Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 2, Episode 16 - The Runaway Caboose - full transcript

While on a trip to Springfield, Carl Edwards accidentally releases the brake on a caboose that he, Mary and Laura are exploring, sending the lone car and the terrified trio hurtling down the tracks towards an oncoming express train.

I'd give anything to ride
on a train like that.

Mary's been on one.

You have?

Uh-huh. All the way
to Minneapolis.

You're lucky.

And it had an outhouse
on it and everything.


Well, that's
what you said.

Never mind. Come on.

We better keep walking
or we'll be late.

Carl: Your pa going to
Springfield next week?

Mary: Sure. He's going
with your pa.

I wish
we could go.

I wouldn't be able
to get on the train,

but at least I could
see it up close.

Why don't
you ask him?

do no good.

I'd miss
a school day.

But we're
studying railroads.

It'd just be like
some extra special homework.


Mary can ask
our pa.

Why me?

Because you can
put your glasses on

and look serious
when you ask him.

If I ask him, he'll think I
just want to go for fun.

Please, Mary.

I know if your
pa says yes,

mine will, too.

Please, Mary.

Well, all right.

I'll try.

Thanks, Mary.

Mary: Pa,
guess what.

You saw
an elephant.

No. We're studying trains
and railroads in school.

We got a wonderful idea
how to get extra credit.

Oh, yeah?
What's that?

We thought we'd go with you and Mr.

to Springfield and learn
all about trains.

You always say there's
nothing better than

seeing things

Hey, hold on, now.
You'd be missing school.

Not really, pa. It'd be just
like school, only different.

We could
learn a lot.

Well, you can learn just as
much by going to school.

You can learn everything
you have to know.

But Mr. Edwards
is letting Carl go.

Oh, he is?

Yeah. I guess he'll be

the only one
getting extra credit.

Carl, what did
your ma say about that?


She didn't
say anything.

Hmm. Well, if grace
thinks it's all right,

I guess I shouldn't stand in
the way of higher education.

You can go.

- Thanks, pa.
- Thanks, pa.

Come on.

You shouldn't
have lied.

I didn't yet.

What do you mean
you didn't?

You said Mr. Edwards
said Carl could go,

and that his ma
didn't say anything.

Well, all we have
to do is ask him.

If he says Carl can
go, I didn't lie.

Your ma didn't say anything
about it, did she Carl?

Of course not.
She doesn't even know yet.

There. You see? All we have
to do is get him to say yes.


We're in here.

Go on.

Hey, what do you think
of the new curtains?

They're beautiful.

Well, of course
they're beautiful.

You know, I did a lot
of the sewing on th...

Fact is,
I did most of it.

Heh heh!

- Pa?
- Yeah?

Can I ask
you a question?

Fire away.

we're studying

about trains
in school.

And you
and Mr. Ingalls

are going
to Springfield.

I thought...

We thought we could learn a lot
more about trains firsthand

and get
extra credit.

Oh, no,
you can't do that.

You'd miss
too much school.

But our pa's
letting us go.

He is?

Oh, is that... is that true, Mary?
Did your father say that?

Yes, sir,
he did.

He thought it
was a fine idea.

Oh, uh...

What do you think,

Oh, it's up to you. I'm
not gonna say a thing.


All right, but make sure you're
caught up on your chores.

Yes, sir.

Now, get out of here

and let me finish up
with these curtains.

- Thanks, pa.
- Thank you.


All right!
He said yes!

We better get on home.
See you at school.

Ok, see you.

There. You see?
I didn't lie.

Carl: Toot! Toot!

I've got a nicer
one than that,

and I'm gonna bring it
to school tomorrow

and tell the class
about it.

Yeah? Well, I'm going to see
a real train with my pa,

and I might even
be able to ride it.

Who cares?
Better put that back.

Want to really
see something?


Come on.
I'll show you.

Be very quiet.

My folks are
still eating lunch.

What are they?

that's what.

Left over from
the fourth of July.

You mean
those big ones?



You want one?

You mean it?

Yeah. What have
you got to trade?

I got a penknife.

Let's see.

It's kind of crummy.
You got any aggies?

2 at home.

You can have it.


Bring the aggies

I will.
And thanks!

it's all out.

What in the name of heaven
have you been doing?

I... I...

Well, answer me!

Willie gave it
to me!

He gave you what?

A fireworks.

I didn't know
it was that big!

You could have
burned down this barn!

Oh, now, grace, look here.
He said he didn't know...

he could have been killed.

I'm sorry.

There. You see?

Sorry is not enough.

Now go in the house.



Sure did make a bluey, didn't it?
Heh heh.

Every time one of them
does something wrong,

you say, "boys will be boys,"
or, "they're only children."

Oh, now, grace...

Isaiah, they are
only children,

and they have to be punished
when they do something wrong,

or else they'll never think
anything they ever do is wrong.

Well, what do you
want me to do?

It's not something
that I want.

But the boy has got
to learn a lesson.

All right.

I'll, um,

tell him he can't
go on the trip.

Maybe he'll
change his mind.

He wasn't real mad
at first.

Till ma got mad.
Then he really got mad.

He won't change
his mind.

I sure am

Thanks. I should never have traded
with Willie in the first place.

But it was Willie's fault
because it was Willie's idea.

Willie: Hey,
wait up!

Hey, Carl!

Did you bring
the aggies?

What'd I say wrong?

- Morning, grace.
- Charles.

You got any
mail for me?

Oh, yes, indeed.

Here you are.

Ah, a new catalog.

Can't afford to buy
anything that's in it,

but it's free,
and it's fun to look at.

- Charles.
- Yeah.

You know about what
happened with Carl?


Well, I was
very upset,

and now his
little heart's

just about broken
about not going.

Oh, I know.
The girls told me.

I think he's
learned his lesson.

But now I can't get Isaiah
to change his mind.

That surprises me.
He's usually the easy one.

I know.

Trouble is,
I told him that,

and now he's trying to show
me just how firm he can be.

Would you talk
to him, please?

I'll give it a try.

Oh, thank you,

All right.
I'll see you later.


♪ Ol' Dan Tucker
was a fine old man ♪

♪ Washed his face
in a frying pan ♪

♪ Combed his hair
with a wagon wheel ♪

♪ Died with a toothache
in his heel ♪

♪ Get out the way
for ol' Dan Tucker ♪

I'm all through
for the day.

Yeah, me, too.

We ought to get an early
start tomorrow morning.

Well, you name it.

- What do you say I pick you
up at your place, 5.00?

Sounds good.
I'll be ready.

Yeah. Caroline's gonna
make lunches for us.

How many you
gonna be needing?

Ah, just one.

Still haven't changed your
mind about the boy, huh?

No. He's got to
learn his lesson.

I know that, but we
all make mistakes.

First, everybody thinks I'm
too soft with the young ones.

Then the first time I punish them,
they think I'm too hard with them.

I didn't say that.

I told the boy he can't go,
and I'm gonna stick to it.

Do what you
think is right.

I'll see you
in the morning.

All right.

What are you
doing up so late?

I was doing some
extra studying.

With the light out?

Well, I didn't want to
wake up John or Alicia.


Now, you get back
to sleep right now.


And no more studying
without a lamp.

It's not good
for your eyes.

Good night.

Good night.

Good night, pa.

Good night.



Have a good trip

Yeah, I will.

Good night.

Here you are.

Oh, thank you.

What time are you
leaving in the morning?

Bright and early.

You certainly were
quiet at supper.

I had a long day.

Did you see Carl's spelling test?
He got an "a."

Yeah, I saw it.

That boy
certainly is

working hard at his
studies, isn't he?


Well, I best get on to bed.


I don't want to
talk about it anymore.

Well, I'll tell you,

better make some extra sandwiches
for that trip tomorrow.

That boy eats
like a horse.

I will, Isaiah.

Uh-huh. Got yourself
a steam bath, didn't you?

You kids be careful.

Yes, sir.

He done that
on purpose.

No. He wouldn't do that.

Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!

Come on while
he ain't looking.

Are you gonna fill
this tank,

or are we gonna
take root here?

Filling her
as fast as I can.

I want to tell
you something.

When I was riding

I could do it a lot faster
than you're doing it.

They must have had
faster water in the old days.

Oh! You're a regular
comic, aren't you, huh?

Now you do your work and
leave the talking to me.

Valley forge. Yeah.
That's one of hanson's.

It should be. He's got
his name all over it.

Hey, kids,
you having fun?

Sure are, pa.

Mary: We walked clear around
the front end of the train.

Now we're gonna walk
around the back end.

Carl: The engine's
coolin' its steam.

Oh, yeah, they're known to do that
whenever you get too close to them.

Yeah, and we'll be done unloading
in about half an hour.

We'll meet you back at
the station, all right?

Laura: Yes, sir.
See you.

Mary: See you.

Charles: See you.

That's a fine-looking
boy, that Carl, eh?

Well, I've been
listening to you

brag about your
kids long enough.

Now it's your turn
to listen to me.

Well, go right ahead.

Well, that Carl, he's a
wonder with his hands.

You know, last week,
he gets to rebuilding

that ladder up
in the tree house...

Where'd you go?

Mary: I'd go all the
way to California

and never stop till I
see the pacific ocean.

Laura: If you had enough
money, but me, I wouldn't.

I'd go just
the opposite way.

To Boston and New York City
if I had enough money.

Not me.
I'd go way far.

To China.

On a train?

There's an ocean, silly.

Oh, yeah.

You know what
that is?

That's a caboose.

Well, anybody
knows that.

Don't go up there. If the train
moves, you could get hurt.

Girls! Come on,
no one will care.

Toot, toot!

Wait for me!

Hey, look.

Be careful.
You might break it.

Carl: They made it that
way so it won't break.

We shouldn't touch
anything in here.

Don't hurt
to look.


Put those back.

I'm not hurting them.
I'm just looking.

What do you
suppose they are?

I think Mary's right.
You better put them back.

It says "danger" on them,
now, put them back!


All right,
I'll put them back.

But I'd still like
to know what they are.

Nothing dangerous
about these.

Mary: No, they don't
belong to us.

Well, they wouldn't
want this one.

Why not?

I already took a bite of it.
It tastes good!

Hey, we're moving!

We got to
get off!

We can't.
It's going too fast.

Did I tell you
about that fight

- he had at school the other day?
- Yeah.

Oh, well, let me see. He'd come
home here with this shiner.

Course, grace didn't
care much for that.

She tried to get me to, uh, to
say that wasn't good, you know.

But, uh, well, it's hard to do.
But, uh...

- Edwards?
- Huh?

Can you possibly talk about
Carl and work at the same time?

Well, these stories
have gestures in them.

Well, why don't you gesture
with one of these sacks.

Mr. Nelson!
A runaway caboose! Mr. Nelson!

What's going on
out there?

Got a runaway caboose! There's
some kids on a runaway caboose!

What's going on?

It's a runaway caboose
with some kids on it.

- Laura!
- Carl!

Man: Mr. Nelson!
Mr. Nelson!

Nelson: What?
What's the matter?

There's a runaway


With 2 kids on it.

don't stand there!

Go get the conductor!
Go on!

Charles: Hey, our kids are on that caboose!
Get this train started!

I know that, but I can't move
without orders from the conductor.

Well, where is he?

I just
sent for him.

Man: Go!
Get moving!

Get that wagon
out of there.

cut your steam!

What's the matter
with it?

Blew the main hose!

Ah, tore it up.

How bad is it?

Aw, this thing is
busted real bad.

Too hot to handle
right now.

It's gonna take an hour, maybe two,
before we get it rolling again.

We got to get
that caboose!

Conductor: All right.
We'll stop them.

We'll wire
tower junction.

We're going fast.

I don't want to look. It
makes me feel awful queasy.

Me, too, 'cause it
jumps around so much.

It's slowing down!

What I
was thinking.

it'll stop.

Or go slow enough
so we can jump.

Come on, before
it starts going.

You got to
jump, Mary.

I can't.

You got to
jump, Mary.

Hang on to the rails and jump.

Mary: I can't!

got to, Mary!

You'll be all right.

If you want me to,
I'll jump before you.

Jump, Mary!

I can't!
I can't.

doesn't answer.

Homer probably
had to step out.

He'll be back
in a minute.

Now, here is
tower junction.

It's downhill
most all the way

from here
to tower junction.

Homer will open
that switch,

put the caboose
on the mankato line.

That's uphill
all the way then.

Caboose will slow down
like a busted watch.

the caboose now?

Oh, about here.
Cedar creek.

That's the only level piece
of track in the whole loop.

Level? Then it
ought to slow down some.

Not much.
It's a short flat.

Besides, the caboose
will be coming

into it like
the milltails.

It'd be too fast for
the kids to jump.

Will it stay
on the track?

It should.

30 years
of railroading,

I've seen my share
of wrecks.

Caboose always
stuck to the track.

Try that tower again.

Still can't
raise him.

How far
to the tower?

Around the loop?
28 miles.

No, not around the loop.
Cutting across from here.

Oh, it's 3 or 4 miles, but that's rough
country, it's all standing on end.

Isaiah: I'll
unhitch the team.

Homer will be back.
Plenty of time.

Try the tower again.

Just did.
No answer.

Well, you'd better
try sleepy eye,

because that special is due
out of there in 21 minutes.

Man: I tried.
The line's dead.

What special?

Train with all
the big brass riding her.

J. W. Diamond, the president
of the railroad himself.

And all
of his friends.

Well, that train will run right
into the loop and hit the caboose.

No, it won't.
The tower will stop it.

Well, I can't take
that chance.

Edwards will
go to the junction.

I'll ride to sleepy eye
and stop that train.

We'll keep trying.

That wheel.

Do you suppose
it's a brake?

All the cars
have them.

Wagons have brakes.

Why wouldn't
railroad cars?

Need 'em
a whole lot more.

I better try.

I thought of it.

Boys are

you'll fall.

Well, give
me a hand.

I'll help you.

It won't move.


I told you that sleepy
eye line's dead.

Well, you better
keep on trying, hotch.

That special is due
out of there

17 minutes from now.

All I can do is keep
pounding this key.

Can't fix it
from here.

I'll try tower
junction again.

Dadburn it!

It's worse
up here.

But we can see more.

We'll know when it's gonna slow down.
Then we can jump.

I don't like it up here.
It sways too much.

It'd be fun if it
weren't so scary.

Are you scared?

A little.

I'm going
back down.

Wait. I'll get down first,
then I can help you.

I'll help her. You
can stay and watch

and tell us when
to get ready.

And thanks to
the railroads,

our nation is enjoying
its greatest prosperity.

And thanks to
the St. Paul,

and manitoba,

in which I serve
as president

and my son serves
as chairman of the board,

the farmers in this area
can transport their crops

to the mills and elevators
of Minneapolis and St. Paul

and reap the rewards,
which they so richly deserve.

He's a talker.

You listen. I've
heard it before.

My son and I are proud

to be a part of the most
important reason

for the growth
of this nation,

and we will not stop.

We're not slowing
down, are we?

No. If anything,
we're going faster.

It's downhill
as far as I can see.

It's all my fault. If I would
have jumped when you told me to...

It's not your fault. It's mine.

I'm the one who got you on
this thing in the first place.

I'm the oldest. I shouldn't
have let you do it.

You couldn't
have stopped me.

You're a girl.

Well, what's that
got to do with it?

A lot, that's what.

Well, what?

Never mind.

There. You see?
It was my fault.

Was not!

It was both
of your faults.

You feel
better now?

It's going faster.

He's still talking.

We got 4 minutes
and 30 seconds yet.

Get him aboard. We got
to leave right now.

I can't.

Listen. I want
to tell you something.

When railroad men
got people waiting,

they want to
arrive on time.

Well, sure, but...

With these hills we got ahead,
I'm gonna need that 4 minutes.

So get on board, unless
you like being cussed.

All right.


All aboard!


Sorry, ladies
and gentlemen,

time and tide and railroads
wait for no man.




Thought I was gonna get to
read my speech this time.

Didn't you hear
what I just said?

Time and tide and railroads
wait for no man.

But you promised.

Herbert, I didn't get to
finish my speech either,

but I'm not
complaining, am I?


But you never
finish a speech.

You always talk till
the train pulls out.

Herbert, why don't
you sit over there?

You always like
a window seat.

Yes, dad.

Good thing
we left early.

This Ridge cost me
a full minute already.

What's the difference?

I'm gonna make it up or bust
something, that's the difference.

Hey, you!

You the switchman?


We got
a runaway caboose.

It's got
3 kids on it.

We've got to get it on the
mankato siding. Come on!

You got what?

Come on! We got
a runaway caboose!

Oh, lord have mercy!

Come on!
Hurry up!

Come on!
Come on!

Hurry up!
Hurry up!

Oh, lordy!

There it is!

That's my pa!

Hurry up!


Girls: Mr. Edwards!

Wire sleepy eye!

We've got to stop
the special!

Man: Train leaves
at 9:35 A.M.

You best be here
about 10 minutes early.

Yes, sir, what
can I do...

When that special comes in,
you're gonna have to delay it.

There's a caboose running
wild coming down the loop.

The special's left already, mister.
You missed it.

Missed it? It's not supposed
to leave until 10:00.

I know, but
they left earlier.

There's children on that caboose.
If that train hits it...

Man: Got a message
from tower junction.

"Couldn't switch off
the caboose."

That mean anything?

That means they're somewhere
between here and the tower.

Look, it's an uphill grade
all the way out of here.

A man on a fast horse
could possibly catch...

Where's the livery?

Right down
the street there.

He stole my horse!

He's got to
catch a train.

Hey! Where do you
think you're going?

Woman: Aah!
Man: Stop that man!

come back here!

Here, stop that man!

Hey, where do you
think you're going?

- You got to stop the train!
- What?

You got to stop the
train and back it up!

You got to be crazy.

There's a caboose coming down
the loop with kids on it.

What are you
talking about?

You got to
stop the train!

This caboose,
is it all by itself?

Look, mister, if you don't stop this
train you're gonna kill 3 kids.

Listen, I'm gonna
tell you something.

The last time a guy
tried to stop my train,

his friends were
waiting to Rob me.

All right.
You don't stop it, I do.

There it is!

Get it backed up!

That thing's flying.

Well, come on!
Move it!

I'm trying.

Well, I don't know.

A little bit more, and I might
just about match its speed.

Carl: Hey, look!

We're gonna hit it!

That wheel there is a brake.
I know it is.

But it won't turn.

Maybe if we all
do it again.

We have to!

Aren't you scared?

but we have to!

Mary: Harder!

Come on!

Pull it!

It's getting closer!


Laura: Pull!

Mary: Pull it!

They'd better not be standing
out there when we hit.

They won't be. How do I get
on the front of this thing?

The other side. I don't
want you blocking my view.

All right,
but get it going!

All right.

Get back inside!


Back inside!

Hang on!

All together!


Mary: Pull!

Carl: It won't pull!

Get back inside!

Inside and hang on!

It's your pa!

Charles: We're gonna hit!
Get inside and hang on!

What did he say?

I don't know. There's
too much noise.

Get back inside!


Get back inside!

We're gonna hit!
Inside and hang on!

Get back!


You'd better get a hand hold.
She's a-coming.

Once more
and we got her.

They're fine.

Ha ha ha!

Good job, boys.
Good job.

all right?

Everybody's just fine.
Thank you.

young ladies,

you, young man, you had
yourselves quite a ride.

Girls: Yes, sir.

I got to pulling
and pushing things,

and I guess I pulled
the wrong thing.

Ha ha ha!

It'd be a strange
young man who didn't

push and yank when he
had the chance, huh?

I've done it myself.

Only let's hope that next
time, you don't turn

one of my cars loose and upset
all these railroad men.

No, sir.

Well, we... We better
get this train moving.

You kids want to ride back here
in the caboose with your fathers?

- Yes, sir.
- Yes, sir.

As long as it's
hooked to the engine.


Ha ha!