Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 2, Episode 12 - His Father's Son - full transcript

Trying to interest his newly adopted son in more "manly" pursuits than reading and writing poetry, Isaiah Edwards buys a rifle for John Jr.'s birthday and stubbornly insists that the two of them go turkey hunting, even though the sensitive teenager has made it plain that he doesn't want to go. But a life-threatening situation during the hunt and a secret revealed afterward, result in a life-changing event for both of them.

Grace: John!



Oh, yeah. Coming.

I swear, that boy just forgets
the time when he's reading.

Yeah, he sure does.

You know, a boy that age ought
to get out more and do things.

Oh, his pa loved books,
and so does the boy.

There's a lot
of pleasure in reading.

Yeah, well,
I wouldn't know.

Here, I'll do this
for you.


Need a hand?

No. I got it.

This is a fine book.

Have you ever read
lord Byron?

Lord Byron? What do
they call him lord for?

That was his title.


He was my father's

Well, you best get in the
house, get some breakfast.

Imagine even lord Byron
took time out to eat.

All right. But you really
ought to read it sometime.

Well, I will.
I will.


That's fine
shooting, sir.

Mighty fine

Why, a man could shoot
through the eye of a needle

with a rifle like this.

That's a genuine
Winchester 73,

fires a .44-40 cartridge.

Oh, you can't do
better than this rifle,

I'll tell you.

What do you
think, Charles?

It's a dandy.
How much is it?

Well, a rifle like this
doesn't come cheap.

Well, how much?

$7.50, but look
what you're getting...

A walnut stock, sporting
front and rear sights.

Well, I can
see all that.

It's a lot of money to
spend on a boy's birthday.

Yeah, I know.

Well, I got plenty
of other rifles.

Now, let me see.

I could give you a government
Springfield for 2.90,

with 20 rounds of ammunition thrown in.
How about that?


Oh, that rifle will weigh
more than the boy does.

Come on, let's go see
where I hit that thing.

Yeah, I know it's a lot
of money to spend,

but I want John Jr. to get
the right kind of start,

you know what I mean?

I know.

Can't get that boy
out of doors.

Finishes his chores, he's
off up to that tree house

just reading
and writing.

There's a lot of good
in that, too, you know.

Yeah, I know.
I know.

It's just if I'm going to
be a father to that boy,

well, I'm going to have to
spend more time with him,

and I don't mean work time,
you know what I mean?

I want him to like some
of the things I like.

Hey, will you look
at that?

That ain't but a half inch off
where I laid them sights. Heh heh!

Well, that settles it.

My son's got himself
a genuine Winchester 73.

Mr. Thoms, you made
yourself a sale!


Hello there!

I'm in the kitchen.

Hey, uh, ha ha!
How was your day?

Just fine. You must have
had a wonderful day.

Oh, I did.
It was a pip.

Say, where's... uh,
where's John?

Now, where do you
think he is?

He's not home
from school yet.

Oh, yeah.
I forgot about that.

Looky there. Wrapped
that up my own self.

Oh, you didn't have to tell me that.
What is it?

Well, I ain't gonna tell you.
It's a surprise.

Today's not my birthday,
it's John's.

Still and all, I ain't
gonna say nothin'.

Suit yourself. I won't tell
you what I got him either.

Now, hurry up and
get out of this kitchen

so I can get the decorating
done on this cake!

Out of here!
Get going!

I'll bet he likes my present
better than he likes yours.

Oh, Isaiah!
You're terrible.

I know! Ha ha. I'm going
to unhitch the team.

"Roll on, thou deep
and dark blue ocean, roll.

"10,000 fleets
sweep over thee in vain.

"Man marks the earth
with ruin.

His control stops
with the shore."

Doesn't that make you
want to see the ocean?

Makes me want to stick
my toes in plum creek.

My feet are sweating.
So are mine.

Come on,
I'll race you!

Wait for me!

They just don't appreciate
poetry, I guess.

Neither did I
when I was little.

You know, I wish I could
write something someday

that would make people feel
something inside, like lord Byron.

You will.
I know you will.

I sure hope so. Oh, don't
forget to ask your pa

if I could borrow
his copy of Emerson.

I won't forget.

You know what?


My feet are
kind of hot, too.

I'll race you!


Happy birthday.

Oh, it's beautiful.

Carl: Blow out the candles
so as we can eat it, John.

Wait a minute.
I got to make a wish.

Ha ha!

Isaiah: John, um, first the
presents, then the cake.

Whoop! Not that one now.
You got others to open.

You open this one last.
Here, try that one there.

Better move the cake.

"From Carl and Alicia."

I didn't get him

Oh, I picked out
something for you.

Then hurry up
and open it.

I want to see
what I got you.

Oh! A quill pen
and ink

and special good paper, too.
Thank you.

Carl: I knew
you'd like it.

talking to you.

Here, try that one.

"To someone very special
on their birthday.

Love, grace."


John keats.

Grace: Do you like it?

Like it?
Oh, thank you!

Uh... hey, hey, you
got another one here.

There's no card
on this one.

Oh, yeah, well, I forgot about that.
Happy birthday. Open it.


Ha ha.

Well, come on, now, hey.

Stand up there. Feel the
weight of that thing.

That there is
a genuine Winchester 73.

Well, look at that.
It's got a walnut stock,

sporting front,
and rear sights.

Why, you can't get
a better rifle than that.

Well, what do you think?

It's beautiful.

what's the matter?

Well... I mean,

isn't it too expensive? It
must have cost you dear.

Oh, don't you worry none
about what the cost was.

You see that? He had me fooled there.
Thought he didn't like it.

Hey, I'll tell you what.

Come Saturday morning,
you and me,

we're gonna go out and have
ourselves a little hunting trip.

How's that sound?

Sounds fine.

Can I come, too?

Well, we'll have
to see about that.

You know, there's times
when the older menfolks

like to get off by themselves.
Ain't that right, John?

Yes, sir.

Well, you menfolk can
just talk about that later.

Right now I want to get this cake
cut and served before it gets old.

Here you are, John.

Land sakes, do you
know what time it is?

It's gonna be
morning in a few hours.

I couldn't help it.
I can't put it down.

Well, I'm glad
you like it,

but I'm turning out
the light anyway.

Now you get
to sleep, young man.



I wish he hadn't spent
all that money on the gun.

Oh, I know.

I just didn't know
what to say to him tonight.

I didn't want to hurt him.

I'm not saying
other folks shouldn't,

but I couldn't...
I couldn't kill anything.

We've talked
about hunting before.

He must know how I feel.

But he just pretends
he doesn't hear me.

Well... you know, Isaiah
was raised in the woods.

He's been hunting all his
life, for food and clothing.

I know that, but...

He just wants you
to be like him.

He wants to share the thing
that he does the best.

He loves you.

I know that.

But I can't be like him,

not about everything.

Not about hunting.

I just don't know what
to tell him come Saturday.


I'll talk to him.

Would you?

It'll be all right.

Thank you.

Now you
go to sleep.

I'll see you
in the morning.



I promised John I'd ask if he could
borrow your copy of Emerson.

As long as he's
careful with it.

Oh, he will be.

All right, then.

Thank you. He's going
to be a poet someday.

That's very good.

I think so, too.
See ya!

See ya!

How old do you have
to be to be a poet?

It doesn't matter.
Any age.

Do you have to go to
college to be one?

No, no. Emerson
wrote about it

in that book
you're bringing to John.

He said there are two
classes of poets:

Poets by education
and practice...

Those we respect...

And poets by nature...
Those we love.

The last one...
That's John.

Those we love, huh?

I got to go.
I'll be late!

Alicia: You stay home.
You can't go to school.

Who forgot his lunch?

Carl: Oh, I did.

Grace: Have a good day.

Carl: Yes'm.

John, don't you worry
none about your chores.

I'll have 'em done
by the time you get home.

no need for that.

I want you to get
right to your homework

so we can leave bright and
early in the morning.

Can I come, too? I'll get
all my homework done.

Please, pa?

maybe next time.

That's not fair.

Isaiah: Oh, hold on, now. We've had
our trips off by ourself, haven't we?

Yeah, but..

All right. Now it's
your brother's turn.

Now you get on to school
before I pull your ears off.

Next time for sure?

For sure.


Heh heh. That little Carl sure does
like it off in the woods, doesn't he?

He certainly does.

Well, maybe
I'll take him next time.

Why don't you take him
with you this time?

Oh, no. Can't do that.
Promised John Jr.

Said it would
just be the two of us.

You sure you didn't make
that promise for yourself?

Now, what's that mean?

Well, I just mean that I'm not
so sure that John wants to go.

Well, of course he wants to go.
He loves it out in the woods.

He loves
the woods, Isaiah,

but he doesn't
love to hunt.

He doesn't want
to shoot anything.

Well, how do
you know that?

He told me
last night.

Well, that don't
make any sense at all.

I mean, look how happy
he was with the rifle.

You were happy, and he
didn't want to hurt you.

Well, I'll be.

He's a boy.
I just, uh...

he'd love to hunt.

Oh, don't feel bad.

No, I don't.
It's just...

Just don't know that boy as
well as I thought I did.

Well, never no mind.

I guess Carl's big enough
to carry that Winchester.

Besides that,
he wants to go with me.

Well, Isaiah, John Jr.
Does want to be with you.

Oh, what for? All he does is read and
write that poetry of his all the time.

Now, don't be
upset with him.

No, I'm not,
I'm not. It's just...

He doesn't understand
the things I like.

I don't understand
the things he likes.

There ain't much
I can do about that.

I got
work to do. Hyah!


Morning, len!


Isaiah: How are you?

Fine. Fine.

be better. Tad?

Hello, sir.

You better get to unloading
that wagon, tad.

Glad you got here,

We're about to work
ourselves out of materials.

Well, I didn't figure you'd
get to it this quick.

Well, there was a pretty good
chill in the air last night.

Boy and I decided
it's a good time

to get started
getting some venison.

Oh, that
sounds good.

Yeah, I kept him
out of school

so as we can
get this job finished.

He'll learn more in the woods than
he would in that schoolroom anyway.

I suppose he will.

Say, I heard you got you
a fine rifle the other day.

Yeah, I did. It's
a genuine Winchester.

Got it for John Jr.

Ooh. Bet
he's excited about that.

Yeah. Yeah, he is.

Had a chance
to use it yet?

No, no, uh...

We're figuring on going out
first thing tomorrow morning,


Well, I'll give
the boy a hand.

That'd be good.



Hey, you're home
nice and early, Isaiah.

Finish your homework?

No, sir.

Get to it. Told you I wanted to get
started first thing in the morning.

But I thought
that you were...

Never mind what you thought.
Just get started.

Go on.


Heard all I want to hear about it.
The matter's closed.

But this morning...

If I'm going to be a
father to that boy,

he's gonna have
to be a son to me.

Now, he's going hunting
with me tomorrow.

Let me
finish the work.


Come on, Jack.

That old cow was
mighty generous this morning.

More milk here than
we could drink in a week.

Hate to see all that
good milk go to waste.

Just wish there was something
else we could do with it.

Gee, pa,
I don't know.

What could we do with a
lot of extra milk, Mary?

Let me think.

Why don't you all just say
you'd like some ice cream?

We'd like
some ice cream.

Caroline: Well,
we'll need some ice.

No sooner said than done.
I'll hitch up the team.

Mary: Pa, can you give me a
ride by the sandersons'?

John's going to help
me with my essay.

Well, John's not home
this weekend, darling.

He went hunting
with Mr. Edwards.

He said he'd be home
the whole weekend.

Either way, it's a nice day for a ride.
Come on.

Be home early so you
can help with supper.

I will, ma.

Where's your
glasses, Mary?

I don't have to wear
them all the time.

Dr. Burke said so.
Bye, ma.


Be back
as soon as I can.

I know why Mary doesn't
want to wear her glasses.

Caroline: Oh,
you do, do you?

Yup. She wants John to see
her beautiful blue eyes.

Well, what's wrong
with that?


If you have beautiful
blue eyes.


Hyah! Hyah!

Grace: Morning, Charles.


Good morning, Mrs. Edwards.
Is John in the house?

No, Mary. He's off for the
weekend with Mr. Edwards.

Now, see?
What'd I tell you?

Mary: But he said
he didn't have to go.

Uh, Mary,

I've got a pitcher
of lemonade in the house.

Why don't you go in
and have some?

Yeah. Can I, pa?

Sure, you can.

Can Alicia
have some with me?

Oh, certainly.

Come on.

Don't let her
get into the sugar.

Mary: I won't.
Come on.

I tried to tell her
John wouldn't be here.

Charles, I wanted to have a
chance to talk to you alone.

Something wrong?

I wish I knew.
It's Isaiah.

He's not
feeling poorly?

Oh, no. If it was anything like
that, I'd know what to do.

It's the rifle.

The new one
he bought for John?


John's not like most boys,

at least not when
it comes to hunting.

He just couldn't
kill anything,

not even for food.
He just couldn't do it.

And now I saiah's made him
go off on this trip.

Why didn't John just
explain it to him?

He tried.
I tried yesterday.

I thought
he understood, but...

I guess he's just so hurt about
the boy not wanting the rifle.

That doesn't
sound like Isaiah.

Even so,
he'll get over it.

I hope so.

Sure, he will.
You'd be surprised

what a father and son
can get accomplished

on a weekend

You're right.

I'm probably
making too much of it.

It's silly, I guess.

You love 'em both. Nothing
silly about that.

It'll be all right.

How about some lemonade
before you go?

Sounds good to me.

Isaiah: Come and get it!

There you go. Put some
of them on your inside,

then we'll
get started.


What's that?

I had some
things to tell you,

but I didn't know
how to say them.

It's easier for me to
write the way I feel.

Well, um, I'll read it
later on when, uh...

Please read it now.

It's about the hunting.
Part of it is, anyway.

All right.

All right, I read it. Now let's finish
up so we can get started hunting.

Hold it.

Now be careful.


Aah! Aah!

Shoot him!

Aah aah!

Aah! Shoot him!




Get help.

I need help.

It'll be a while
before we know.

He's lost
a lot of blood.

If it were
anyone else,

I'd say there
was no chance.

But that man's
as strong as they come.

We'll just
have to wait.

Some coffee, doctor?

Thank you.

He's strong. He's
gonna be all right.

It's my fault.

Come on. What kind of
thing is that to say?

It's the truth.

I just stood there
and watched.

Mr. Ingalls,
what's wrong with me?

There's nothing
wrong with you, boy.

Then why
didn't I shoot?

He begged me
to shoot.

He kept screaming it
over and over.

And I just
stood there.

John, all kinds of things
go through a man's mind

in a case like that,
all kinds of things.

But I'm not a man.

That's the whole
thing, Mr. Ingalls.

Course you are.

I'm not. Don't you
understand I'm not?

If I were, he wouldn't be
in there dying right now.

Now, I don't want you
to talk about dying.

I just told you
he'd be all right.

It's going to be
all right.

He's going
to be all right.

I... I wanted
to be like him,

but I couldn't.

I wanted him
to be proud of me.

I wanted him
to love me.

He does love you.

No, he doesn't.
I know he doesn't.

Why do you say that?

it's the truth.

I know it's the truth,
and so does he.


Leave me alone,
Mr. Ingalls, please!

Isaiah: Shoot him!

Shoot him!

Shoot him! Shoot him!
Shoot him!

I told you
he was strong.

Come on.

How am I?

You're going
to be just fine.

Remember never to say I'm
as tough as a grizzly bear.

Well, I heard the bear
looks worse than you do.

Well... by the time
I retell it, he will be.

How's John?

He's fine.


Must have scared the
daylights out of him.

I'm sure it did,
but he's just fine.

I had to show him what
a good hunter I was.

Didn't do a very
good job, did I?

You can talk
about all that later.

I want you
to rest now.

Can I see
the children?

Carl and Alicia
are at the Ingalls'.

Now, you do just
what the doctor says.

You close your eyes
and you rest.

Yeah, I'm, uh...

Kind of tired.

He'll sleep now.

Charles: Shh!

That's it.

That's it.
Let it all out.

Oh, I was so afraid.

I know. I know.

I know.

Oh, I'm
all right now.

I'm all right.

Oh, my!

To look
at these clothes,

it's hard to believe that
he's gonna be all right.

A lucky man.

I'll go tell John.

He's not out there. He
must have gone for a walk.

Charles, look.

I found it
in I saiah's pocket.

That's what John
meant last night,

the reason he thought
Isaiah didn't love him.

The boy didn't know that
Isaiah couldn't read.

Surely Isaiah would have told the
boy when he gave him the letter.

Oh, no, never. He made me
promise never to tell.

He was so afraid it would
make him look less to John.

We've got to find
him and tell him.

I will. Is there any special
place that he goes?

Yes. The tree house. He
spends hours up there.

I'll check.




The rifle.

You all right?

Just fine.

Grace was
pretty worried,

you running off
like that.

gonna be fine.


He's gonna be fine.
He's resting easy.

He asked about you
before he fell asleep,

wanted to make sure
you were all right.

I came out here...

I wanted to prove
something to myself.

I had a deer in my sights
standing right over there...

But I couldn't.

I don't blame him
for how he feels about me.

We're just two different
people, that's all.

He loves you.

No, he doesn't.
I know.

It's that letter you
wrote him, isn't it?

How did you know?

Grace found it
in his pocket.

Then you
know I'm right.

He read it...

And it didn't mean
anything to him.

He just stuffed it
in his pocket.

It's not easy to write
something like that.

He can't read.

Isaiah can't read,
and he can't write.

You want him
to be proud of you.

Well, he feels
the same way.

That's why he didn't want you
to know he couldn't read,

because he wants you
to respect him.

You want to be like he is, and
he wants to be like your pa was.

He loves you, boy.

He loves you.

I want to see him.

I want to go home.


How is he?

He just woke up. I'm
fixing him some broth.

Can I see him?

Do you
have my letter?

Can we be alone
for just a minute?


Tried to show you what
a good hunter I was.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

I gave you a letter
the other day.


Yeah, I remember.


I'd like to
read it to you now.

Well, there... there
ain't no need for that.

Yes, there is,
isn't there?


"Dear Mr. Edwards..."

"It seems so funny
writing that... Mr. Edwards.

"I want so much to just
say pa or dad or something,

"but I can't,

"not unless I know
that you want me to,

"and I just don't feel
like you do.

"I guess it's because I can't
be the kind of son you'd want.

"Maybe I could be

"I'll try.

"I'll try as hard as I can
to make you proud of me,

"but I'm afraid now

I know in my heart

that I can't do
what you want me to do."

"Please try
and understand.

Please love me anyway."


My son.

Pa? Pa?

Huh? What?
What is it?


Oh, yeah,
I'm on my way.

What you doing
up there?

Oh, I'm,
uh... Resting.

Father's got a right to
get some rest, ain't he?

Ha ha!