Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 2, Episode 17 - Troublemaker - full transcript

When teacher, Miss Beadle, is deemed unable to control some of the rowdy, older boys in her class, Mrs. Oleson convinces the Walnut Grove school board to replace her with a firmer, male hand. But the new schoolmaster tries to bully his students into submission and singles little Laura out as a troublemaker, blaming and punishing her for the slightest infraction even when she isn't the one responsible.

Ha ha!

No, sven.

Just picking it up,

That's the third time
you've dropped it.

Now I think you should
just leave it there.

It can't fall any farther.


You have work to do.

I'm going to write tomorrow's arithmetic
assignment on the board for all grades.

You'll have time to copy it
before you're dismissed.

Miss beadle is
a good teacher.

But my Nellie and Willie tell me that
she's not a very good disciplinarian.

Now, when the harvest
is over,

and the older boys
come to school,

she'll never be able
to cope.

She did a good job last
year and the year before.

Well, not with
this crop of boys.

Shall we go?


Good grief!

Stop! Now!

Now, you be quiet,
all of you!

Now, get back to you place!
Go on!

Yes, sir.

Get back!

Yes, sir.

Now, sit!

Miss beadle?

Are you hurt?

No, I'm fine.

I'm just fine.

And I was right. You'll
have to admit that.

I don't know whether
this is a schoolroom

or battlefield.

I'm sorry.

It was my fault.


I threw an eraser.

I really am sorry.

You may take your seat,

Yes, ma'am.

Mr. Hanson, Mrs. Oleson, I can
only add my apology to Laura's.

Children, uh,
school is dismissed.

A veritable riot
in our schoolroom.

Tsk tsk tsk.

Two boys wrestling
is not a riot,

but it is not good
schoolroom behavior, either.

Well, I think that
the whole matter

should go before
the school board,

and I believe
that obviously

an emergency meeting
should be called.

We will come to that.

Uh, miss beadle,
the whole school board

has to know about
what is going on,

and you are the one
who can tell them.

Uh, would you come
to the meeting tonight?

Of course.

Thank you.

Until then, miss beadle.

Come along, Mr. Hanson.

There's nothing personal about
any of this, miss beadle.

We're just trying to do the best
we can for pupils and the teacher.

Uh, this, um...

Explosion that, uh, happened
in the classroom today...

Can you tell us
what caused it?

I didn't see it start.

I guess it was... something
triggered a sudden flare of anger.

Do you think
it'll happen again?

I don't know.

Then it has
happened before.

Why, yes,
a few times.

Some of the older boys
are very difficult to handle.

Oh, my, that's
an understatement.

I've tried talking to
their parents about it.

They show
no interest.

When the older boys
act up,

the younger ones
follow suit,

and then they get the
attention that they want.

Harriet: Miss beadle,
you are being paid

to have strict discipline
in this schoolroom.

Mrs. Oleson,
I'm being paid to teach.

Oh? Well, then you can't
very well do that,

can you, if there's
a riot going on in here.

And how would you go about
disciplining a boy

who outweighs you
by 50 pounds

and is a head taller
than you are?

That is not
my problem.

It is yours, and
don't you forget

that the bigger boys will
soon be coming in here

when the harvest
is over.

Mrs. Oleson, please.

Miss beadle,

when the bigger boys
come in from the fields,

will you be able
to control them?

Well, I'll
try my best.

Oh, but you do
have some doubts.

Yes. Yes. I do.

Well, we thank you for
your honesty, miss beadle,

and for coming in

I'm going to be grading papers
until quite late.

I would appreciate your decision
this evening.


Mr. Ingalls. Come in.

Thank you.

Would you like some tea?

No. No, thank you.

I take it they've
made their decision.

Yeah. They...

They decided
that a male teacher

would be better able
to cope with the older boys.

I see.

I know it's very
little consolation,

but the vote
wasn't unanimous.

I'm sorry.

I know.

You know, actually,
I'm relieved.

I was dreading
harvest time.

All those boys coming
back to school... Men.

Perhaps if I had been
a better teacher...

You're a fine teacher.

You can't
blame yourself.

Well, that's the trouble
with being a teacher.

There's no one else
in the schoolroom to blame.

My children painted me
this card last Christmas.

Isn't it beautiful?

"We love you,
miss beadle."

And they all signed it.

"We love you,
miss beadle."

Board wanted to know
if you would stay on

until the new teacher

Of course.

Mr. Ingalls,
I'd appreciate it

if you wouldn't mention it
to the children

until after
the new teacher arrives.

I understand.

I'd better be going.

Mr. Ingalls.



Laura's doing much better
in her fractions,

but I think she needs to work
a little harder on them.

I'll see that she does.

My pa told my ma,
and I heard them.

We're getting a man teacher.

Sven: What's wrong
with miss beadle?

Is she sick
or something?

No, she's not sick.

Mary: Then why are we
getting a new teacher?

Why do you think?
It's Laura Ingalls' fault.

That's not true,
Nellie oleson.

If it's anybody's fault,
it's Willie's.

He started it.

Did not! Did not!

You did too!

It's Laura's fault.

You say that again,
and I'll slap your face!

You try it, I'll pull your
hair out by the roots.

Girls, that's enough!

Now, you have 5 minutes
of recess left.

I suggest you use it for
playing and not fighting.

Yes, ma'am.
Let's go.

Is Nellie right?

Are we going to have
a new teacher?

Yes, Laura.
Tomorrow's my last day.

Pa must have known.

I asked him not to say anything
for my sake.

It was my fault.

I threw that eraser.

No, darling.
It wasn't your fault.

Whoever he is, he won't be as good
as teacher as you, miss beadle.

Well, thank you
very much.

Wonder what the new
teacher will be like.

Real mean,

Why do you say that?

Because that's why
they want a new teacher,

someone big and mean
to scare the older boys.

He'd have to be awful
big to scare Herman.

Who's Herman?

Herman stone,

just moved into
the old Harrison farm.

I saw him
the other day.

He's tall enough to look
down at the top of a silo.

Well, he better not pick
on me, or I'll kick him.

You just stay
out of trouble.

You heard what ma
said tonight...

Do your best and try to help
the new teacher all you can.

I will.
Good night.

Good night.

You know something?


I'll bet that Nellie oleson
brings the new teacher an apple.

Hee hee! You're
probably right.

Maybe he'll
hate apples.

Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!

Yeah. Ho ho ho!

Good night.
Good night.

Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!

Should be any minute.

I sure hope it comes
before the bell rings.

Here it comes.

Here it comes.


Bye, miss beadle!
Hurry back!


Good morning.



My name is Mr. Applewood.
It's written on the board.

As you all know by now,

miss beadle is no longer
your teacher.

I am.

From this moment forward,

this classroom
will be run by me.

Is that clear?


So that there is no mistake
in the future,

there will be certain new rules
which you will all abide by...

Without deviation.

Those rules are as follows.

You will speak
only when spoken to.

No one is to leave his seat
without permission.

There will be no whispering,
no writing of notes.

Any assignment or test paper handed in with an
erasure on it will receive a failing grade.

Every assignment will have
the student's name and grade

clearly written in the upper
right-hand corner.

If that is not exact,

that student will receive
a failing grade.

It's very simple.

Any student caught cheating
will receive a failing grade...

And will have no recess
or lunch hour for one week.

Is everyone clear so far?




I have also heard that
there has been a, um...

Disciplinary problem
in this classroom.

Let me assure you...

That... is no longer true.

Now, I think
I've made myself clear.

Let's see how well
you understand.

As your first lesson for today,

you will write down the rules
I have just given you.


Laura Ingalls?

Yes, sir?

What do you have
under your hand?

Just a piece of paper.

Piece of paper, huh?

Bring it to me.


Did I tell you
to stop studying?!

Hold out your hand.

For being tardy...

For writing
and passing notes.

But I didn't.

Oh, it just got there on your
desk by magic, is that it?

Well, no, sir.

That's what I thought.

Since you like to write,

you're going to do
a lot of it.

School is dismissed,

except for those who still have
work on the blackboard.

And I was so busy writing,

that I didn't have time
to study my spelling,

and it just meant I had to stay
after school and write.

Just wasn't fair.

This long division
sure is hard.

Yeah, now wait a minute,

You haven't finished telling me
about the problem at school.

Now, did you to explain to Mr.
Applewood that it wasn't your note?

I tried to.

He wouldn't
listen, pa.

Now, in my experience,

teachers always try
to be very fair.

Your mother's right,

When Mr. Applewood finds out
what a good student you are,

things will be
a lot better.

I sure hope it's soon.

All that writing's
getting me behind.

29 into 114...


I am truly grateful
that you allow me

to share my suppers
with you.

It's the least we can do.

Well, it's our pleasure.

I always feel that the only thing harder
to find in walnut grove than good food

is intelligent talk.


Mr. Applewood,

I don't like
to carry tales...

Then don't.

May I be excused?

No, Willie.

Nels, I feel that we owe it
to Mr. Applewood.

And I appreciate
your help.

Laura Ingalls is
a little troublemaker.

Harriet, I think
you're exaggerating.

I am only stating
a simple truth.

Well, I have always
found her to be

very pleasant
and well-behaved.

Well, you haven't been around
when she's been up to her tricks!

Isn't that so, children?

Yes'm. May I be excused?


She does whisper
a lot.

She was kind of
miss beadle's pet.

Ahh. Well,
I thank you all.

is forearmed.

Sven: Gee, uh, I'm sure sorry about
passing that note yesterday.

You're sorry?

I got punished.

Well, I talked to
the other guys, and, uh,

we're going to help you get even
with that old crab applewood.

Please don't.

But we want to.

If you're my friend,
you won't do anything.

I am your friend. That's
why I want to help.

No. I'm in trouble

Time's up.

Willie oleson,
will you collect the papers?


Come up here!

You are an hour late. You missed
your history examination.


Kings and battles
don't mean nothing.

Not if you know how
to plant and plow,

how much they're paying
for corn.

A know-it-all, huh?

Well, I think
I can teach you

to be on time
for school.

Put out your hand.

Get back to work,
all of you!

Hold out your hand.

Teach you
to come late.

Taught me you can't
hit hard enough to tickle.

Go back to your seat.


Reason I was late,

one of our cows
was birthing.

Laura Ingalls,

since you don't seem to have
enough work to occupy your mind,

I will give you
some more work.


Hey, you all right?

Yeah. Yeah,
I'm all right.

Have some.

Thanks, Herman.

Mary: Hi, sven.

Been looking for you.

I've been right here.

That crab apple.

Herman just laughed
at him.

That's why he's been
picking on you.

He's going
to be sorry, too.

Please, sven.
No tricks.

After what he done
to you?

He's been nice
to me today.

Nice? He gave you a flunk on
your homework, didn't he?

For him, that's nice.

I got to go.

I'm going to study
my spelling.

Hey, man, we'll go
over there tomorrow...

Or after school

Sure, why not?

All students,
paper and pencils.

Destruction of property,
and you think it's funny?

Well, I don't!

Laura Ingalls, come here.

You're expelled.
Go home.

Mr. Applewood,


what's the matter?


Hey, wait a minute.
Wait a minute.

Now, come on.
What's the matter?

He expelled me, pa.
He sent me home.

Well, why did he
expel you?

He said that I put...

Ink all over
his papers.

But I didn't, pa.
Honest, I didn't.

All right, now.

Now, it's going to be
all right.

I believe you.

Now, don't you worry.
It's going to be all right.

You just go wash up.

I love you.

I love you, too.

Caroline: She got off
on the wrong foot

from the moment Mr. Applewood
came into the school.

I know. I'll talk to
him in the morning.

Of course, she's not
the student Mary is,

but she does try hard.

I know she does.

Mary does say
that he's unfair.

Mary would say that

about anybody
that hurt Laura.

Yes, but I know she didn't
pour ink in his satchel.

I know that,

and that's
one of the things

that I'm going
to tell him

in the morning.

Charles, you have been
known to lose your temper.

Now, if you do, you could make
things even worse for Laura.

I'll be very nice
to him...

In the morning.

Good night.

Good night.

been fine here?

How's your reading

Girl: Fine.

Will you excuse me?

And will you
come visit me?

Miss beadle.

Oh, Mr. Ingalls,
good to see you.

When did you get back?


How was your trip?

It was fun, but am I
glad to be back.

We missed you so much.

Well, that's
nice to know.

How's school?

All right.

Just all right?

Laura, I know you have trouble
with fractions.

Now, if you need some help,
you come see me, ok?

You, too, Mary.

We will,
miss beadle.


We're glad you're home. Maybe you
can have supper with us this week.

Oh, I'd love that.

I'll tell Caroline.

Good. Give her
my best, will you?

I certainly will.

miss beadle.

Bye, miss beadle.


Ruined. Totally ruined.

Your daughter didn't like
the mark I gave her.

She was alone
in this room.

One plus one,
Mr. Ingalls.

Of course, there are
two doors to the school.

Were you in a position to watch
both of them all the time?

What are
you getting at?

Just that it was
my understanding

that you were out in
front of the building.

Yes. Yes, I was.

Well, then it
is possible

someone could have
come in the back door...

Before Laura came
in the school.

This is a bare
possibility. Yes.

There is a possibility.

I mean, they could have come in,
spilled the ink, and then left.

My daughter said she didn't
do it, and I believe her.

Yes, well, in the
absence of clear proof

one way or the other,

Laura, you may
return to school.

Thank you, sir.

And you may ring
the bell.

It's time.

Yes, sir.

I'm not saying she doesn't
do a few things wrong,

but she usually
tells the truth.

Thank you.
I better be going.

I, uh, may have acted with
undue haste, Mr. Ingalls.

I do hope this puts
matters right.

It does. Thank you.

Good. Now I must get
back to my children.

See you at home,

Bye, pa.


Get out! Get out!

He's coming!


Herman, come up here!

What for?

To apologize for
destroying my property,

to clean up the mess
you've made,

and to be punished.

No. Not me.

In this classroom, when the bell
rings, you will do as I say.

Herman, come here!

No, sir.

Then I will come to you.

He didn't do it.

Well, Laura Ingalls.

You say Herman
didn't do it,

then you must
know who did.

You say Herman's not guilty.
Then, who is?

Quickly. Tell me.

You know who did it,
and yet you refuse to tell.

That means you're
protecting someone,

and that someone
must be yourself.

You did it!

Hold out your hand.

Dump another book,
and you're all expelled!

As for you, young lady,
hold out your hand.

Just a minute.

Mr. Ingalls, what, uh...

What brings you here?

My daughter forgot
her homework.

Mary, Laura,
I want you to go home.

You find me in
an awkward moment.

I'm having a, uh...

Small problem here.

I heard your small problem
all the way down the street.

Mr. Ingalls!
I'm talking to you!

I am in complete
charge here.

I will not tolerate
interference in my classroom.

If you want to talk
to me,

I'll be available
after school hours.

I'll be here and so
will the school board.

I'll see to that.

Humph! Every parent
with a problem child

wants to hire
a new teacher.

Mr. Applewood, I think
the teacher's the problem.

How dare you
come into...

You owe my wife
a thank you.

She asked me
to be nice to you.

There is only one way to keep
order in a classroom,

and that is discipline.

At times, harsh discipline.

See, I can make these children
toe the line,

but only if I'm given
a free hand.

I cannot do it
if parents interfere.

And I say again that Mr. Ingalls has
launched these charges against me

because of
his daughter's failure.

Now, I deeply,
deeply resent that.


Charles: Mr. Applewood, why
is my daughter failing?

Mr. Ingalls, I hardly think
this is the time or place

to go into your
daughter's grades.

Well, there must be
a reason.

Yes, yes. Some students do
not do as well as others.

I have a folder here that I
received from miss beadle.

It has some test papers and a
progress report on my daughter.

Would you look at it,

I see no reason.

I'm only concerned with
your daughter's work

since I have been
her teacher.

Well, so am I.
Very concerned.

Because I'm just
trying to figure out

how my little girl could go from
above average grades to failure.

Perhaps because
she's not trying.

She's not trying.

Let me read some
of the report to you.

"Laura Ingalls is
a hardworking student.

"Her weakest subject is
mathematics, mainly fractions.

"However, Laura's improved
greatly in mathematics

"due to her
exceptional effort.

She is a fine student and a
pleasure to have in my classroom."

Must we listen
to all this?

You got this report from
miss beadle, am I correct?

That's correct.

Oh. Well,
there's your answer.

I'm sure that
miss beadle would like

to have her teaching
position restored to her,

and therefore would write anything
about a student to discredit me.

I'm afraid that I tend to agree
with Mr. Applewood.

Someone trying to gain back
employment might write anything.

I agree with you,
Mrs. Oleson.

Nels, do you have the resume Mr.
Applewood sent us?

Nels: Yes.

Oh. Thank you.

The, uh... The resume.

It is in your handwriting,
isn't it?

Of course.

Well, I won't go through
all the glowing reports

of your past teaching

You taught at a very, very impressive
number of schools. Very impressive, indeed.

Well, I hardly see
what that, uh...

Well, it's very impressive.
It's just very long.

Why'd you leave
your last job?

I was, um...

Not satisfied with,

Aspects of the job.

And the job before that?

Personal reasons.

I-I'm not on trial
here, Mr. Ingalls.

Of course not,
but you just said yourself

that a man will write almost anything
in order to gain a position.

Are you saying I made
false statements there?

No, I am not. I'm saying
we're a small town

and we needed a teacher

and we took your resume
on face value.

I think we should send for your
references from your former employers.

How dare you!

I... I came to this town because
I thought I could help you,

to give you the... the... the kind of
teaching and discipline you need,

but... instead
of appreciation,

I get suspicion.

You promised me
a free hand

to teach this school
as I saw fit.

Now, if that has changed,
I want to know now.

Mr. Applewood,
Charles is not suggesting...

I know what
he's suggesting!

To get reports on me!

Over a child
o-once reprimanded!

No, that is not so!

I have seen the likes
of you before.

You want the children
to toe the line,

but you are afraid
to discipline them!

There must be order!
There must be routine!

There must be

and those rules must
apply to all students!

You cannot alter
those rules.

You cannot...

You cannot change
that order.

I must have order.

My resignation will be on
the desk in the morning.

Mr. Ingalls, come in.

I know it's late, but I
saw your light was on.

We had a meeting at school
today, as you know.


To make
a long story short,

Mr. Applewood didn't work out.
He resigned today.


We need a new teacher, and we're
hoping you'll take the job.

See, the board thought
all it would take

is somebody with
a strong hand,

and they know now
they were wrong.

They all want you back.

After everything
that's happened, I...

I don't blame you
if you say no,

but please
think about it.

I want to come back more
than anything in the world.

Those are my children,
and I love them, but...

I don't think I can.

Miss beadle, no teacher
can do it alone.

We know that now.

The parents and the children
are going to have to help you.

Oh, if I could only
be sure of that.


You told that to
Laura enough times.

All you can do is try.

I'll be there
in the morning.

Thank you.

What'd she say?

Said she'd be in school
first thing in the morning.


I want you two to
come on in the house.

I want to have a little
talk with you.

Did we do
something wrong, pa?

Uh-uh. No. We're going to do
something right.

I made miss beadle a promise that
tomorrow when you go to school,

I want you to have a little talk
with the rest of the children.

Sorry, teacher.

Won't happen again.

Thank you, Herman.

I'm very happy
to hear that.

Yes, ma'am.