Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 3, Episode 1 - The Collection - full transcript

After rescuing a seriously ill, unconscious Reverend Alden from his runaway wagon, down on his luck plainsman, Caleb Hodgekiss, puts on the clergyman's collar and devises a plan to fleece the charitable townsfolk of Walnut Grove.


Whoa, whoa.

Oh. He's got
the fever bad.

His clothes
reek of smoke.

Got ashes
all over them.

You think he's
a reverend?

His clothes
say so.

Notes on his
next sermon.


Spent the rest
philandering, no doubt.

No money belt.

I'll tell you
one thing, Mattie,

he's been mighty
close to a fire.


"To the reverend Robert
Alden from his congregation

at walnut grove."

Pleased to make your acquaintance
there, reverend.

You know, I'd say
he's mighty close

to knocking on
the pearly gates.

We may be the saving of
him, Mattie.

Oh, I hope so.

You know, I bet he'd want to be
paying us for all of our trouble,

doctoring him, feeding
him, taking care of him.

But I'd be ashamed to
take money for a kindness,

wouldn't you?

Indeed I would.

Especially $1.87.

Good-looking watch.
You know, I believe that's real gold.

Caleb, no!

He's a man of god.

Boy, you sure got
religion all of a sudden.

I'll go
unhitch his team.

- Ho!
- Hey, Edwards!

Didn't expect you
back this early.

Didn't have no load coming
back from sleepy eye.

How come?

Don't know for sure.

Supposed to have been a load
coming in from gray's corners.

Never showed up,

Old man carswell
said that he heard

something bad
happened up that way.

A tornado,
do you think?

Well, don't know.

Reverend Alden's due in today.
Maybe he'll know.

- Is he going to stay with you?
- Yeah.

That's why I
got to get back.

Got a jug of mash
hid out in the barn.

Just my luck he's going
to stumble onto it.

Well, you better get back, unless you
want to sit through a two-hour sermon.


Not that you
don't deserve one.

Now, you know I only
drink that mash

for medicinal purposes.

Well, if that's the
case, you've been sick

every day
since I met you.

Ha ha ha!

Well, I'll let you know
what reverend Alden says

about gray's corners.
Come on, horses!

All right.
Take care.

Well, look who's
ready for breakfast.

Better just sit still there
awhile, reverend.

We had to wrestle the death
angel all night long for you.

Who are you?

I'm Caleb hodgekiss.
And this is my missus,

Mattie, for short,
we call her.

And you are?

Robert Alden.

Where is this?

Well, I'd say you're
somewhere between

15 and 20 miles
from nowhere.

More or less,
right, Mattie?


Am I near walnut grove?

No, you're a half a day's
ride from walnut grove.

Oh. Here.

It's honey
and warm milk.

It'll soothe
the coughing.

I have to get there.

Oh, you will,
but next week.


Today. I have to.

Gray's corners was burned
out by a prairie fire.

Their wheat crop's gone.

I can't tell you
how many farmhouses.

The people are living
in the church

and in the livery stable.

And you were out
to get help for them?

Well, I was planning on collecting
donations at walnut grove.

Food, clothes, money.

Well, now that's
a mighty burden

you've laid on yourself,
there, reverend.

You're not able to do that, you know.
You're a sick man.

I have to.
They're desperate.

Why do you have to?

Why can't the people
of walnut grove

do the collecting
for you?

How about the elders
of the church?

Why can't they take up
the collection for you?

How could I
get word to them?

You're looking at him.

Give me the names
of the people

that you want to
do the collecting,

and I'll go see them.

God's blessing on you,
brother hodgekiss.


Now, don't lay more
of a burden on me

than I can handle,
all right?

Mattie, write down
the names for me.

And I'll get my horse
and be on the way.


Well, bless you,
my good woman!

Oh! Ha ha ha!

Hey, Mattie,
didn't I tell you that he was sent?

Caleb hodgekiss.

Oh, brother
hodgekiss, please.

Remember what
the reverend said.

Oh, mercy!

Why are you
dressed like that?

Hey, Mattie.

You know, I always figured I
ought to be doing the lord's work.

And here I go picking
up a collection for him.

Oh, you're
not, Caleb.

Oh, yes, I am.

You know,
I think he meant

for folks to be
kind and generous.

And I'm the one they're going
to be kind and generous to!

Caleb, you're going to
get in trouble again.

And this time,

they won't
let you go.

Trouble, trouble?

Doing the work
of the lord?

Picking up a collection
for the needy?

Just as long as I don't tell them

we're the needy.

You promised me
when we came out here

we were going to
have a new life.

That's what I aim to do.

You said it was a
sign, an honest life.

When you found the shack,
it was a sign, Caleb.

It was a place to
keep warm in, Mattie,

a place to hide,
a place to wait

until something better come
along, that's all.

It's not what
you said then.

Well, then is then,
and now is now!

Mattie, I'm not going to have
you gripping out a living

in this place for
the rest of your life.

I'd be willing.

Well, I'm not.

But to take from them
that's needy, Caleb.

That's cruel.

You take what you can
when you can get it

or it gets taken
away from you.

And that's the way
the world is.

Now, you took down the
names of them folks that are

going to help with my good
work at gray's corner,

and how I can find them?

Now, you keep the reverend
here until Saturday,

then send him off to gray's
corner, tell him I've gone

there to help with
the collecting

and I'll meet
him there.

This is the last
time, I promise.

Don't promise.

Caleb: Beside her
husband and baby

tonight she sleeps on
the cold, cold ground

beside old
black Jack David

black Jack David come
around through the woods

singing so loud
and merry

voice kept a-ringin' through the
green, green trees

a fair-haired maiden

would you forsake
your husband, dear?

Would you forsake
your baby?

Would you forsake
your fine, fine home

go with black
Jack David?

And go with
black Jack David?

Well, good day,
young lady.

Good day.

I thought I had
ridden through

the pearly gates
and seen an angel.

I'm brother hodgekiss.

Pleased to meet you.
I'm Mary Ingalls.


Are you the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Charles Ingalls?

How'd you know?

The reverend Alden
gave me some names.

Would you show me
the way to your house?


Care to climb aboard?
She sways a little bit in the middle,

but I don't mind
if you don't.

There you go.

You a friend
of reverend Alden?

Oh, yes, I am.
He's a fine man.

You might say we're both
cut from the same cloth.


Black Jack David come
around through the woods

singing so loud
and merry

voice kept a-ringin' through the
green, green trees

a fair-haired maiden

he spied
a fair-haired maiden

More coffee,
brother hodgekiss?

Oh, yes.
Thank you.

Brother, we heard things
were... were bad over there,

but I had no idea they lost their
whole wheat crop and everything.

That's what the
reverend Alden told me.

He's on his way
to mankato now

to do what he can
with the collecting.

He gave me a list of
people to look up.

Um, Mr. Oleson,
Mr. Hanson, Mr. Edwards,

the banker,
Mr. Sprague.

Uh, Dr. Baker.

A number of ladies,
Mrs. Whipple.

Yeah, let me see.

All these people will
be very glad to help.

Most of the names on this
list live right in town.

Edwards and I can go to all the
outlying farms, let them know.

Oh, good. I'd appreciate that.
Thank you.

Be my pleasure.

Pa, can I go to town with brother
hodgekiss when he makes his collection?

I can introduce
him to people

and kind of let him know who's
stingy and who's generous.

Caroline: Mary.

Mrs. Ingalls,
as I told you,

the need is great.
It would really help.

Please, ma.

All right.

Looks like you got
yourself a helper.

I, uh, I believe this is
about as high a figure

as I can go,
brother hodgekiss.

That's very
generous of you.

I guess things aren't
going too well at the bank,

are they,
Mr. Sprague?

Now, why would
you say that?

Because I know if things were
good, you'd give more,

generous as you are.

Ho ho ho.

That's a mighty powerful
argument you got there

with you, brother.
I guess I, uh...

I could
go another $10.00.

The lord bless
you for it.

Yes, well, uh...

At least half the blessing belongs
to your little, uh, argument here.

Thank you, Mr. Sprague.

I think we ought to see
the olesons next.

Then we can tell them how
much Mr. Sprague has given.

And they'll try
to outdo it.

You talk to Mr. Oleson,
not Mrs. I'll handle her.

Good morning, Mary.

- Good morning, Mrs. Oleson.
- Good morning.

Good morning,
Mr. Oleson.

I'd like you to meet
a friend of mine.

This is Mr. Oleson,
the man I was telling you about,

brother hodgekiss.

- The finest merchant for miles around.
- Ahem.

And Mrs. Oleson,
you're just the person I wanted to see.

- If you'll excuse us.
- Uh, well...

Would you mind explaining to
me, young lady,

what this is
all about?

You've heard of the
terrible prairie fire.

Oh, I see.

Well, I'm terribly
sorry, child,

but you've caught me
at a very awkward time.

As you can see,
the shelves are practically bare.

We're not asking you to give
anything, Mrs. Oleson.

Oh. Nothing?


In fact, we wondered
if you'd mind.

You see, we're going to need
a place to store the things

brother hodgekiss
and I collect.

We wondered if you could
rent part of this room.

Rent? Did
you say rent?

That way,
you could consider the rental

part of your donation
to the drive.

I mean, if you were
to ask, say, $50

for the rent on the room,
we could enter that $50

in the ledger
as your donation,

and people around would
be terribly impressed.

Oh. $50! My!

That seems like a very
large donation to charity.

I don't recall another gift
that size in this whole county.


Um, is that
the list?

- Uh-huh.
- May I?

Ah! Mr. Sprague is
only giving $30?

He's temporarily
strapped for funds.

Oh, I see.

Put the rental
down for $60.

The least I can do
is to contribute

twice as much
as the town banker.

That's very
generous of you.

I know.

Not a word to
the missus now.

Not a word,
thank you.

God bless your good
work, brother hodgekiss.

Thank you again,
Mrs. Oleson.

- Good day.
- Good day.

Oh, it's disgraceful,
that town banker

giving such
a small donation.

Well, I daresay
they will name

a pew after me
in the church.

Now I know why they
call it a pew.

Mrs. Oleson:
What, nels?

I said you're very
generous, dear.

Will he get
better, doctor?

I hope so, Alicia.

You just keep giving
him the medicine.

We'll just have
to wait and see.

Hi, doc baker!

Hello, Mary.

What's the matter with your
pup, Alicia?

He's bad sick.

He shouldn't die.

He's just a puppy.

You must be the brother hodgekiss
I've been hearing about.

I'm doc baker.

My pleasure, doctor.

I know you meet up with
that in your work, too,

but I'll never
get used to it.

I know he's only
a pup, but...

I understand.

How's the collection

Just fine,
thank you.

You're welcome to all the
medical supplies I can spare.

I'm afraid my ready
cash at the moment

consists of one bag
of potatoes and 3 hams,

but you're
welcome to them.

Thank you very much.

But I'd like
a favor from you.

Of course.

If someone's
looking for me, Mary,

I'll be with
Mrs. Bjornesen.

All right.

She lives on
the edge of town.

Her husband
died a month ago,

and she's doing her best
to catch up with him.

That'll be
Dr. Baker.

Now you'll
get what for.

She won't take
her medicine.

Morning, Addie.

I brought
a visitor for you.

His name is hodgekiss,
brother hodgekiss.

He's come a long way
to do a great help

to a great number
of people.

He wants to
talk to you.

If you've come
to pray for me,

you can save
your breath.

Well, if I was to pray,
I wouldn't know what to pray for.

You'd have to
do the asking.

I've asked.

It don't come.

And don't tell me
my Joe's a-gonna be

waiting for me
at the pearly gates.

Well, I never put a lot of
stock in the pearly gates.

It always seemed like
a bunch of froufrou to me.

Well, you got
some sass in you,

I'll say that for you.

Are you a regular

Well, I don't really preach.
I just do what I can.

The calling
came recently.

What was you before?

Uh, a traveling man.

I knew it. Need
sass for that.

Oh, my Joe, he
had sass in him.

That was
the fun of it.

Never knowing
what to expect next.

That's what's missing.

Tell me about him.

Tell you?
What do you want me to tell you?

Whatever you'd like.

Oh, Joe.

He had a taste
for his nip,

and he had
a roving eye.

But his eyes always
come back to me.

He'd been all over,

done everything,

done time
in jail, even.

Does that shock you?

Done it myself.

Oh, you're spoofing me.

Wouldn't do that.

And look at you now.

Ever been to sea?

7 years.

From the time I was 11 till
I jumped ship in New Orleans.

Like Joe.

Oh, Joe loved
his chanteys.

He'd sing them till
the roof fell down.

What was his favorite?

Oh, you probably
wouldn't know it.

Try me.


Caleb: My Bonnie
lies over the ocean

My Bonnie
lies over the sea

My Bonnie lies

over the ocean

Ha ha!

Oh, bring back
my Bonnie to me

oh, bring back

bring back

oh, bring back
my Bonnie to me

to me

bring back

oh, bring back
my Bonnie to me

Oh! Oh, I've had about enough for
now, brother.

But you come back and see
me again real soon, hear?

I will, Addie.

You're not
just talking?

You'll come?

I'll be back, Addie.

Oh, my Bonnie
lies over the ocean

my Bonnie lies
over the sea

my Bonnie lies
over the ocean

oh, bring back
my Bonnie to me

may whipple,
why are you sitting out there?

Ha ha ha ha!

- How did you do it?
- I don't really know.

Well, there wasn't a soul in
town that could rouse her.

She was dying, and
she wanted to die.

The lord must be speaking
through you, brother.

I suppose so.

Well, I'd better go.

Brother hodgekiss!

God bless you.

You look a sight
more human.

How you feel?


Don't ask me to
move any mountains.

Well, your
fever's down.

Think you can hold
something on your stomach?

I'll give it a try.

What day is this?

It's Friday.

Is he back yet?


You don't
remember, do ya?

He's staying
in walnut grove

to help with
the collecting.

He's supposed to meet
you in gray's corners

with what
he's taken in,

Saturday, if
you can make it.

I'll make it.

How long have
I been here?

I don't remember if you
came Monday or Tuesday.

And all that time,
you've been doing for me.

Nursing, food.

You know, in god's eyes,
you saved my life.

I don't know
how to thank you.

Well, then don't!

I don't need your thanks!

I need some

Have you ever seen
anything like it?

There's more coming, too.

Oh, that's wonderful.

I'll write a personal letter of
thanks to everyone that gave.

You know,
brother hodgekiss,

I want you to know
that I'm a man

who trusts
people by nature.

But there's so much
piling up in here

that I'd hate to think that
somebody might take it into his head

to make off
with any of it.

No one would do that.
You must be joking.

I wish I was.

When the banks
are closed,

there's a heap of
money in this cash box.

That's why I've
been locking up.

Here's an extra key.

It's the same one
that opens the shop,

so be careful
with it.

I certainly will.

- Good morning.
Mr. Oleson: Morning, Mary.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Here's some things
my ma gave.

She wished it was more.

Aw, that's
very generous.

Now, what are our plans
for today, young lady?

We've got a lot
of places to go.

This place is going to be
busting at the seams by sunday.

Saturday, Mr. Oleson.


I promised reverend Alden

I'd meet him at gray's
corners on Saturday.

But there will be a lot
more pledges coming in.

And the folks are going
to want to hear you say

the blessing
on sunday.

People give more
on sunday.

I'm afraid she's right.

I suppose.

See you, Mr. Oleson.

Right, brother

Mary: And Mrs. Whipple gave
3 bolts of unbleached muslin,

and Mr. Hanson gave
4 sacks of meal,

and more promised

And the
peabody sisters...

And they're the ones that live
in that fine old house, right?

- Uh-huh.
- What'd they give?

2 chipped cups
and a platter.

Have you noticed?

The ones that
don't have much,

they give the most.

Well, I wouldn't say
that's true in every case.

Darn near.

I bet I know why.

Because they know what it
means to need and not to have.

Mary, you know if this suit fit
you, I'd let you wear it.

I declare,
you're different

from any preacher
I ever knew.

Yeah, I suppose I am.

Mary: Hello,
Mr. Edwards!


Come collecting,
did you?

Well, the wife's got some stuff
piled up in the kitchen for you.

Thank you.

Where's Alicia?

Oh, she's in the barn.

Something sad happened.

Her pup?

Afraid so.

I'll go see her.

Digging a grave
for that pup.

Just doesn't want
to put him in it.

Keeps praying he'll
come to life again.

Brother hodgekiss, I
know it's a lot to ask,

but I was wondering
if maybe you could say

a few words of
comfort to Alicia?

Sure would
appreciate it.

- Well...
- Please now,

I'm not much of
a one with words.

Wouldn't know
what to say to her.

All right.

Oh, thank you,
thank you.

What's your
puppy's name?


Good name for a dog.

You know, you
were really lucky

having a dog
love you like that.

Because a lot of people go
through their whole life

and never have
anybody to love them.

But you know,
there's an end to everything.

Even us.

But we go to heaven.

We get to see
each other again.

But I'll never
see mine again.

Why not?

Because only people
go to heaven.

And mine's
just a puppy.

Hold on there now.

Seems to me like I remember
reading something in the Bible

where god told...
First there was

a whole bunch of
rain falling, right?

And then god told
a man named Jonah

to build a big boat

and, uh...

You mean Noah,
the one who built the ark?

Noah. That's right.
I just wanted to see

if you remembered
your Bible.

Anyway, Noah... Noah
built this ark.

And then... and then god
had all these animals

put on this ark.

And I betcha there were
dogs on there, too.

Think so?

Think so? Know so.

I'm a preacher,
ain't I?

Anyway, you know,
what with god

taking care
of all those

dogs like that,

you can just be sure that he'd
want a pretty little puppy

like yours
with him in heaven.

Then I'll see
"mine" again?

You sure will.

But you know
what we got to do?

First thing,
we got to get your puppy buried

so he can go to heaven.

All right.

God bless you.

Kind of rushing things,
aren't you, reverend?

It's Saturday,
isn't it?

Well, you don't have to
be out of here till noon.

Mattie, where
are my clothes?

Right in front
of you, on the wall.

I pressed your frocked
coat and your trousers,

and your linens
all freshly done.

But the clothes
in my bag,

my shoes, my hat...

My clothes, Mattie,
where are they?

I heard ya.


You'll get them back.

I promise you.

Your husband has them.


Well, folks will be more
generous to a man of the cloth.

They give more.

You know for yourself they do.

It impresses them.

I suppose he's impressing
them with my watch?

Mattie, I don't

Your kindness...

Your goodness...

Don't try.

Mattie, I don't care about
the watch or the clothes.

He's taking
from poor people.

He's taking
for the needy!

Lord knows,
we're needy!

You don't believe that.

Don't fret yourself.

Your precious needy
will get their things.

I'm supposed to have you
out of here by noon today...

Going to gray's corners...

With a story that
he'd meet you there.

He was going to bring
everything he collected,

only he wasn't going there.

He was coming here.


By the time
they found us...

It's too late, see?

But he's still
coming here.

And you can still
get your things.

All you have
to do is just...

Wait for him and take
them away from him.


Don't turn him in,

Please don't
turn him in.

Suppose he gets it in his
head not to come back?

What if he turns
his back on you

and decides to
keep it all himself?

He wouldn't.

He'll be here.

You just
wait and see.

He'll be here.

Door's open.

Well, it's about time
you got here, brother.

When I send
to fetch someone,

I expect to see them
the same day.

Yes, miss Addie.

Now, that bag over there.

I want you to add it
to the collection.

It's Joe's things.

May helped me.

Most of them have got a few
year's wear or more in them,

and he ain't
likely to need them.

I buried him,

Thank you, Addie.


You tell them down
at gray's corners

that I don't want no mealy
mouth a-wearin' them.

I want them to go
to somebody like you.

Why, you're
more like him

every time I
set eyes on you.

I want you to
promise something.

Afore you go

you stop by.

You give me
a good-bye. Hear?

Brother hodgekiss.

Aha. It's you.

Thought I heard
somebody moving around.

Guess you and me
had the same idea, huh?

Checking to see that
everything's locked up tight.

Yeah, I was
just making sure.

Be leaving right after
services tomorrow?


Busy as you'll be
tomorrow, I'd, uh...

Well, I'd like
to thank you

for what you've
done for us.

I didn't do anything.

Oh, yes, you did.

You gave us
a chance to help.

I know it's probably hard
for you to understand.

A man like yourself,

you spend your whole
life doing for others.

But for us...

That chance
meant a lot.

And I want to
thank you for it.

Mr. Oleson,
that old hound of yours

is about ready
to whelp, isn't she?

Any minute.

Do me a favor,

and give one of the pups to
Alicia, would you?

Be glad to.

Thank you.

We get this canvas on,
we'll be all set.

Just hang that up anywhere, Mary.
Thank you.

Yes, sir.

- Going to be another hot one.
- Sure is.

Thought I'd ride
partway with you

to gray's corners,
keep you company.

Uh, that won't
be necessary.

Not necessary.
It'd be my pleasure.

Well, I appreciate the thought,
but I can manage all right.

Suit yourself.

Well, that
about does it.

That's the mightiest parcel
of giving I've ever seen.

What say we get to church?
Come on, Mary.

In a minute.

All right. I'll save a seat for you.
See you in church.

I'll go with
you, Mary.

Fell out of
your pocket.

Hope it's not broken.

No, it seems
to be all right.

It's the reverend
Alden's watch.

Of course it is.
Didn't I tell you?

He lent it to me,

seeing as I had
none of my own.

I want to be sure I get
to gray's corners on time,

more or less.

That's why I was so worried
about it being broken.

Your folks are
waiting for you.

What's the
matter, Mary?


Brother hodgekiss.

Man: It's Addie.

Second man:

Third man: I didn't know
she was up and around.

Woman: The hand of god
has touched her.

I don't know nothing
about the hand of god.

All I know is
I got my sass back.

And I know
who done that.

God bless you,
brother hodgekiss.

I can't do what I came
here prepared to do today.

I can't, uh,
I can't give you

the sermon that...

That I wrote.

A lot has happened
to me this week.

I've seen goodness
in people's hearts.

And I've seen people
that had little give

because others had less.

They say that the
church leads its people

in paths of

but it was you
that led.

It was you that gave.

You gave, too,

I took.

Your wagon stands
loaded outside,

and you should be the ones
to take it to gray's corners.

My work here
is finished.

Man: Not quite.

Man: How you
feeling, reverend?

Fine. Thank you, Jack.

I'm glad I was physically
able to get here in time.

I overheard part of
what you were saying.

There are a few things
I'd like to add.

- Reverend, I...
- don't interrupt a minister

when he's talking
to his congregation.

I'd like to take
this opportunity

to thank brother

for the wonderful work
he's done here.

And all of you.

You've been
very generous.

But I've known brother
hodgekiss here for...

A while.

And I can tell you out of
personal knowledge of the man...

That he's given more
than any of you realize.

Now, I know it's not
considered proper,

but I think the lord
would forgive us

if we gave brother hodgekiss
a round of applause.

Thank you.

God bless you,

God bless you.

Bless you.

Man: God bless you,
brother hodgekiss.

Let's all rise

while Mrs.
Foster sings the hymn this morning.

Mrs. Foster: I
come to the garden


while the dew

is still on the roses

and the voice I hear

didn't work out like I
planned, Mattie.

Something happened
to me in there.

I never had anything like
that happen to me in my life.

We still got the nag
to ride back on

and the shack
to go back to.

You willing?

I'm willing!

Caleb, I'm willing.

And the joy we share

as we tarry there

none other

has ever


and the joy we share

as we tarry there