Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 1, Episode 2 - Country Girls - full transcript

Mean Nellie Oleson snubs Laura and Mary for wearing homespun dresses on their first day at school and, when Laura later complains, Caroline reminds her to be kind to Nellie to win her friendship. But Caroline forgets her own wise words, loses her temper with Nellie's haughty mother, store owner Harriet Oleson, and impulsively buys dress fabric she can barely afford. Later, Laura struggles to write an essay for the Visitors' Day program and Caroline must decide what to do with the expensive fabric. When Visitors' Day arrives, their love for each other helps both mother and daughter solve their problems.

Do you want to see?

Carrie, where do you think you're going?
Mary! Laura! Come to breakfast.

All right, Ma.
Laura, hurry up!

You heard Ma!

Don't you dare make us late for school!
Not on the very first day.

I'm not going.

It's a fine morning.
-Isn't It?

Good morning, Ma.
- Mary.

Good morning, Pa.
-Morning Mary, Did you have a good sleep?

Is Laura going to be ready?
- She says she's not going.

Do not worry.
I'll see to it.

What's the matter, Half Pint?

I don't want to go.

It's kind've of hard for me to hear you
with those covers over your heard.

I don't want to go.
I want to stay here.

And I wish you could stay.

But I made a promise to your Ma.

Told her, once we got settled,
if we were near a school, you and your sister would go.

But you need me here.

Who's gonna help you with the fish traps?
Who's gonna take care of Jack?

You're gonna have time for all that.

You wouldn't want me to break a promise
that I made to your ma', would you?

No, Pa.

That's my girl

Now you hurry up and get dressed.
Breakfast is gonna get cold.

Tell you something you don't know.
You're gonna like school.

Yes, Pa.

Let's have another look at those hands.
...That's fine.

Ooh you too Carry, spic and span

Ma, My neck hurts

Mary scrubbed so hard she likely took the skin, clean off!

You are big enough to do your
own scrubbing, only you won't!

I don't like being big.
I wish I was Carrie.

Ma, do you think they'll like us?

What kind of a foolish question is that?
Of course they're like you!

Just be friendly, and
mind your manners.

Now let me have a better look at you.
Turn around.

You girls are sprouting up so fast.
There's nothing left of those hems for me to let down.

You're fresh and clean.
You're starting school, that's the important thing.

Ma, How long is all this learning gonna take?

We start learning when we're born, Laura.

And if we are wise,
we don't stop until the lord calls us home.

That long?

Come. I have something special for you two.

My schoolbooks are yours now.
Take good care of them.

We will, Ma
- Well, time to get started.

Laura, you take the lunch-pail.
Remember to bring it home, and the cloth!

I will!

Everybody's all set for school.

No dawdlin' now.
I don't want to you be late the first day, all right

Be good girls
- We will Ma.

On your way, and have a good time!

Bye Ma!

Bye Pa!

A lot of goodbyes from somebody
who's going to be home for supper.

You hold it, young lady!
We get to hold on to you for a couple of years yet!

There they go.

Charles, They look so small.

Stop worryin'.

Come on, Laura.

Come on, you're gonna make us late.

Laura, come on!

Go ahead, Laura
Uh uh, you first!

Why me?

Because you're always bragging about being older.
It's you're place to go first.

We'll go together.

From the sound of you, we figured we'd
come into a flock of prairie chickens


Snipe yourself! Long lay your snipe!
Snipe! Snipe! Blind as a Snipe!

... Snipe! Snipe!
...Blind as a Snipe!

You stop being mean to them, or I'll tell mom on you!
- Go ahead Christie! See if I care!

Country Girls

Settle down children, settle down.

Won't you come in girls?

You must be the new girls from Plum creek, aren't you?
- Yes, Ma'am.

I'm Miss Beadle.

I'm Mary Ingalls, Ma'am.
And that's Laura.

I'm very pleased to meet you.
I'll put your name in the register, and that will make it official.

We have our own books.

They belonged to ma.

I can see she took fine care of them.

How much schooling have you girls had?

None. But I can read.

I can't, but I know the alphabet.
I thought you ought to know.

Thank you Laura.

And don't you worry, you'll learn fast.
And I'll help you every spare minute I can.

Thank you.

Children, I'd like you to welcome two new students.
This is Mary and Laura Ingalls.


Now I wouldn't call that much of a welcome.
We'd like to hear you say: "Good morning, Mary.''

Good morning, Mary.


Good morning, Laura.

There's a nice place for you right up front,
that way you can sit together and share your books.

Did you children bring a slate?
- No Ma'am

Well, you can't learn to write properly, without a slate.
I'll lend you mine.

Country girls

Here you go
- Thank you, Miss Beadle.
- You're welcome

Now Laura, I'd like you to turn to
the first page in your speller.

Let's see how many new words you
can take home with you tonight.

Yes, Ma'am!

All right class,
today we're going to start with sums

- Yes, Ma'am

By threes, please Willie

Ma'am, how is he ever going to
get all those numbers off again?

There will be silence in this classroom!

Willie, Laura has asked a question.
Will you please demonstrate the answer?

Mary, look!
It's clean as a whistle!

What did I tell you? Country girls
They don't even know what a blackboard is!


C-A-T Cat.

B-A-T Bat.

M-A-T Mat.

P-A-T Pat.

I learned the whole first row!

How about if I give you one that
isn't even even on that first row?

Let me see, what's a good word?
How about? Rat


R-A-T. Rat
- Perfect!

I'd say that was a fine day's work.
It seems to me, you kind've like school.

Oh I do, Pa!
And you should just see Ms. Beadle

She's the best teacher
in the whole world!

And she smiles all the time!
and she smells as good as she looks!

I came right out and asked!

And she told me she wears something called
Lemon Verbina

She is the most beautiful
lady I ever saw!

Except for Ma, of course.

Say, she must be something special,
to be even close to your ma.

Oh, Charles

How about you, Mary?
Did you like school today?

There's a real nice girl named, Christie.
She'll probably be my best friend.

Anybody in particular
you like, Laura?

Someone in particular I don't like!
That snippy Nellie Olsen!


You know what she called us?
Country Girls!

Well you are a country girls,
there's nothing bad about that.

Well, there is the way she said it!

Look at the country girls!

Made me so mad,
I wanted to smack her good!

Now just minute, I don't want to
hear you talking like that.

You go to school to learn, not to fight.

Part of what you have to learn,
is how to get on with others

All right.
I'll try.

Young lady, you're going
to do a lot more than try.

Remember Laura, 'Do unto others''

That's right. That means no name calling,
no fighting, and no teasin'. Understood?

Yes, Sir.

All right.


Take that into Olsen's store tomorrow,
and buy yourselves a slate.

You gotta have enough left over for a paper tablet.

Oh Pa, thank you!

Thank you.

Then you're not mad at me?

Well, not yet.

But I will be...If you two are not up in bed,
quicker than I can say.... Jack


It's hard to believe that's the same little girl
we could hardly get out of bed this morning.

I'd hoped she'd like it, but I didn't know.

Nah, she'll be fine. Sure was feisty
about that Nellie Olsen though, wasn't she?

I wonder why?

Well, you haven't met her mother

Have you?

Mmm Hmm




B-E-D Bed!

Good night, Pa.

Good night, Laura.

What are you doing?

Fat. F-A-T Fat.

Good morning!
- Good morning.

I'll be with you in a minute, girls.

Are you sure you got the money, Mary?
- In my pocket, right where Ma pinned it.

Snipe! Snipe! Laura is snipe!

Nellie, now you two get on out of
here, this store is not a play yard.

Willie! Did you hear me? Out!

Well, now what can I do for you today?

We'd like a slate, Mr. Oleson.
And a paper tablet for school, please.

I've got just what you need.

Those are mine!

Go ahead, keep it
It's all ours anyway.

We can eat as much candy as we want.

Here we are.

Pa said that would be enough
to pay for both.

And he was right.

But you'll need a slate pencil,
unless you already have one.

No sir, we don't.

Well that will be another penny.

I don't think the country girls have another penny.
What do you think Willie?

I'm telling you two for the last time!
Now you two get on out of here!

Well, if you uh weren't planning on buying a pencil
I imagine you're a little short.

You just take it along with you anyhow, and tell your pa
to pay me the next time he comes into town.

No, sir. Cash on the barrel.
Pa makes that a strict rule!

And it's a good one.
Though, most folks find it hard to live by.

We thank you anyway, Mr. Oleson.
-You're welcome girls.

Bye, bye
- Bye!

That Nellie Oleson is the meaning girl, I ever did see.
I could never be that mean.

I could! Meaner!
if ma' an pa' let me.

We do need a slate pencil, Laura.

Pa gave us so much already!
We can't ask for more!


Our Christmas pennies!
We still have those!

I could use mine to buy the
pencil, and we'd share it!

And you could own half my penny!

C'mon we'll be late for school.

That's very good, Laura


Woo.. Woo

Now the 'L' is silent
I know it's confusing, but


-That's right! That's right!

How would..

- Yes.

How would you...
- Licky?

No. ...I

- That's right.

But what about the 'e'?
- Well, you don't. It's silent.

Like the 'L'?
- That's right.

If I had a remembrance book,
There's one thing I'd want to put in it about school.

Ma' and Pa' were right.
It was fun!

Especially when all the different letters,
started turning into words

Learning to write was one of the hardest things,
I ever hoped to do.

Recess was supposed to be the most fun.

Only, Nellie Olsen wouldn't ever let us play anything else
but Ring-Around-The-Rosey.

Can not we play something else?

I didn't want to.
But Ma' said, 'Do unto others'.

I couldn't help wondering, when Nellie's Ma
would get around to telling her the same thing.

There we are, Mrs. Grandy.
- Did you say, 60 cents?
- That's right

Thank you. Give my best to Eli,
and tell him not to make himself such a stranger. Hmm?

Thank you Nells, I will.
- Good-day, Mrs. Grandy.
- Good day, Nells.

Hello, I am Mrs. lngalls.
- Well, how do you do, Mrs. lngalls?

I believe my husband spoke with you?

Fresh eggs. He said you'd buy them.
- Yes, we do!

I do the buying.

Mrs. Ingalls, my wife
- How do you do, Mrs. Oleson?

Nellie has told me about your ... uh girls.

All good I hope.
- Now how many do we have here?

Three dozen.


Half these eggs are brown.
Well they don't bring as much as white.

Seven of them are double yolks.

Brown eggs, get four cents less a dozen.

All right.
Four cents less for the brown.

Here you go.
Go on, boy.

Pretty quiet tonight.
- Yes, hasn't been a word out of them for more than an hour.

I was talkin' about you.

I met Mrs. Olsen today.

If Nellie's anything like her mother,
I can understand why Laura's been so upset.

Do you know what she told me?!
She told me brown eggs bring less than white!

Must be something peculiar to Minnesota.
I've never heard of that before.

You've never heard it before because it's isn't true.

She paid me four cents less a dozen for the brown.
And then she turned around and sold them for exactly the same as the white!

I was buying this thread!
I heard her do it!

I'll talk to her husband, he's a fair man.
- No!

If you do that, she won't buy any eggs, and we need the money.
I'll handle it.

Want to fight your own battles, huh?
- This one. And Charles, I intend to win!

Just remember:'' Do unto others. ''

Come on, Laura.
Don't you want to play?

Why do we always have to
play 'ring-around-the-rosy?

Because I say so.

... All fall down ...
Uncle John is sick in bed
what shall we send him?

Laura Ingalls, you stop that!

Apple and dumping!
What shall we send it in?!


You have it your way, every single day Nellie!
Well today, I want to play 'Uncle John'!

Ring around the Rosey!
-Uncle John!

You want to fight? I'll fight!
You wanna play? We're playing 'Uncle John!

Go on, go ahead.

So I did what you said I shouldn't.

I did unto Nellie,
but not what you had in mind.

I'm sorry for going against you.

It seemed like it kept building up
inside me, right from that first day.

At least you did one thing right, Half Pint
- I did?
-Mm hm.

You came to us and told us on your own.
Your Ma and I didn't have to hear it from somebody else.

Now what do you think we ought to do about it?

Whatever you think's best Pa.
But she did start it!

And you thought you had good reason for what you did.
And this time, just for once I'm inclined to agree with you.

The important thing is,
are you going to do it again?
-No, Pa.

Is that a promise?


All right, we won't say anymore about it.
Off to bed.

Half Pint, and don't forget now, you made a promise!
You won't do it again!

Oh no Pa, I won't.
I won't have to, Nellie's scared of me now!

Charles, you were must too easy on her.
She's not the least bit sorry for what she did.

You heard what the child said, it was Nellie's fault.
-The bible says to turn the other cheek.

Well I think that's sometimes easier said than done,
or we'd all be wearing halo's instead of homespun.

You're as bad as she is!

Well at least she comes by it honestly.

Good Morning, Mrs. lngalls.
- Good morning, Mr. Oleson.

I expect you're here to apologize
for what happened yesterday at the school.

I'm here to sell eggs, Mrs. Oleson.

I might have expected as much.
Let me tell you something, Mrs. Ingalls.

Your daughter, Laura is a troublemaker.
And you best take her in hand.

Starting fights in the schoolyard,
and pushing other children around!

Nellie apparently has her own version of the truth.
If you care to question the other childre--

Brown eggs are still 4 cents less.

You didn't bring any brown eggs.

Oh, my husband sold them
to the men at Hanson's mill.

for three cents more than you paid me.

That's gratitude.

No, that's good business.

Maybe they'll buy the white eggs as well.

As a matter of fact, my husband
said they'd be glad to get them

Good Day, Mrs. Oleson.

Oh, now, Mrs. lngalls!

I'm a very busy woman!
Too busy to quibble over pennies!

We'll buy your brown eggs.
Same price as the white.

If it's yard good you're after, Mrs. Ingalls,
you'll find this is more to your needs.

Thank you, Mrs. Oleson.
I prefer this.

It won't wear well.
Country folk have to think more on the practical.

I'll take the blue.
- It will be a mistake.

Then it will be my mistake.

I believe it's customary to let the
buyer do the choosing, Mrs. Oleson.

That's quite all right.
- Well, I beg your pardon.

I'll take a dress length please.

Well it does come dear, but there's not a finer piece of goods in the store

This will look right smart on you, Mrs. lngalls.

Don't touch, Laura!
You'll get it all grubby.

I do not know what possessed me,
spending so much money on myself.

If Mrs. Olsen just hadn't gone on so about "Country Folks"

As if all we're fit to wear, is flower sacks.

I'm glad you bought it.
- So am I.
- So am I.

'' Pride goeth before a fall"

I'll just take it back, and see if
Mr. Oleson will give me the money on it.

Now Caroline, Why do you think the good Lord went to
all that trouble of making you so pretty,
if he didn't want you to have a new blue dress?

You'll be beautiful ma'!

I can't wait until everyone sees you.
They're going to think they're looking at a piece of heaven!

If they don't think that already,
I can't say much for their judgment, or their eyesight.

What am I going to do with you!?

What am I going to do with the lot of you!?

Ma gathered enough eggs to walk us into town,
two or three times, every week

Sometimes she'd tell us about when
she was a little girl.

I tried scrunching her down in my mind
So I could see her all barefoot, pigtails flying

But it never did work,
She kept right on being Ma'

Which was all right,
since we loved her a whole lot

Rithmitic' was easy,
but I liked reading most of all.

But writing!

I didn't think I'd ever learn to put
down big words the way Mary did!

Not even with Ma to help me.

Wait up Mary! Don't tell til' I get there!
-Ma! Ma!

What's the matter?
- Where's Pa?

What's going on down there?
- We're going to have a visitors' day!

Practically everybody in town will be there!
You, and ma, and all the parents, and all the kids!

And you get to see where Mary and me sit.

And we all have to write what they
call an essay, about anything we want.

And stand up in front
and read it out loud

And you can wear your new blue dress!
You better get started on that Ma. It's the end of this week!

You two better get busy on
your essays, right now!

We will!
- Come on!

And wait til' you smell
Ms. Beadle?s Lemon Verbina!

Ma, and Mary and me worked hard and steady
that whole week.

But before we knew it, time was up.

Visitors' day was the next morning.
Ma's dress was pretty near done,

And so was Mary's essay.

Well, I'm finished.

Know what I wrote about?
- What dear?

About Pa building the little house on the prairie
and the wolves, and the indians,

and having to move on,
and how we came to plum creek.

How's that sound?

That sounds good to me.
What did you write about, Laura?

It's a surprise.

Well that's fair enough. I'll tell you,
that surprise is gonna come pretty early in the morning.

It's about time for you girls to be getting to bed.
I know it's time for Carrie and me.

Come on, Laura.
- In a minute.

What is it, Laura?
The essay?

It's not an essay.
Not like Mary's.

It's not supposed to be like Mary's.
She's older that you. She knows more words.

I know lots of words Ma.

Trouble is, they're in my head.
And I can't get em' down on paper, like they're supposed to be.

All I know how to write is little words.
-That's all you're supposed to know.

You're just saying that to make me feel better.
-I'm saying that because it's true!

Ma, if I was to tell you something, could you keep it secret?

If you asked me to, of course.

I'm scared.

I'm scared of getting up in front of all those people.
I just know they're going to laugh at me.

Darling, they won't laugh!

All that Ms. Beadle asks of you, is that you do your best.

And as long as you do your best, Laura
we'll always be proud of you.

But they laughed before, when they
called us long-legged snipes!

That was just teasing!
And that was before they knew you.

But what if they do laugh?

They won't Laura!
They won't!



Are you all right?

Everything's fine Charles.
I'm sorry if the light disturbed you.

It must be midnight, why don't you come to bed?

I will. As soon as I'm finished.
Good night.

Come on girls!
Time for breakfast!

Mornin' Pa!
-Mornin' Mary!

Mornin' Pa!
-Mornin' sweetie!

Good morning.

Ma, you used your yard goods to make dresses for us.

And why not?
My brown dress is perfectly good.

Besides I don't have to get up in front of
all of those people, like you do.

We wouldn't haven't minded wearing our calicoes.
-We wouldn't have minded.

Well I would have minded!

How long are you going to make me wait to see how they look on you!?

I'm going to put mine on right now!

I surely do love you, Ma!

You are quite a woman, Ma.

I want a new dress for my dolly.
- You'll get one, sweetheart.

I have been riding horses all of my days..

I like riding horses--
more than I like--


More than I like

I like riding horses

My Pa is going to buy me a pony.

He will let me pick out any pony in the town

To buy for me, for my birthday.

Thank you, Willie.

And now we'll hear from Nellie Olsen.

'' My home.''

My home is the best house in all of Walnut Grove.

We have carpets in every room.
Bought-en carpets.

We have three sets of dishes.
One for everyday, one for Sunday.

And one for when someone--

For someone who is special and very important comes to visit,
which we've never even used yet.

We have real lace curtains and six genuine oil paintings.

And six genuine oil paintings.

And I have my own room, and Willie has his own.

All of our furniture is bought-en too.
And it cost a whole lot.

If I told you how much, you'd
probably faint dead away.

But my Pa Olsen's Mercantile says talking about
how much things cost isn't proper.

But it cost dear, I can tell you that.

And it's the nicest furniture, of any furniture
in any house, in all of Walnut Grove.

Thank you, Nellie.
And now we'll hear from Laura Ingalls.

'' My mother.''

My sister Mary is going to tell you how Pa brought us West,
and how hard he worked.

And I don't mean to take anything from him by telling you,
Ma worked plenty hard herself.

Still does.
She cooks, and sews, and cleans.

She takes care of the lot of us.

Pa included.

I remember once when I was little,
coming down with the fever.

Ma sat up next to me, all night long.
I slept some. But she, never.

Any time I'd open my eyes, she'd be there smiling,
holding a cold cloth to my head.

Now with me and Mary, 'sprouting up',
which is what Ma calls it.

If there's the least littlest noise in the night,

Ma would come climbing up the ladder into the loft,
to make sure we're all right.

I reckon there's times she gets bone tired,
but you'd never know it.

Her smile is the last thing I see before I close my eyes at night.

And the first thing I want to see in the morning.

She's been selling eggs to the Mercantile, and saved
enough to buy yard goods to make herself a new dress.

This morning, Mary and me found out
she made dresses for the two of us instead.

That's because she loves us.

That's the kind of mother Ma is.
And that's why we love her so much.

Thank you, Laura.
And now we'll hear from Sandy Kennedy.

Summer is nice and fun.
You can swim and play and have- all- kinds- of- fun.

You are a lucky man, Mr. Ingalls.
- Thank you, Mr. Oleson.

It's the only thing in this life I am absolutely sure of.

Very lucky.

Ma', Pa' what'd you think? Did you like my essay?

I thought it was lovely Mary.

You made me out to be a bit of a hero.
But I guess I can't fault you for that.


What you said today was beautiful,
and I'll treasure it as long as I live.

But, it wasn't what you had
written down on the paper, was it?

It's what I would have written,
if I could.

I know that dear.
But it wasn't really an essay, was it?

No, Ma.

I think I better give it Miss Beadle.
What do you think she'll do?

That's up to Ms. Beadle.

Oh Mrs. Ingalls! You and your husband
must be very proud of your girls today!

We are!

And you, young lady!

You gave one of the finest recitations
it's been my pleasure to hear.

Laura wanted you to see her paper, Ms. Beadle.

Laura's spelling has improved a great deal.

Her penmanship needs a little improvement.

But I think with a little more hard work,
by the time the school year's out, she'll have that mastered as well.

Thank you, Miss Beadle.

Ma took Mary's essay and mine too,

She said she was going to put them in the special box
where she kept her school books, and her wedding dress

and everything she loved most

It made us proud she'd want 'em for remembering

But I knew even without the papers,
there wasn't one of us likely to forget that day.

Not ever.