Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 2, Episode 21 - Soldier's Return - full transcript

Coming home after 12 years of performing with a busy Philadelphia orchestra, Mrs. Whipple's troubled son, Granville, hopes that the peace of Walnut Grove will help him shake the nightmares and the morphine addiction that resulted from an incident during the Civil War Battle of Shiloh.


Good afternoon,
young ladies.


That was sure pretty music
you were playing.

Man: Thank you.
Thank you very much.

I never saw so many
musical instruments.

Do you
play them all?

I'm supposed to.

Laura, that's nosy.

You're not supposed to
ask a question like that.

It's all right.

It's all right.
I got a question myself.

Can you girls tell me where I
can find the whipple place?

Mrs. Whipple?
You know Mrs. Whipple?

Amanda whipple.
That's my ma.

I'm her son granville.

Granville. She talks
about you a lot.

Mary works
for Mrs. Whipple.

Ah! Then you can tell me
just where to find her.

This place has changed
a lot since I was here.

Sure. Just follow this
road right past the pond.

Thank you.

Since you're working for my ma,
I'm... I'm sure I'll be seeing you.


Ingalls. This is
my sister Laura.

It's a pleasure
meeting both of you.

Thank you.

Hey, my book!

Gee, Laura, Mrs. Whipple's
going to be so happy.



Oh, granville!

Oh, my son!

Just come in here, put your
things wherever you like.

There's plenty
of drawer space.

I've just been using your drawers
to store some bedclothes

and sewing things.

Now I'll get some fresh
sheets, put them on the bed,

and you
can rest easy.

There something
wrong, son?


This old bugle.

How did you
ever get it?

Oh, the army doctor gave that to
me when you were in the hospital,

and I figured that you just might
want it when you came back home.

Of course, if it
brings bad memories...

No, no, ma.
It's fine.

Just thoughtful, you keeping
it all these years.

I kept it for me.

You know, a mother likes to have
her boy's things around her.

Granville, has your leg
been troubling you again?

No, no. The leg's fine.

And you don't have to
worry about that morphine.

I... I wasn't
doubting you, son.

It's been 9 months since
I touched any of it,

and that's
the truth.

I just...

Keep enough around that
I know it's there.

I won't shame you
with it, ma.

I ne... otherwise, I never
would have come home.

Shame? What are you
talking about?

You won this fine medal,
didn't you?

And you were wounded.

And... and the... when
the pain was so terrible,

that medicine
they gave you...

The doctor himself said that you
couldn't help it if you craved it.

Ma, ma, listen.
I don't need it anymore,

and I don't want you
worrying about it.

No worry
now that you're home.

The worry was when
I didn't know where you were.

I didn't know
what was happening to you.

Oh, granville!

I'm so happy and proud
that you've come back home.

I didn't know what to do.

I'm glad I'm home, ma.

I can't wait to go by
Mrs. Whipple's tomorrow.

Yeah, I'll bet she's
happy, sure enough.

How long has he
been away, Mary?

Since the war,
but he wrote to her.

She reads his letters
over and over.

12 years
is a long time.

Mrs. Whipple said
he was a hero at silo.

He won a medal.

That's Shiloh, dear.

Yeah, Shiloh.

He even got a letter
from general Grant.

That was a pretty costly
action for both sides.

An awful lot
of men died.

I guess.

He was in the hospital
for a long time.

Mrs. Whipple went all the way
to Philadelphia to see him.

That's where he's been, playing
in an orchestra there.

Mmm. And he taught music, too.

Carrie's all
tucked in, ma.

Thank you, dear.


You're going to teach me how to
play the fiddle, aren't you?

Soon as you get big enough
in the britches.

Well, if I'm big enough to tuck
Carrie in and do my chores,

I'm big enough
to play the fiddle.

So you are.
We'll start tomorrow.

Thanks, pa.

Did you ever fight
in a war, pa?

No, Mary, and I pray to
god I never have to.

Well, I bet you'd be
a hero and win a medal.

But I think most men would trade any
medal to forget the memory of war.

And speaking of war, I thought
you had some history homework.

Mary's using
my book.

All finished.

Thanks, Mary.

What are you studying
in history now?

Same old thing.
Dead people.

Harriet: Good morning,
Mrs. Whipple.

Good morning,
Mrs. Oleson.

This is my son

and he's come home all the
way from Philadelphia

to stay with me.

Oh, Philadelphia! Well, how nice, Mr.

Well, the fact is, it's been
some time since I was there.

I've been traveling.

Oh, don't be so modest,

He tends to hide his light
under a bushel.

Mrs. Oleson, he's played
with the best orchestras there.

Oh! My, how interesting.

Well, walnut grove certainly
could use a little culture.

Ha ha ha!

I... I... I don't know
about culture,

but I... I was hoping to
give some music lessons,

and ma thought
you might allow me

to post this notice
in your store.

"Instruments furnished.
Inquire Amanda whipple."

Well, of course.

As a matter of fact, I have two
excellent students for you...

My own Nellie
and Willie.

They're both very
musically inclined.

Well, thank you,
Mrs. Oleson.

I hadn't expected to
find students so soon.


Well, to be quite
truthful with you,

I'm afraid you won't find very
many parents in this town

who are very appreciative.

The fact is,
I am the only one

who has had any formal
musical training here.

Ha ha ha!
Voice, actually.

Well, then, I'll have to
hear you sing sometime.

Oh! Ha ha ha!

Mrs. Oleson,
thank you very much,

and I'll be glad to see the
children anytime after school.

Oh, yes, certainly.

Well, I'll... I'll post
this for you. Good-bye.

My! You're doing
very well, Nellie.

Now I want you to practice this
exercise exactly as I showed you,

one hour every day.

Yes, sir, but I may not
need an hour every day.

My mother says it probably
won't take me as long as most.

Would you like to finish
that piping, dear?

Yes, ma'am.

Mary, are you here
to take a lesson, too?

No. I'm doing some sewing
for Mrs. Whipple.

Mrs. Whipple: And a fine
young seamstress she is, too...

The best I ever run into.

That's all right,
I guess,

but my mother thinks
music is more important,

and Mr. Whipple says I'm
going to be very good.

Aren't I,
Mr. Whipple?

Yes. You're going
to do just fine,

but no one, no one can
play without practicing.

Don't worry. I will.

You know, ma,
Nellie may be right.

This seamstress of yours maybe
should take some music lessons.

Mary: I don't think
I'd be very good.

Mrs. Whipple:
Oh, nonsense, child.

Mary is
a very good student.

She works real hard
for me,

and she earns money
for her family.

Mary, the truth is, you might be
just the student I'm looking for.

Mr. Whipple,
I like music very much,

but I can't pay
for music lessons.

Won't have to if you can
print as well as you stitch.

I'll give you music lessons if
you'll write music sheets for me.

You mean all I have to do
is just print?

Oh, it's not easy. Musical notes
have to be copied just so.

Uh, I'll need new sheets
each week,

and the more students I get,
the more work there'll be.

I don't care!

I'd love to learn to
play... Something, anything!

I think that I've
got just the thing.

What do you think?


Oh, yes!

Then we begin.


Charles: All right.

I didn't do
too good, huh?

Yeah, well, you can't
expect to be real good

till you practice some more.

Then I'm going to
practice every day.

That's what
I like to hear.

Now, you do that, you'll be playing
better than me in no time.

Want to try it again?


Hey, Mary!

Should have gotten here
a little bit sooner.

You missed
half-pint's first lesson.

Laura's not the only one
taking lessons.

Mr. Whipple's giving me
lessons on this.

What is it?

Come inside.
I'll show you.

Let's go see
what she's got there.

Here, pa.


Hi, ma.

Hi. What have you
got there, Mary?

Mr. Whipple calls it
a toy piano.

He says I'll be able
to play a real one

after he
teaches me this.

Mary, I thought those
lessons cost 50 cents.

They do, but Mr. Whipple needs
music sheets for his students,

so he said if I did the printing for
him, he'd give me free lessons.

Well, I'll be darned.

Charles: Let me
take a look at those.

Oh, he's so nice, pa.
You'd really like him.

Play something.

I think
that's very good.

It sure is. Can you read
the notes on there?

Uh-huh. It's easy. And with all
the copying I'll be doing,

I'm going to learn
a lot more fast.

I'll tell ya, half-pint,
in no time at all,

Mary's going to be
giving us lessons.

You already know
how to play, pa.

Well, sure I do,
but I can't read music.

It looks like a bunch of chicken
tracks on a barbed-wire fence to me.

Speaking of chickens, someone
has some chores to do.

All right, ma.

Come on, Carrie.

That was awful nice of Mr. Whipple
to give her free lessons.

I'll have to look him up
and thank him.

Oh, that won't
be necessary.

I saw Mrs. Whipple
in town today.

She and her son are coming
over for dinner on Saturday.

Oh, Saturday, huh?

Well, we'll just see
if a city musician

can keep up
with a country fiddle.



losing me!


Charles: Whoo!

Caroline: Wonderful!

My fiddle and I

You two
were wonderful!

You were good, pa.

Thank you,

Play us
another song.

I wish I could.

I'm afraid I busted
one of my strings.

Caroline: Oh!

I don't know.

Maybe not. I may
have one in the wagon.

Hey, I'd
appreciate it.

Mrs. Whipple, will you
have some pie now?

Let's help!

Oh, you are
too hospitable!

I had a feeling music ran
in the family, Charles.

Mary is far and away the
best student I have.

I want you to know
how Caroline and I

appreciate what
you're doing for her.

Oh, it's my pleasure. Besides,
I couldn't do without her.

Mary is
a hard worker.

There's nothing
I hate worse

than the job
she's doing for me.

Here we are.

There you go.

I understand you got
a lot of students now.

Yeah, mostly
due to her.

She's corralled half the
kids in the school.

Ah, that's my Mary.

Glad things
are going well.

It couldn't be better.

Funny, you know?
When I left,

there wasn't much here...
Just a few farms.

The army
looked real good.

I spent
the last dozen years

looking for what
was here all the time...

People you care about,

hope they
care about you.

I guess that's kind of hard to
understand, a man like you...

Family and all.

Not at all.

I think
I understand real well.

There we go.

to try it again?

Why not?
I can't get any worse.

feel bad, Charles.

I've known so many players
felt the same way.

No, no.
No, thank you.

All right.

Now here, get your instruments up.
He's here.

Now you play
your scales.

When I give you
the signal,

your whatever...

Whatever it is
you do.

Oh! Well, Mr. Whipple!

I didn't know that you
and your mother were here.

Mrs. Oleson.

Well, it sounds
like Nellie's

doing very well
with her practice.

Hmm? Oh, yes.

My, they are
working so hard.

It is so gratifying
to know

that they share
my love of music.

Nellie: Stop that!

Stop your own self.
It's not my fault.

I didn't want to play
this dumb old horn anyways.

Excuse me.

Woman: Granville!

Granville whipple.

Mrs. Whipple:
Well, granville,

you remember
Vera Collins.

That's Roy's wife.

Oh, forgive me. I should
have recognized you.

it's not your fault.

I mean, after all,
it's been 12 years.

Uh, this
is Roy junior.

never met him.

Roy junior,
this is Mr. Whipple.

Granville was the hero of
your father's regiment.

Yes, ma'am!

How do you do,

In the letters
my pa sent home,

he said you were the best bugler
in the whole blamed army.

Vera: He looks a lot like
his father, doesn't he?

Roy junior never
knew his father,

but he's read
those letters over

till they're
nearly worn out.

Sure have.

I sure would like to talk to
someone who was with him.

Well, I..

Vera: Why don't we
just save all of this

and you come over to
our house for supper?

You will come,
won't you?

That would be
very nice, wouldn't it?

Yes, yes, yes, very soon.

Good. Amanda, will you look
at some yard goods with me?

I've got a pattern and I've
got some trouble with it.

Mrs. Whipple:
Well, of course, dear.

Mr. Whipple?


They said you were
going to teach music.

I sure would like to study
with you on the bugle.

No. No, no.
I'm sorry.

I... uh, I'm afraid the only one
I have is beyond playing.

Oh, but I got my own.

They sent me pa's
when he was killed.

I can play it some,
but nowhere as good as you.

A bugle's not a sound
I like hearing anymore.

I always wanted to be
a soldier, a bugler,

and pa wrote
that was his choice.

That's 'cause
you were his friend.

You were with him,
weren't you?


With pa... At Shiloh...

When he died.

He said you two
always stuck together,

like flypaper.

called you the twins.

We, uh...

We got separated
that day.

Battles are...
Are like that.

Everything happens
so quickly.

The noise,
the smoke...

Bet if you were there,
you would have saved him.

Pa always said
buglers are the bravest,

'cause they're up
at the front.

Isn't that right?

Yeah, yeah,
I suppose.

Tell my ma
I'll see her at the house.

Good-bye, sir.

My goodness! That post
from Minneapolis

is just getting
faster and faster.

Would you believe that I
only ordered this last week,

and here it is?

And you will be pleased to hear that Mrs.
Edwards down at the post office

said that she tells
everyone that comes in there

about the lessons
you're giving.

Well, that's... that's, uh,
that's very nice of her.

I'll... I'll... I'll
make sure to thank her.

Are you going out?

Yeah, just... just
to the store.

Well, what about
the oleson girl's lesson?

I have
a few minutes.

Oh. Oh, all right.

Hello, Mary.

Good day,
Mrs. Whipple.

I finished all the music
sheets you asked for.

Well, just put them
on the table.

I thought you might
want to look at them.

It's the first time
I've done any eighth notes.

I'm not sure
I got them right.

It's wrong. You did them...
You did them wrong.

It's all right.
I'll... uh, I'll fix it.

I don't mind
doing them over.

No, no, no, no. Evidently you...
You don't understand it.

I'm sorry.

I told you exactly
how I wanted them done.

Music is written one way,
the right way,

and if you can't do it, I'll just
have to find someone who can.

I'll do them over.

You should have done them right
the first time.

You've not only wasted time,
you've wasted paper.

Granville! Mary said
she'd do them over!

Uh, that
will be 75 cents.

I believe I have
the right change.


75 cents.

Thank you very much,
Mrs. Foster.

And do give my best
to Mrs. Oleson.

I certainly will.
Good day to you.

Good day.

Can I help you,
Mr. Whipple?

Uh, yes. I was looking
for the morphine.

Oh, I'm afraid
we don't have any.

Uh, some laudanum, then.

Well, we haven't stocked
any heavy painkillers...

No opium or morphine...
For more than a year now.

Well, I never heard of a store
that didn't carry morphine.

Now, what do people
around here do for pain?

You have to see
Dr. Baker now.

He's the one that asked us to
take those drugs off the shelf.

Says that folks
that use that stuff

are liable to hurt
themselves worse

than what was paining them
in the first place.

And, uh, where... where
would I find him?

His office is down
behind the post office.

I saw him earlier,
so he ought to be there.

Well, listen, if
you're not too bad off,

I got some headache
powders here.

Some folks say
they're pretty goo...

Mr. Whipple,
I would like to play...

I thought
I made it clear.

I don't intend
to teach the bugle.

Well, I just want to show
it to you, that's all.

I thought maybe
that you'd...

Now, listen, I don't
care what you thought.

I don't want to see it.
I don't want to hear it.

I'm sorry.

Roy, Roy, Roy,
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

No inflammation.

Appears the surgeon
did a fine job.


Um, yes... at Shiloh.

I handled a few
of those myself.

You can put
your shoe back on.

That's a long time for it
to be causing you pain.

What do you use for it?

Uh... uh, morphine.

That's a heavyweight
painkiller for a leg ache.

Well, I... I... I haven't taken
any in about 9 months.


I'll get you
something for it.

This is a new prescription they've
been using up in Rochester,

handles most pain
pretty well.

It's not morphine.

No, no, but it doesn't cause
the problems morphine does.

I told you I need... i
need morphine.

You also told me you hadn't
taken any for 9 months.

That's right. That's right.
I haven't had any.

Mr. Whipple,

I've seen enough dependence
on drugs to read the signs.

Look at your hand.

About the only way you'll
stop that trembling for good

is to fight it through
without morphine.

You don't care.
You don't care.

You doctors cause it,
and you don't care.

Oh, I care.

But you're right.

We didn't know enough about
morphine, and we still don't,

but I do know what It'll do for
you if you take it long enough.

You can't know.

You haven't
been there.

Take this.


And I'll help you
any way I can.

Uh-huh, now keep your
medicine, doctor.

I'll get...
I'll get my own.

Charles: Mary?

Been looking all over for you.
Time for supper.

All right, pa.

Where's your little piano?
Did you forget it?

I left it
at Mrs. Whipple's.

I'm not going
to play anymore.

You're not going
to play? Why not?

I'd just as soon
not talk about it, pa.

All right. Get
your books and come on.


What do you do when
you like someone

and it turns out they just
don't like you at all?

Well, Mary, I might
be able to tell you

if I had some idea
who this someone was.

Mr. Whipple.

He just hates me.

Come on.
You can't mean that.

He told me you were
his prize student.

Not anymore.

I made a mistake
on the music sheets,

and I tried to tell
him I was sorry.

He wouldn't
even listen!

He never wants to
see me again... ever.

Are you sure you didn't
misunderstand him?

You didn't
see him, pa.

He was so angry.

I'll tell you, Mary.

We all have
our bad days sometimes,

and days we just
can't get along.

We say an awful lot
of things we don't mean.

You don't think
he meant it?

I'm sure he didn't.

Mr. Whipple's gone through an
awful lot of sadness in his life,

what with the war.

He's moved to a new town. He's
trying to make new friends.

I think those new friends are going
to have to be patient with him.

I want to be his friend.

And he wants
to be yours.

I'll bet you he tells you
first chance he gets.

Think so?

I know it.

How about a little smile
before supper, huh?

That's better.
Come on.


Granville? Son?


Mama, don't.



Oh, granville!

I... I need it, ma.

Now what are we
going to do?

I don't know where
to find the blame.

You were doing so well.

It had nothing
to do with you, ma.

Is it... is it
your leg, son?

It must be
in terrible pain

to throw away
9 months of trying.

Uh-huh. Mama,
I'm sorry, but I, uh...

Mama, I got to... I got to
go away.

Go away?

You were so happy here.

I... I wa... I was
for a little while.

Well, there
must be a reason.

Ma, I... please.

You tell me I'm going
to lose my son again,

and you won't even
tell me the reason why?

Hey, ma...
Ma, this.

This should
be enough.

Yes, that!

That little
white powder!


You had the courage
to win this.

Now, if you'll stay here,
then I'll help you.


I didn't earn
this medal, ma.

I'm no hero,
and I never was.

I was just the
only one left alive.

That was god's choosing.

Now it's
god's choosing?


I'm alive
because I ran!

When the cannons
started that day,

I just...
I ran and ran,

and then I... then I... I hid
till it was all over.


Cowardice, ma.

That's punishable
by death.

No. There's no medals
in it, no bugles.

Granville, everyone
is afraid sometime.

Roy Collins
wasn't afraid.

He tried to stop me.

He was my best friend,

and I ran out on him.

And when I came back,
he was just... he was just

lying there
and looking at me.

And I could feel
the death on his hand.

And then... and then...
And then

when I saw his son...

The only way to stop
running from a shame

is to face it.

Now, there's no shame
in truth.

We all get scared
in this life.

Oh, I love you.

I need you.

And I want my son
whole again.

I got to tell him.

Ma, you're right.
I got to tell him.

Roy's son has... has to know.

Then I won't ever
have to hide anymore.

He looks just like his pa.

It'd be like I was
telling Roy.

I... I got to do it now.

Let me go with you.
No, ma.

No, it's got to be
just like that...

That day.

All alone.

I love you, ma.

Charles: Hi, doc!

Morning, Charles.


Will you
take a look at this?

What's the matter?

Someone broke into
my office last night.


You shouldn't have too much
trouble fixing this lock.

Hmm! Morphine.

You know Mrs. Whipple and her
son fairly well, don't you?

Sure. Granville?

Yeah. I'd appreciate it if
you'd go over there with me.

She may need someone.

I know what he did
was a terrible thing,

but everything's
going to be all right now.

And he'll pay the damages,
Dr. Baker.

I'm not worried about the damages, Mrs.

It's granville
I'm concerned about.

You said he rode out
to the Collins' place.

Yes, early
this morning.

That trip shouldn't take
more than an hour both ways.

Well, and I've been expecting him
for the last couple of hours.

I think I ought
to take a ride out there.

If you don't mind, I'd like
to go with you, Mr. Ingalls.

That's a good idea.

I'll be at the office
when you get back.

Right, doc.

granville's horse.

Ho! Ho!


Just sit up here.



Dear heavenly father,

we commend this son
to thy hands,

and we ask thy blessing
on this mother.

The wars of man take
their toll in many ways.

This soldier bore his wound through
suffering years in search of thy peace.

Please give him your love
and your warm embrace.

As the bugler asks...

This soldier has come home.