What's this you're saying?
No pixies?

No little people? No leprechauns?
No trolls?

Will: No unicorns?

Farewell. Farewell.

Hey, mind your
manners now, Mr. Poe.

These two
are honored guests.

Mr. Poe: Come one, come all.
See the circus.

Ladies, would you mind
stepping this way, please?


From darkest Africa...

From the Congo.

Aye, king of the apes.

Master of the jungle.

He's not nearly
as big as...

O'Hara: As his picture, eh?

Yeah, well, that's a bit
of a story, you know.

He wouldn't believe me, but when I
told him about the witch doctor.

That's right.

He chased him
way up a tree,

way up a tree out on the skinniest
branch at the very top.

So high, indeed,
it was brushing the sky.

Ah. I don't know what
that witch doctor did.

I wasn't high enough to watch, but you can
see with your own eyes what happened.

That was the size of congrilla
when he came down from that tree.

Mr. Poe: Time to go.
Time to go.

I think the bird's right.

Go on. Hurry up.
You'll be late for school.

Thank you, sir.
Thank you, sir.

We'll hurry, pa.


I never heard
of such a thing.

He was just teasing.

Well, he's got a bird that talks,
and I never heard of that, either.

Pa: I told you to hurry.
Go on, now.

Pa: That sign
kind of fools you,

with that congrilla
and all.

Oh, yes.


Mr. O'Hara,

I'd like you
to meet my wife.

Caroline, this
is Mr. O'Hara.

Mr. O'Hara, my wife
Caroline Ingalls.

to meet you.

Aye, the pleasure is
mine, Mrs. Ingalls.

Pa: Mr. O'Hara was
just telling the girls

quite a story about
that ferocious beast

he's got in the wagon.


Oh, now,
Mrs. Ingalls,

that's certainly
not enough eggs

for so many chickens.

Do you mind if
I have a look?

No. Please do.

Thank you.


Sly biddies hiding them. Ha ha!

Hey, now, there's
another one.

Ha ha!

Oh, Mrs. Ingalls,
would you mind

looking down your
apron pocket?

I think you
forgot one.

Now, how do you
do it?

How in the world
does he do it?

I don't know,

but I think we can
get rid of the chickens.


Yes, sir?

Uh, olafson wants another
1,000 boards for the siding.

All right. I can get to it right
soon as I finish the holcum order.


Good morning.

Good morning, doc.

Morning, doctor.

Ingalls, what's this I hear
about a circus at your place?

Ah, it's kind of
a little one.

Just one man, a raven,
and a congrilla.

A what?

A congrilla. You got to
see it to believe it, doc.

Hanson, when are you gonna come in
and let me treat that headache?

I took the pills,
and they don't work!

I wanted to give him an
examination... a thorough examination.

Inside my head?

A pain's not a disease.
It's a symptom.

Your body is telling you there's
something wrong somewhere.

I want to find it.

Aw, a headache
is a headache.

You either can cure it
or you can't cure it.

Let it alone, go to
bed, forget about it.

That is a stubborn man.

O'Hara: Thief!
Robber! Robber!

What's going on?

I don't know,
but I'll find out.

What happened?

A thief.


How bad is it?

Oh, I think the scoundrel
cracked a couple of my ribs.

Let me get you in the
house, take a look at you.

Easy does it.



There. That
too tight?

No, no. This is fine.

You're sure?

That ought to hold the
ribs a little bit.

It was right where you said
it would be, Mr. O'Hara.

Oh, thanks be.

That dirty blackguard didn't
get it the last time or this.


Me treasure.

And I know you good people are
wondering what treasure I could have

a man would try
so desperately to steal

this night
and many nights before.

I speak the truth now?
Tell me.

My treasure
is the secret of shamin.

You ask what that is?

A powder with
the almost magical ability

to heal the illness
of man and beast alike.

Would you be fetching me
a glass of water, Princess?

Watch closely now.

'Tis a sight you'll not
likely see in a lifetime.

Oh, thank you, lass.

Would you be believing
my age to be 95?

Laura: 95?

The secret of shamin
is responsible for this.

But most important...

Mr. Ingalls,

how long would you say
broken ribs take to heal?

Weeks, a month,
maybe more.

What your father says is true, but they
reckons not with the secret of shamin.

Aye, pleasant in the palate,

beneficial to the body.

You wait and see.
Just wait and see.

My broken ribs will
be healed in a day or so.

Now, I've let you both see this,
but it must remain secret.

I wouldn't tell a soul.

colored tongue, fatigue,

spots before the eyes,
obesity, thin blood."

Well, it's good for so
many things, Mr. Hanson,

but where does it say anything
about money back guarantee?

Right there in front of your
eyes where you know it is.


Well, maybe it doesn't
mean what it says, but...

Well, are you sure that this
remedy hasn't... hasn't worked?

I mean, you've only
used half a bottle.

Right now inside my head

there are 10,000 Norwegians
pounding with sledgehammers.

Laura: I bet Mr. O'Hara
could help you.

This, uh,
Mr. O'Hara...

What does he know
about headaches?

Well, he's got secret powders from
India that can cure everyone.

They can even heal broken
ribs in just a couple of days

instead of a whole month
like pa says.

Mr. O'Hara has something
that cures broken bones?

Yeah, and it
makes people live

a long, long time, too.

Secret powders?

From India.

Oh, nonsense.
Secret powders.

That's just rubbish.

Now, listen, we have all the
remedies on our shelves

that anyone
could ask for.

Now, Mr. Hanson, it
seems to me that...

Mr. Hanson?


I think it's working.

I don't feel
so bad anyhow.

Excuse me.

Ah! Ha ha.

Ja, I'm better.

What do I owe you?

Not a cent.

The secret of shamin
is not for sale.

I give it to those in need.

Doggone it, hanson.

You only think
that remedy is helping you.

Now, no remedy can perform that kind
of a miracle. It's all in your head.

In my head? Ja!

Whenever I have a headache,
it's in my head,

but right now there ain't
no headache in my head.

The condition that caused your headache
hasn't been cured by any magical powders.

It isn't possible.

Let me tell you something.

You gave me possible pills.

They didn't work, but Mr. O'Hara
gave me impossible secret powders,

and you know what?
They worked!

It's a coincidence.

What do I care

My headache is gone!

I don't like it,

I don't like it.

Now, word of O'Hara's
secret powders gets out,

why, he'll sell them
by the bushel.

Come on.

And you know and I know that
the stuff is worthless.

I hope you know.

Sure, I know it.

I just think you're getting
yourself upset over nothing.

What do you
mean nothing?

Look, the olesons got
shelves and shelves

of that phony medicine
in their store,

and you never complained
about them selling that.

Well, it's because they don't
sell enough of it to matter.

Maybe one, two
bottles a month.

But this O'Hara
and his

mumbo-jumbo secret of
shimmy-shammy, whatever.

It's enough to attract
people like bees to honey.

He'll sell a ton
of his powders.

Doc, he doesn't sell it,
he gives it away.

Only at first, Ingalls.
Only at first

till he creates a demand,

and then he'll have
the people standing in line

waiting to buy while
the price goes up

and up and up.

You mark my words.

Hey, the top of
the morning to you, ma'am,

and a fine day it is.
Ha ha!

Good morning.

May I help you,

Oh, yes, ma'am.
I'll take 6 of those

peppermint stick candies if
you don't mind, thank you.

More flavoring for your
cure-all powder, no doubt, mm?

Well, it goes
to show you.

Already the word
is out.

And Mr. Hanson promised

that he'd not say
one word.

Mm. Taking business
from honest merchants

who have honest medicine
on their shelves.

Oh, it's not
my intent

to compete with you
or anyone.

Oh, no.
Oh, I'll take

3 yards of that very fine
hair ribbon, please.

Oh, yes, ooh,

that's beautiful,

You sold your powder
to Mr. Hanson,

and what would that be
if not competing?

Oh, just a small
favor for a hurting man

who told me he's tried

every medicine you had
to offer him.

Got no relief at all.

We don't care
for scallywags

in walnut grove,
and we just chase them

right out of town.

I favor that.

We had heard... that is,
I had heard

that you had
broken ribs.

How could you possibly
lift that?

You heard
the truth.

But that was
a couple of days ago

and just a few
pinches of the powder,

as good as new.

Oh! Well, I wouldn't
have believed

if I hadn't seen it
with my own eyes.

Mrs. Oleson, are you
feeling a bit of pain?

Well, certainly not.

Well... yes.

I do have this pain
in my side that...

it's quite bad at times.

Oh, 'tis sorry I am.

None of our medicines... uh, that is, Dr.
Baker can't do anything to help.

I wonder if
your, uh, powder...

I... I'd be willing
to pay.

No pay asked or wanted.

Hey, doc,
what's your hurry?

It's like
I been telling you.

A useless remedy is as dangerous
as a loaded gun.

Take it easy, doc.
What's this all about?

Dr. Baker: Mrs. Oleson
has appendicitis.

It needs immediate surgery.
She refuses it.

She wants O'Hara and his magic
nostrum instead of an operation.

Did I hear my name?

You gave Mrs. Oleson
some of your... your powders.

Aye, that I did

and a promise of
complete silence,

but the poor lady could not
wait to spread the word.

Doc: You told her they'd
make her completely well.

O'Hara: Oh, how a man's words
do get turned around.

What I said was
"the good lord willing,"

and I promised her
it would do her no harm at all.

She needs an operation.

Because of you,
she won't have it.

If she doesn't
have it, she'll die.

I want you
to come with me

and tell her your
powders are worthless.

I'll put me friend in his cage.
I'll only be a minute.

Mr. Oleson:
This way, please.

Oh, Mr. O'Hara.

Did you bring
the medicine?

Aye. I didn't have to.

All right, now.

No, no. Wait.


Drink it while
it's still alive.

It will help.

As I told you before,
the good lord willing.

And as sure as
the sun rise,

you'll hardly know you've
had the operation.

It'll be over in
the blink of an eye.

No, no. No operation.

I thought
your remedy would...

No operation?


A chance to join the
most select of circles,

to join with royalty,
and you refuse it?

You must
be joking, lady.


Of course. The good
queen Victoria herself

and the Princess elmira
of Italy.

They've both
had this operation

and great good health
because of it.

Only a small scar
will be your mark

to show that
you are one with them...

Great ladies who wear crowns and
jewels and live in castles.


May me tongue fall out if
I say the smallest lie.

I promise you this
and more.

It'll be quickly done
without the slightest pain.


She's all right.

She's going to be as good
as new thanks to Dr. Baker.

Doc, I'm glad everything
went all right.

She's fine.

I got in there
in time.


What's the matter?
You're not smiling.

She came within a whisper
of dying, Ingalls,

and we still got O'Hara
and his fake cure with us.

One of us is going to
have to talk to him.


Ah, you're home
from town early.

I've got a little bit
of good news.

Mrs. Oleson's recovering.

Doc says she'll be up
and around in about a week.

Oh. Glad I am
to hear it.

Doc told me
something else, too.

He said those magic powders
of yours

are nothing but sugar and
baking powder and effervescent.

They have no medicinal
qualities at all.

Well, harmless was
what I said they were.

Again and again
I said it.

If people thought more, it
was their own imagining.

You also said they'd cure
broken ribs in a day.

Well, I might have left that
impression, but it's blarney only.

Well, Mrs. Oleson believed, and that
believing almost cost her her life.

I meant no harm.

I guess the doctor is
spreading the word.

No, not yet.

He will. I'm sure.

We are going to
ask you to leave.

Leave I will.

And with your permission, before
the first light in the morning

so I won't have to say
good-bye to the wee ones.

I understand.

I thank you
for that.

Come on.

Up you go.


Good luck, O'Hara.


Mary: Mr. O'Hara's gone.

Well, I'm afraid so.

But he was going to teach me
some magic tricks this morning.

It's Saturday, and
I waited all week.

Well, he wanted me to
say good-bye for him,

explain to you
why he couldn't do it.

Then he left at
night in the dark.

See, that's
one of the first things

you have to learn
about circus people.

They're... they're
kind of unpredictable,

not like the rest of us.

Why not?

Well, they're just not.

It's kind of hard to explain, but, see, circus
people are always used to being on the go,

just footloose
and fancy free.

When they want to leave, they just up
and leave, whether it's day or night.

Doesn't make any difference
to them.

Just say giddyup,
and they're on their way.

You understand?

I guess so, but I wish I could
have told him good-bye.

I know.

Hey, I tell you what.

Why don't you take the eggs in town for ma.
Each one of you take a penny

and go into oleson's
and get some striped candy.

Thanks, pa.

Thank you, pa.

Can I take Jack?

I don't see why not.
It's Saturday.

Thanks, pa.

Go on.

Now, you stay here.

You wait for me, hear?

You wait for me.




Oh, Jack.

Doc Baker said he doesn't
have any bones broken.

He's got some cuts, a few scratches.
He's not bleeding anymore.

I wish Mr. O'Hara
was here.

Then he could give Jack
some of his secret powders.

He would be well
in no time.

Half-pint, Mr. O'Hara's
powders wouldn't help Jack.

But it made his
ribs all better

in just a couple
of days.

Half-pint, the powder didn't do
anything to Mr. O'Hara's ribs

because there was
nothing wrong with his ribs.

You have to understand,
he was just pretending.

He just wanted
to make people believe

that his powders had
some magical healing power.

He's just a faker.

No, he wasn't.

Your father's right,

No, he isn't.

He isn't right.

Laura: I know Mr. O'Hara
could make Jack feel better.

I'll be back
as soon as I can.

Where are you going?

To get O'Hara.

If Jack dies, she'll never forgive
me for not bringing him back.

You came back.

Oh, did you think
I wouldn't

once I heard your little
dog was needing me?

Will you just be giving
me a little of the room

and a little time
to look?

Oh, thank you, pa.
Thank you.

Thank you for bringing
Mr. O'Hara back.

Now Jack will get all better.
You'll see.

You'll need some water.

Whoa. Not for
just a minute yet.

Well, aren't you going to give
him some of your secret powder?

Well, now, I'll... I'll have to
think on that for a minute.


Just a wee bit, now,

for he's only
a small dog.

He'll get well
now, won't he?

The good lord willing.

Rest is
what he needs now.

You aren't going to leave?

Oh, no, child, no.

Just going outside
to tend to me animals.

I'll give you a hand.

You promised you'd tell her
the powders were worthless.

No, friend.

All I said was I'd
come back with you

and give what comfort I
could to the wee one.

You have to tell her.

I had it in my mind to,

but when it came time,
I couldn't do it.

Nor did I hear you
speaking up

when she was thanking you
for bringing me back.

Why not?

She's got a bit of
hope to cling to now.

Her dog will get well
or he won't...

No matter what
either of us do.

While the terrible
waiting goes on,

would you steal that
bit of hope from her?


So we wait and hope the
good lord's willing.



I told you Mr. O'Hara could
make Jack well again.

It was your powders.

It was your powders
that made Jack well again.

You can't leave now.

If you stay,

we won't ever have any sick people
or animals in walnut grove.

We won't even
need a doctor.

If somebody's feeling
just a little bit sick,

all they have to do
is go to you,

and you can give them one
of your secret powders,

and they'd be
all well again.


Say that you will.

No, child.

I didn't make Jack well.

You're teasing.

No, Laura.

Your father said
what I mostly did was tricks,

now, didn't he?

All tricks, he said.

Nothing about me is real.


Not even my name

or the way I talk.

All circus tricks.

Not the powders?

Especially the powders.

It's sugar and soda
and a bit of fizz.

And that's all they are.


Why, Mr. O'Hara?

Why do you fool
people like that?

All the roads were lonely.

I guess...

That's why I gave some few
of them the magic powders.

To have them feel
beholden to me.

To think that I was
a little better...

A little taller...

And a little wiser...

Than I really am.

Thank you.

Don't know who's
hurting the most...

The wee one or me.

But for sure
she'll get over it.

Where will you be heading?

Where the road
takes me.

The next town
or another.

If you ever happen by
this way someday...

Stop in.
We'd like to see you.

The good lord willing.