Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 2, Episode 1 - The Richest Man in Walnut Grove - full transcript

Mr. Ingalls and his employer Mr. Hansen are anticipating a large income from a big job they have done. The Ingalls plan to pay their bill at the Mercantile store and more. Unfortunately, when Mr. Hansen learns that his client cannot pay, that means he cannot pay Mr. Ingalls and has to close his mill. With the bonus income lost, and the lack of regular income, the family has to think how they will pay their debts and keep up their other duties. Mr. Ingalls works for the livery owner, grooming and caring for the horses he owns. Once done there, he works for a local farmer to fix an irrigation system on his property. But, the women of the family want to help, too. Caroline and Laura plant a double crop of vegetables for the winter and plan to sell the eggs as they have been collecting. Mary plans to leave school temporarily to work for Mrs. Whipple, the seamstress, sewing assorted clothing items for ladies of the community. Laura continues in school, bringing home lessons to Mary so she doesn't get behind on her schoolwork. When she herself gets behind on turning in her homework, she tells Miss Beadle she ran out of tablet paper and doesn't want to ask her father to buy it. Miss Beadle offers a solution to the problem and all is much better.

You want to try, Carrie?

Come on.

There you go.

Come right down here
by pa.

Put your hand
right there.

There you go.

Oh'. What we getting?

Charles: Well...

Bet you can't guess
what Carrie just did.

Laura: What
did she do, pa?

Charles: Go ahead.
Tell them.

Carrie: I got
to milk the cow'.


Charles: Real
fine job, too.

She's getting
to be a big girl.

She'll be helping with all
the chores soon. You'll see.

Yeah. Want me to teach you how
to clean out the chicken Coop?


I thought
you'd say that.

Charles: I ought to finish
cutting that big order today

and have the rest of
it shipped by tomorrow.

Will you have to
freight it into mankato?

Yeah. Afraid so.

at least that's the end of it.

Well, you think
you're happy,

you can imagine
how hanson feels.

He hasn't had a penny
coming in for 2 months now.

I'm surprised he'd
make a deal like that.

It's like I told you,
it's a big company.

They pay when the order's
complete and not before.

It's either that or they give
the contract to somebody else.

I'm going to have 2 months'
wages by the end of the week.

We'll be rich, pa.

Well, kind of.
Just until I get to oleson's mercantile

and pay back
all the money I owe.

Mmm, I'll be glad
when you do.

Every time I go in
with the eggs,

Mrs. Oleson spends
all of her time

reminding me
how much we owe.

Ma, I need another
paper tablet,

and my pencil's down to
where I can hardly hold it.

Well, you'll just
have to wait, dear.

We can't charge anything
until that bill is paid.

It will just be a few
more days, darling.

My tablet's only
halfway used,

and my pencil's
plenty long.

Well, it wouldn't be if you did
as much homework as your sister.

Now, go on.
Finish your breakfast.

We'll ride
into town together.

Good morning.

Good morning,
Mrs. Ingalls.

Caroline: How are you
today, Mrs. Oleson?

Oh, my back is
killing me again.

And again and again.

Did you say
something, nels?

Oh, no. No, dear.

I was, uh...
Just, uh, checking these shoe sizes.

And a 10 and a 10.

Nels: Oversight.

2 dozen today.

Just credit it
to our account.

At this rate,
I'll be dead and buried

by the time
this is paid for.

Oh, my husband
says that...

You must realize, of course, Mrs.

that everything
that you purchase here

has already been paid for by us...
Months ago.

I understand

Well, now, no one extends credit to
us, Mrs. Ingalls.

It's cash...
Hard cash.

That's the way
we operate.

I know.

We're not running
a charity here.

I know. My husband said to...

I don't think it's
very fair of you

to take advantage
of a friendship.

I could hardly take
advantage of something

that doesn't

Well'. That's
gratitude for you'.

No'. That's true'.

No, you let me tell you something, Mrs.

Caroline: No, let me tell you
something, Mrs. Oleson.

My husband will be in to pay the
bill in full by the end of the week.


Good day,
Mrs. Oleson.

Come on,




Letter from the bank in mankato.

Bank's construction
company is bankrupt.


See for yourself.

But all that work,
all the lumber we shipped...

They got to
pay us something.

Oh, yeah, sure,

but they've got to pay
their other creditors, too.

That takes time, and then you
get only pennies on the dollar.

I'm sorry.

So am I. They won't pay
me, and I can't pay you.

I was counting on that
money, same as you were.

I wish there was
something I could do,

but till this
is settled,

I got to close down
the mill.

I didn't expect you
so early.

I really had it out
with Mrs. Oleson today.

She just kept going on
and on about the bill.

She wouldn't let me
get a word in edgewise.

You should have seen the look
on her face when I told her...

Stay here, Carrie.

What are you doing?

Biting off
a hangnail.

Were you asleep?


I can't sleep.

Neither can I.

Pa looked so sad

I know.

It's just
not fair...

Working so hard,
and then this happens.

I can always tell when pa is sad
by the way he plays the fiddle.

It almost sounds like
the fiddle's crying.

It seems like the sadness
comes right out of his fingers

onto the strings.

There must be some
way we can help.

But how?

I don't know.

Well, maybe
when we're asleep,

an idea will creep
into our heads.

Good night.

Good night.


If an idea creeps
into your head tonight,

will you wake me up
and tell me?

I won't
be able to.

Why not?

I'll be asleep.

Oh, yeah.

See you in the morning.

You can't sleep?


How would you like me
to heat some milk?

Hmm. No.

Everything is going
to be all right.

We've been through
worse than this.

I know that. It's...

Just that you plan
on something,

two months' wages,
and then nothing.

I can't pay oleson,

first time in my life
I couldn't meet a debt.

Isn't your fault.

Well, it is in the fact
that I ran up the debt.

I was just so sure
of that money.

Sometimes I think we were
better off alone on the prairie.

We just had to depend
on ourselves,

nobody else.

Maybe it's god's way of punishing
me for wanting too much.

Oh, or his way
of testing you

to see if you're
worthy of his love.

I just hope
I'm worthy of yours.


I'll find work tomorrow.
You wait and see.

I wasn't worried.

Now, how about
that milk?

I'd love some.


Caroline: All ready
when you are.

I don't know why you
don't let me take the eggs

into town for you,
save you that walk back.

Carrie and I like the walk,
especially on a beautiful day.

I have to stop
in oleson's,

tell them I can't
pay the bill I owe.

I thought you would.

Charles: After what you said to Mrs.
Oleson the other day,

I just thought...

I know
what you thought.

Why put off
till tomorrow

what's bound to come
sooner or later?

Well, she's not going to be easy on
you, you know.

I hope she isn't.

If she were nice about
it, I'd have to like her,

and that would ruin
my whole day.


Nels: Good morning,
Charles, Mrs. Ingalls.

Charles: Good morning, nels, Mrs.

Good morning, Mr. Ingalls, Mrs.

2 dozen.

You're 2 days early.

We weren't expecting you until
the end of the week, Mr. Ingalls.



I'm only repeating
what I was told.

Isn't that correct,
Mrs. Ingalls?

It is correct.

Well, we ran into hanson this morning.
He told us what happened.

Look, nels, I'm sorry.

I don't know when I'm going
to be able to pay the bill.

It will be
as quick as I can.

Aw, I know that.

But not by the end
of the week, I take it.

No, I'm afraid not,
Mrs. Oleson.

I'd appreciate it

if I could just keep
my account open here.

I won't be charging
much, just necessities.


Harriet: Now,
just a moment.

You already owe us
a tidy sum,

and now you want
to charge more?


Well, I am
speaking, nels'.

Now, you are not the one who was
insulted by Mrs. Ingalls here.

If you expect
charity from us

and want to keep
your account open,

then I expect a full
apology from your wife here

for the remarks that she
made to me yesterday.

Harriet, please.

I am waiting,
Mrs. Ingalls.

Well, you're going to have a long
wait, Mrs. Oleson.

I'll pay that bill as soon as I
can, nels.

Oh, I know that,
Charles. I'm sorry.

I understand.

Come on, Caroline.

"Pride cometh
before destruction

and a haughty spirit
before a fall"...

Proverbs 16:18.

It is "pride goeth
before destruction,"

Mrs. Oleson, and as
for the rest of it,

I'd fall
in the Grand Canyon

before I'd let my wife
go begging to you.

Ah, I like the idea of
having the stables clean

and the horses cared for.

I just can't afford the luxury
of paying somebody to do it.

It would give you a lot of
free time for other things.

Ah, true enough,

Aw, dad burn it, Charles,
to tell you the truth,

the money I could
offer is so small

that, well, I'm just too
embarrassed to even mention it.

Try me, hans.
I need the work.

How long do you figure
it would take you

to clean and curry
each day?

I'd say 2, 3 hours
at the most.

25 cents a day,
and I wish it was more.

Don't apologize for giving me a job.
I'll start tomorrow.

Good enough.

You don't know anybody else needs
any work done at their place, do you?

No, not offhand, but if I hear of
anything, I'll let you know.

Thank you. Say hello
to the missus.

Yeah. You do the same.

Hey, Charles'.


How are you?

Hey'. Tell me what
brings you out this way.

Well, I was hoping I
could get a little work

with you
on the pug mill

now that your boy's going
to school full-time,

and I see
you got a problem.

Yeah. Well, it must be an
underground spring or something.

I don't know.
It just seemed to happen overnight.

What are you
going to do?

I'll have to build me
a new pug mill.

I'd be much obliged if I
could help you build it.

I need a job.

Why, sure. I couldn't
find a better man.

I'll let you know
as soon as I get started.

When do you think
it will be?

It will have to be
after winter.

I couldn't get anything
done before the snow flies,

so I'll just
have to wait it out.

Well, let me know when
you want to get started.

Sure. Hey, listen,
come in the house and have a bit of cider.

No. I've got a lot
to do. Thank you.

All right.
I'll see you.

Well, I see you've changed
your mind about the cider.

No, no. I didn't.
I just wanted to find out...

What's it going to cost you
to build that new pug mill?

Oh, I don't know exactly,
but like I said,

I'm not going to start
till after winter.

I know that,
but what if you could use the old one?

Have you figured out a way for
me mule to work underwater?

No, but I think I
can get it drained.

Oh, I don't know.


That would be
a tougher job

than building
a new pug mill.

I need the work now.

Why, I don't know.

Look, I'll tell you what.
I'll not only drain the pug mill,

I'll dig you
irrigation ditches

so you can plant that field next
to it with any crop you want.

You think
you can do that?

I'd sure like
to give it a try.

You know, if it
don't work out,

I can't pay you

That's fair enough.


All right.
Come in the house.

We'll figure the cost of the new
mill, and I'll see what I can pay.


If everything goes
all right at makay's,

it's going to
take me 3 months

to pay the oleson bill,

and that's
doing without.

Well, Mr. Oleson said that he was
willing to extend a little credit.

No, and not
on your life,

not after what
that woman had to say.

I'll tell you
something else.

Once we pay the bill
at the oleson's,

from now on, anything
we purchase there

is going to be cash on the barrel.
Is that understood?

It's not only

it's what we
hoped you'd say.

Now we have something
we want to say to you.

Pa, I talked to
Mrs. Whipple today.

She's getting
older, and...

Well, her fingers
just don't do

everything they used to
with a needle and thread.

Anyway, I asked
if she could use me

full-time for a while
instead of just part-time,

and she said
she sure could.

What are you telling me, young lady? That
you want to quit school and go to work?

It's only for a little
while, until we catch up.

Laura can bring
my homework home.

And I can do
Mary's chores.

And ma and I could
sell the vegetables.

And we can plant a double-size
potato crop for winter store.

And I can milk
the cow.

We can do it, pa.
We can help.

Please let us
help, pa.

What a family.

It does make
a man proud.

Then you'll let us?

I couldn't do it
without you.

Thank you, Charles.

Reverend, I'm sorry.
I didn't see you standing there.

How are you?

Fine. I heard you were
working out here,

and I was making a few
visits out this way.

I thought I'd stop
and say hello.

Well, I'm glad
you did.

Give me an excuse to
sit down for a minute.

You got a thirst?
It's cold.

No. No, thank you.

Charles, every place I stop,
I'm obliged to have a cup of tea,

and by the time
the day's over,

I'm sloshing around
like a water trough.

Charles, I spoke to nels
oleson this morning.


He's the real reason
I'm out here.

He wanted to
come by himself,

but he just couldn't
bring himself to do it.

I understand.

He feels very bad about what happened.
He asked me to tell you that.

Well, what happened had
nothing to do with nels.

I don't have any
grudge against him.

I'll tell him that.

And, Charles, try not to think
too unkindly of his wife.

There's good
in all people.

Just a little bit
harder to find in some.

I know what
you mean, reverend.

And we're
doing fine.

I think the good lord gives
us hard times now and then

just so we can
appreciate the good ones.

Sometimes I think you missed
your calling, Charles.

You should have been
a minister.

Couldn't handle it, reverend.
I don't like tea.

Well, I'll let you
get back to work.

Say hello
to the family for me.

I will.
See you Sunday.

All done, hans.

Hans: Oh, thank you, Charles.

How's it going
over at makay's?

I'm heading
back there now.

I wouldn't want
to trade you jobs.

I don't blame you.


Good day,
Mrs. Oleson.

Caroline, supper
was delicious.

I hope you've got
room for berries.

I picked a whole
mess of them.

I've always got
room for berries.

I want sugar
on mine.

Not tonight,

Oh, let her have a little sugar.
It won't hurt her.

There isn't
any more.

No tea, no sugar.

It's nothing
we can't do without.

It's not the doing
without that bothers me.

It's having to...
I mean, after all we've worked.

you've gone through,

I can't even give you
a little tea and sugar.

It won't be
for long.

Besides, you always said sugar
was bad for your teeth, pa.

Well, if you're all not
complaining, I guess I shouldn't.

Ok, we'll have some berries
and a cup of coffee.

How about
just some berries?

That was the last of
the coffee this morning.

You always said
too much coffee

makes it hard
for you to sleep.

It's true. You did
say that, pa.

I did say that.

Well, if the good lord provided us
with berries and Laura picked them,

I think we
ought to eat them.

Bowls, please.


Yes, miss beadle?

you didn't turn in

your assignment
again today.

Now, that's
2 in a row.

I know.

But that's not
like you.

What's the matter?

It... it's nothing.

Sit down, Laura.

Now, we're friends,
aren't we?


Well, when you
have a problem,

you should be able to tell a
friend, shouldn't you?

Yes, ma'am.

Well, what is it?

Well, I don't have any
more tablet paper left.

I would have done the
assignments, honest,

but I didn't have
anything to write them on.

I see. Well,
I'll tell you.

I was just
on my way over

to oleson's

to get some more
tablets for school.

Why don't I
just pick up

2 extra
for you and Mary?

Oh, no, ma'am.
I couldn't let you do that.

Now, wait a minute.
I wasn't through.

If I get you
the tablets,

you have to
promise me

you'll get me
some chalk...

when I need it.


I promise.

too hard.

It will be
harder next time.

Oh, yeah?


who's coming.

Miss beadle?

Yes, Laura?

I'd just as soon
wait outside,

if you don't mind.

Of course not.

Both: Hi, miss beadle.


I wonder why
Laura Ingalls

doesn't come in
the store anymore.

Because she's too poor
to buy anything.

That's why.

So's her father.

He can't even pay what
he owes in the store.


Can't get
a decent job, either.

All he does is dig in the mud
and clean up after horses.

My pa
works hard'.

So does a mule.

You take that back.

Nellie: I will not.

My mother says she's glad your father
doesn't come in the store anymore

because he smells bad.

He smells like
a dirty stable.

That's all he's good for...
cleaning up after horses.


What's the matter
with Laura?

I don't know,
miss beadle.

We just said hello,
and the next thing I knew,

she just up and ran off.
Isn't that right, Willie?

Yeah. She just up and ran off.

Well, we have to get started
on our homework, miss beadle.


Miss beadle.

Mr. Ingalls.

I'm surprised you recognize
me with my dirt suit on.

Is something wrong?

I hope not.

It's Laura.

She failed to turn in her homework
assignment for the last 2 days,

and when I
asked her why,

she, uh...

Well, go ahead.

She said she didn't have
any more writing tablets.

Walnut grove is a small
town, Mr. Ingalls.

I understand
your problem,

and I don't
blame you a bit.

That's why I offered Laura
some tablet paper, but...

Now, it was just
a loan, mind you.

I don't want you
to misunderstand.

I don't.

That's very kind
of you.

Well, I'm afraid
it upset Laura.

She ran away before I could
give her the paper. I...

I didn't mean to,
but I'm afraid I hurt her feelings.

Ah, that doesn't
sound like Laura.

She cares
too much about you,

and we all know how
you feel about her.

I'm sure it's
something else.

I hope you're right.

I'm sure I am.
Why don't you come on down to the house,

have some supper
with us?

Oh, thank you, but I have a stack
of papers waiting for me at home.

Give my best
to Mrs. Ingalls.

I will.

I, uh...

I brought
the tablets with me.

I'll give them
to Laura.

Thank you.

No. Thank you.

We're all pretty lucky having
you teaching our children.

Giddy up, pap.

You want to
tell me about it?

No, sir.

Miss beadle
stopped by.

She was feeling
kind of bad.

She was afraid she might have
done something to upset you.

She didn't do

Well, you know,
when you see a friend run off like that,

it bothers a person.

You get to thinking
all kinds of things.

You sure it had nothing
to do with miss beadle?

I'm sure.

Well, she'll be
glad to hear that.

It was Nellie
and Willie.

Those two, huh?

You kind of surprise
me, half-pint.

I figured you'd be used
to their teasing by now.

I am...

When it's about me.

And this time
it wasn't?

You going to tell
me who it was about?


When a person doesn't want to tell
another person something like that,

it generally means that it
was about the other person.

It was about me,
wasn't it?

They said
awful things,

dumb things.

They said that you
couldn't get a decent job

and that all you could do was
clean up after the animals

and that you
smelled bad.


They were right
2 out of 3.

And I do clean
the stables.

When I come home
from working all day,

I don't exactly smell like a
bottle of lemon verbena, now, do I?

Well, do I?


All right, then.

And as for the decent job,
now, that's something else.

Any job a man can do to
make his way in this world

is a decent job as long as he
works hard at it and does his best.

You know, god didn't put sweat
in a man's body for no reason.

He put it there
so he could work hard,

cleanse himself,
and feel proud.

Don't you ever
forget that.

Hard-working folks only
smell bad to some folks

who have nothing else to do but
stick their noses in the air.

I think you and I know who they
are, don't we?

All right.

Here's those tablets miss
beadle wanted you to have.

You make sure you use
them, young lady.

I will.

Now, you know they say
cleanliness is next to godliness,

so while I'm down at the creek
getting a little closer to god,

why don't you go in the house
and help ma with supper?

I will.

All right.



I just love you
so much.

I'm sure glad
it's Friday.

Well, you don't have
to go to school anyhow.

I'm the one who ought
to be glad it's Friday.

Friday's the day
I get paid. That's why.

How much do you think Mrs.
Whipple will give you?

I don't know for sure.
She pays me by how much work I get done,

but it should be a lot.
I sewed fast the whole week.

Think she'll
give you a dollar?

Maybe more.

I wish I could
work like you.

I couldn't do it if you
weren't doing my chores

and getting all my homework
assignments for me.

In a way, half the money
I earn is yours, really.

Do you mean that?

Sure, I do.

See you after work.

See you.

Hey, Mary'.

Mary: Yeah?

Can I put half the
money in the money jar

so's pa could see?


Thanks. See you.

Mary: And don't let
Nellie make you upset.

I won't'.

Let's play
a new game.

What for?
This is a fun game.

Yeah. And I'm winning.

Be quiet, Willie.

I've got
a better game.

Willie: What?

We can play horsey

and ride around
the schoolyard.

Girl: That's dumb.
We don't even have a horse.

Maybe we can get one.

Where is your pa,

He smells
like a horse.

We could pretend
and ride him.

Take it back,

I won't take it back.

You can go crying to miss
beadle, and I won't take it back.

Yeah. We won't
take it back.

I'm not crying
anymore, Nellie,

and you better
take it back.

I won't take it back
because it's true.

Your pa smells like
a dumb old horse.

I take it back.

Hard-working folks
only smell bad to folks

that have nothing to do but
stick their noses in the air.

Well, whenever you stick your
nose in the air with me, Nellie,

it's going to
get punched.

Miss beadle.

Yes, Laura?

I want to thank you
about the tablets.

Oh, well, you're
very welcome.

And about yesterday,
it had nothing to do with you.

And don't worry.
It won't ever happen again.


Oh, makay.

It's coming along.

Yeah. I can see that.
How about a little cider?

No, thank you.
I want to keep moving as fast as I can.

Well, I...

I don't think
it's fast enough.

You know, when you first
came up with this idea,

I didn't think you
could make it work.

That's why I kind of
sat back and waited.

Yeah, well, I can
do it. Believe me.

Oh, I do.
I believe that.

But I think if we...
If we work together,

we could get it done a lot faster.
What do you think?

I think we ought to both have
a sip of cider and go to work.

All finished with
Mrs. Carter's skirt.

I declare, child'.

I've never seen
such a fast worker.

Oh'. And perfect
work, too'.

Ma says
do your best work,

and the time will
take care of itself.

Well, you've certainly
learned that lesson well.

I'll start
on the dress.

Now, hold on.
Just a minute.

You know, you weren't even
supposed to finish this today,

much less start
another garment.

I know, but...

There are no buts
about it.

It's 4:00.
School is just getting out.

Now, why don't you go
and walk home

with Laura
for a change?

I can get
the dress started.

Mary, you mustn't argue with old people.
It's not good for them.

Anyway, you can't win.
So run along,

and I'll see you

All right.

Mrs. Whipple?

Mrs. Whipple?

Mrs. Whipple?'.

I told you, dear.
No argument.

I wasn't going to,
ma'am. I...


Well, what is it,

What's wrong?

Speak up.

It's Friday, and I
thought that on Friday...

Oh, land's sake.

And I haven't paid
you for the week.

Yes, ma'am.

See, that's another thing
that's wrong with old people.

Every once
in a while,

you've got to keep
reminding them of things.

Oh, I'm so sorry,

Here. Hold out
your hand.

Here's a dollar.

Here's 45 cents

and 25 cents extra for the
excellence of your work.

Mmm'. Mmm'.

A dollar and 70 cents'.

Oh, thank you,
Mrs. Whipple'.


Mmm'. Mmm'.

Mary: Laura'. A dollar
and 70 cents'.

A dollar and 70 cents'.

Good day,
Mrs. Ingalls.

Oh, Charles'.
You're back.

I lost track
of the time.

There's not much
daylight left.

Look at you.

I must be a sight.

You are.

Your face is dirty,
your hair is all askew,

and you're still
the prettiest woman

a man ever set
his eyes on.


The only thing I regret
about being married to you

is that I won't have the joy of
asking you to be my wife again.

Enough to pay the bill at the
oleson's with some to spare.

Enough for some coffee,
some tea,

and a little
white sugar...

Thanks to all of you.

Now, brush your hair and
put on your Sunday dresses.

We're going to town.

This family earned
that money together.

We're going to pay the bill together.
Off you go.

I'm going to go
bathe in the creek.

I might even put on
some lemon verbena.

Charles: Nels.

Mrs. Ingalls.

It's nice
to see you.

It's nice to see
you, Mr. Oleson.

We've come to pay
the bill, nels.

Just a minute.


Harriet: Yes?

Customers out here'.

Uh, coming.

My wife
will take care of this.

Got some work to do
in the storeroom.


Here's the money
we owe on the bill.


Well, I...

I didn't expect you to be
able to pay quite so soon.

The whole family
worked together.


Oh, I had heard that
Mary was out of school.

I hope that she didn't fall
too far behind in her work.

On the contrary.

Mary did quite nicely
with her studies.


Isn't that wonderful?

You're welcome to count it.
It's all there.

Oh, no'. I... no.

No, I... we're...
We're old friends.

Well, there are
a few things

tobacco and some
stick matches.

A writing tablet and a lead
pencil, please.

And some chalk.

I want some white sugar.

And that
will be cash.

Well, certainly.

Nels: Miss.

Nels: Charles...

I hope we'll
be seeing you

around the store
again regular.

You will.

It's kind of, uh...
Hard to change people, you know.

Why, she says
things, but, uh...

I understand.

That's quite
a family you got.

I'd like to think my young
ones would all pull together

like yours
if things got bad,

but like
I always say,

we've always been lucky
when it came to money.

Believe it or not,

I think you're the richest
man in walnut grove.

Nels, I know I am.
I'll see you.