Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 3, Episode 12 - I'll Ride the Wind - full transcript

Mr. Edwards adopted son, John, must choose between going away to school for several years to realize his dream of becoming a writer or marrying his true love, Mary Ingalls, and living the life of a farmer in Walnut Grove.

A soaring hawk.


Just studying
that hawk up yonder.

Oh, yeah.
Chicken hawk.

What do you suppose is
going on in his head?


What's he thinking?

He's got a brain
like we have.

Got a heart.

What do you think is
going on in his head

while he's looking down
at us pitching hay?

Sometimes I wonder
about you, boy.

Me, too.

Suspect that's the
difference between us.

You're riding the wind, and me, I'm just...
Riding a hay wagon.

Farming don't give a man
much of a chance

for riding the wind.

But then it ain't
a bad life, farming.

At least you're
your own man.

I know.

Get on!

Mary: John!

- John!
- Whoa.


Pa, I'll be
home directly.

Just come in
on the stage!

- I'd about given up.
- Yeah, me, too.

What's it say?

Wait a minute.

"John Sanderson,

"we apologize for the
delay in acknowledging

"receipt of the
collection of short poems

"you sent last month
entitled prairie songs.

"Please know it was
not lack of interest

that occasioned the delay.
On the contrary."

They like them.

That's wonderful.
Go on, John.

"We have discussed
your work in detail

"and would like now to
put forward a proposition

"which we feel should interest a
young man of your obvious talents.

"To that end, our
Mr. Frederick deering

will come to call
on you very soon."

They're going
to buy my poems.

They're going
to buy my poems!

They're going to publish my
poems in "the pathfinder"!

Oh, I'm going to get paid for doing
what I love best in all the world.

Second best.

I'm so happy
for you.

Not for me.

For us.

You can live anywhere you
please if you're a writer,

in timbuktu
if you want.

I want to
stay here.

So do I. In
our own house.

Yeah. I know just
the place for it.

On the rise, just
above our place.

How'd you know?

I could tell the first time
we went there together.

With pa's help,
I could build it...

With a corral
and a barn.

And a horse!

Maybe two.
Maybe we could have a pair!

And a cow?

- How good are you at milking?
- Very good.

And I can churn the best
butter you ever tasted.

That'll be a help.

We'll need a vegetable
garden just like ma's.

Strange what money
does to you.

It makes you feel grown
up all of a sudden.

It isn't
everything, pa says,

but it sure helps.

You know, we've been carrying
on as if it was all settled.

I never even
asked you.

Yes, you did.

That was yesterday,

when I was a boy.

I think I'd better
ask you again.

Go ahead.

Mary Ingalls...

I love you very much...

More than anything
in the world.

I want you
to be my wife.

Thank you, John.

Grace: For what we
are about to receive,

may we be truly
thankful. Amen.

- Amen.
- Amen.

The business with the poetry.
How'd that get started?

Miss beadle.

She said that John's
poems are too good

to keep hidden away
in a notebook.

You kept it under your
hat, seems like.

Well, we thought maybe
nothing would come of it.

Well, maybe
nothing will.

How do you figure
what a poem's worth?

Oh, I don't know.
I think they figure it up

the same way
as they do corn.

Except it don't go by the bushel.
Ain't that right, John?

Yep. You set it up on the
scale, weigh it out.

16 poems, 428 lines,

3 1/4 pounds...

Comes to $7.10 exactly.

You're pulling
my leg.

Isaiah: Well, no matter how you
figure it up, it would be nice to have

a few dollars coming in
on the side.

Won't be on the side.


I'm going to make
a living at it, pa.

What do you mean,

You mean you ain't
going to work?

Of course I'll work.

This'll be my work,
writing poems and stories.

Well, don't look
so surprised, Isaiah.

There's nothing so
unusual about that.

What do you mean?
You're going to get up in the morning,

drink your coffee,
go off to work with a pencil?

Yep. Then write down the words and
send them off to the publisher.

And get money
for it regular?

That's what
you hope for.

John, slow down.
You're eating too fast.

I got to hurry, ma.
I got some work.

What work?

Well, get my
poems ready,

maybe sharpen up
a few things.

Get ready for the man
from "the pathfinder."

Now wait, hold on here.
We got to talk about this.

You can't make a living
putting words down on paper!

Well, I'm going
to have to.

Going to have another
mouth to feed pretty soon.

I just asked Mary
Ingalls to marry me.

And she said she would.

Have you heard any talk
about the Rasmussens?

Like what?

That they were selling
their place and moving east.

Hanson said he heard
something about it.

A man's going to
come and talk to John

about paying him
for his poems.

That's very good.
I know.

Going to be nice having a
working poet around walnut grove.

I was just thinking,
if they do sell out,

I'd like to put a bid on
that bay mare of theirs.

Mr. Frederick
deering, his name is.

Whose name?

The man from
"the pathfinder."

Oh. You know,
that mare's got to be 16 hands high.

Can't be more
than 6 years old.

Going to have to put that black
horse out to pasture pretty soon.

"Your obedient
servant, Jeremy Hollis,

editor of
the pathfinder."

We're going to save our
money and put it in the bank.

Very good.

I don't know how much they'd
ask for the animal, but...

What'd you say?

I said we're going
to save our money.

Well, who's we?

John and I.

For what?

A house. A place
of our own.


Why not?

Well, I... I don't
know why not.

I just never
thought about it.

I mean, she's only
13 years old.

Charles, how old
were we when we met?

Oh, come on, Caroline.
You know that's different.

We weren't even serious.

We weren't?

Isaiah: You know, Ingalls, I don't
know as I'd pick you to be a relation.

Maybe I'm going to get you
whether I want you or not.

Time's on our side. We aren't going
to let her marry till she's 15.

That's a year
and a half away.

He'll be over to talk
to you before long.

I'll be ready for him.

You know, I ain't exactly the
world's greatest authority on poetry.

Seems like most of them was
pretty well off when they started.

Byron was a lord.
What do you figure a lord makes?

More than a farmer.

Can't get it
through my head

how a boy can go off
into the world

and make a living putting
words down on paper.

He's just a pup.
He don't know

half the things
we knew at his age.

Ah, he'll learn.

Maybe. Can't say
nothing to him, though.

Boy's got to make
his own decision.

He ask you for advice,
you give it to him.

He don't, you shut up.

Well, like you say,
we got a year and a half.

He's coming!

He's on
his way!

- He's here!
- Who?

The man from
"the pathfinder."

- How'd you know it was him?
- I could tell.

He was driving
a livery rig.

He had a store-
bought suit on,

a satchel,
and a necktie!

He's probably in
the house right now!


- Watch the team.
- Okay.

We're all very impressed with your
work, young man.

Thank you, sir.

Imagination is
a gift, you know.

Can't be taught.
Can't be learned.

You obviously
have it.

I hope you're
properly grateful.

Yes, sir,
I am.

John reads
a great deal.

Of course.

Well, tell me,

What do you want to
do with your life?

Well, sir,
I'd like to be a writer.

Well, you've made
a very good start.

Do you work
hard at it?

I don't have to, sir.

I don't know just
how it happens.

My mind is just
full of people.

I can lie on my back

and let my mind go,

and things happen.


And lines of poetry
and stories...

Kind of like music
inside me.

That's why I call my
poems "prairie songs."

The words just come
flying in my head.

Well, you just might
be a writer in time.

You have the talent
and the imagination.

What you need now is the
discipline to shape it.

It's a fine
beginning. Fine.

But not yet ready
for publishing.

Then... I don't

Each spring,
we choose a promising boy

from the farming community
to send to the university...

Seed corn,
a spring sowing

in the hopes that
in a dozen years

we might have another Sam
clemens, Cullen Bryant.

We feel that you are an
excellent prospect, young man.

We're offering you 4
years at the university.

Board, room, tuition.

Oh, John!

Well, this is
the proposal.

I know it's
a big decision.

You'll want to discuss
it with your parents.

- Yes, sir.
- Now, if you'll excuse me,

I have a train
to catch.

Oh, yes,
of course!

Now, John,
should you decide not to accept,

we have another
young man in mind,

and we would appreciate you letting
us know as soon as possible.

Yes, sir.
I will.

- A real pleasure, ma'am.
- Well, thank you, sir.

I hope you'll accept, John. Bye.

- Bye.
- Good-bye!

Oh, think of it, John!

A 4-year scholarship!

Isaiah, isn't it...



I'm going to run
over and tell Mary.

Then I'll be back
to give you a hand.

It's all right.
I can handle it.

What do you mean?
You need me on top of the load.

Loaded a lot of
hay wagons by myself.

Reckon I can
do it again,

what with you going
off to college.

I'm not going away
until fall.

As long as I'm here,
I'm going to help.

Going to be a poet,
you got no business pitching hay.

You don't want
me to go.

It's your life.
It's your decision to make.

You got better things
to do than chores,

putting words
down on paper.

Now you can do that,
you got no business farming

or chopping wood
or pitching hay.

Pa, listen to me.

I'm only going away
for a spell.

I'm not leaving you.

I can do my chores and
be part of the family

and write
my words, too.

We're different, boy.

You and me, we're different.
It's like...

Like we live on two different
hills with a big ditch between us.

I mean, you're
doing things

I ain't got the faintest
notion what they are.

You don't
want me, then.

I want you to be
what you want to be.

I ain't gonna pull
you up on my hill

if you want
to stay on yours.

I can't ever
thank you enough.

I ain't asking
for thanks.

It's not just thanks.

I love my real pa...

I ain't a patch on your pa.
I ain't...

Never mind
what you ain't.

You're all I needed
for a father...

And then some.

I'll be out
in the field.


He's hurting or...
Or mad or something.

It'll pass.

What did I do wrong?

Most every father
would like his son

to follow in his

You're going in a
different direction,

and that bothers him.

Well, he didn't
say that.


But it's still
the problem.

He'll get over it.

Now why don't you go
over to the Ingalls'

and give Mary
the good news?

All right.

But I still feel like I'm
doing something wrong.

It's the rightest
thing you ever did,

and don't you
ever forget it.

Isaiah'll come to
know that in time.

He'll get over it.

Then go on!

Mary's going to be as
happy for you as I am!

All right. Thanks.

Charles. Shall
I go inside?

No, no, no.
Go right on with what you're doing.

- John.
- Morning.

- John, how are you?
- Fine.

Come over for a little
talk, did you?

Well, no, sir. I got no time.
Where's Mary?

She's over
at the big oak.

Had a little
studying to do.

Come on in the house
where we can be alone.

Hey, John?

Hey, don't you want
to have a talk?

How can I tell him he and Mary
have to wait a year and a half

if he doesn't ask me?


- I got great news.
- What is it?

I talked to the man
from "the pathfinder."

- What'd he say?
- I'm going to the university.

- When?
- This fall.

Only one boy from
the whole district,

and they picked me!

He says I got the
imagination and the talent,

and I'm going to
make a writer someday

like mark twain
or Robert burns.

How long will
you be away?

4 years.

4 years.

I didn't talk to him
for more than 5 minutes,

and he changed
my whole life.

4 years
at the university.

Everything paid.

I don't even know what
a university looks like.

I expect.

It's a great

You'll be gone
a long time.

But I'll be back in the
summer, though, for two weeks,

maybe 3!

And at Christmas.

Why, we'll see each
other twice a year!

Twice a year.

That's better
than nothing.

We'll have so much
to talk about!

You'll be different.

No, I won't.

You will, too.

Living in Chicago...

Going to
the university.

It'll be like
living on the moon

compared to
walnut grove.

What do you
want me to do?

I want you to go.

You can't turn down
4 years at the university.

It'll be different, John.

And you'll be different, too,
when you come back at Christmas.

Are you sure you
want me to go?

Of course I do.

When it's done,
we'll both be glad you did it.

I got to get home.

Sorry I missed supper.

Are you hungry?

Haven't given it
much thought.

Well, I'll fetch
something for you.


There's more
if you want it.

That'll be fine.

Is it Mary?

It'll work.

Takes time, but...

Thought my mind
was made up.

Seems like
it ought to be.

You'll ride the wind
one day, John.

Will I?

And Mary?

Well, she'll be here,
waiting for you.

If she's fond enough
of you, she will be.

Oh, you're both
so young.

You've got so much to
do, so much to learn.

I know.

I know all that.

Knowing doesn't
make it any easier.

What'll I be
when I come back?

Will I be the same?


Neither will she.

She's a girl now.

She'll be
a woman then,

and you'll be a man.

And you'll see each other
with different eyes.

That's what
I'm afraid of.

I don't want things
to change.

But they do, John.

You can't help it.

Oh, there's a great,
big world out there

waiting for you, John.

Like an enormous house
with a million rooms

all filled
with treasures,

and at the university,
they'll give you the keys.

What about Mary?

She's a very
bright girl.

No telling what
she might do

if she sets
her mind to it.

But if I go away...

I... I'll lose her.


Things won't be
the same again.

Things never
are the same.

Don't fret
about it, John.

Good night.

John, breakfast
is ready!

Put it on the table.
Be careful.

Sit down.
Breakfast is all ready.

I got something
to say.

I, uh, done my thinking
and made my decision.

I'm not going
to take it.

Oh, John!

John: My mind's made up.

I thought about it
all last night.

I'm going to stay here
and farm with Isaiah.

I could spend 4 years
at the university

and not become
a writer after all.

Nobody's promising

You don't need

All you want
is an opportunity!

I got an opportunity

Are you sure you know
what you're doing,

- what you're giving up?
- I think so.

You haven't the faintest
notion, John!

They're offering
you the world!

My world's right here.

I made my decision.

Now I'm going
to go haying.

Never mind about the haying.
I'll take care of that.

You go get your gal.
There's something I want to show you.

She's probably
left for school.

Well, go on! Get her.
I'll meet you up on the rise.


Isaiah, you can't
let it go like this!

What are you talking about?
You heard the boy.

His mind's made up!
He made a man's decision.

A man's decision?
A boy made it!


- Yeah, darling.
- Here he comes.

It's about time.

- Hi, Mr. Ingalls.
- John, how you doing?

Mr. Ingalls,
I got to...

Now just take it easy.
I understand how you feel.

We can talk this over like
a couple of grown men.

Is she here?

No, no. She went off to
school about 5 minutes ago.

Excuse us.
Why don't we go in...

Well, I'll catch up to her.


John, don't you think we
ought to have that talk?


Pa says he has to
show us something.

I got to
go to school.

Come on!

He said it's

Ha ha! Hey, come on,
you two. Come on!

You can see it real good
from right down here.

Come on! Come on!

You're going to be a
man of property, boy.

Come on. No sorry house for
you, gal, when the time comes.

Been saving this.

I been hoping.

Never let on,
but I been hoping.

There's 80 acres
down there.

There ain't a better
piece of bottom land

in this whole state
than that one!

Ain't been turned yet,
but we can do that.

We can do that

Sow a crop of
winter wheat.

We'll borrow
your pa's team.

We'll turn that sod
on its ear! Ha ha.

Oh, you're not going to make
much of a crop the first year.

But the next year... the
next year you watch out!

We'll work it together,
you and me.

You see, what happens
is you make a crop.

You got money
in the bank.

Then when the time
comes, you can move

that gal of yours
into a real house.

Right over here.

Put it... put it
right there.

It faces out
on your field, see?

That way you can
sit up here

and look out on your land.
The thing you do...

The thing you do is you
build a big old porch

right here across
the front, see?

Oh, you got to
have a chimney

and some shingles
on the roof,

and a plank floor and
some glass windows.

Ooh! Something else I wanted to show you.
Here. Look at here.

Here you go.
Feel that.


You know what
that means?

That means there's
water down there.

I'll bet it ain't 10,
15 feet under the ground!

You know what
that means, gal?

That means
we can put a well

just 10 feet from
your back door!

Then we'll have a barn.
Have a barn right yonder there.

Big old barn, and
a corral for some stock.

And a garden.
Garden here.

And a whole lot
of flowers! Ha.

I'll tell you what.

You make a crop,

you got money
in the bank!

When can we
start building?

Oh, well, uh...

- Tomorrow!
- Right. I already talked to hanson

about getting
the first jag of lumber.

I didn't want to
say nothing, you know,

until you made up
your mind.

But she's here.
She's all yours.

You can go to work
on her tomorrow.


Thank you.

More soup?

I'm not hungry.

Anything wrong,

Not exactly.

- It's just that...
- Hush up, Laura.

Hush up,

Is there something
I should know about, or...

Pa, I just don't feel like eating.
That's all.

I just thought...

Charles, have
some more stew.

Oh. Thank you.

I'll get it.

- Ah, John. Come on in.
- Evening, Mr. Ingalls.

Mary's just about
through supper.

Um, I'd just as soon talk to you
now, if you don't mind.

Sure. Come in.

Could we talk outside?
It's kind of private.

Yeah. We'll be
right back.

Mr. Ingalls...

I, uh...


Take a deep
breath, boy,

and swallow hard
and say it.

I love your
daughter, sir.

So do I.

But I want
to marry her!

I'll be
a good husband.

I'll take care
of her and...


That's about
it, sir.

I've said my piece.

And I think you
said it very well.

I'd be happy to have you
as a member of the family.

Thank you, sir.

Now, why don't you sit
down before you fall down?

You know, John,
we have another question here,

and it's a pretty
important one.

Yes, sir?

It's something

Going to have a big effect
on you and Mary both.

You made a decision
not too long ago.

Yeah. I, uh...

I've made up my mind
about that, sir.

Your mind's made up
right now,

but what about
a few years from now?

You're giving up a chance
for a good education.

It's a chance you're
not going to have again.

Once you're married,
that's all going to be in the past.

You're sure?

Yes, sir.

I'm sure.

I've made my decision.

All right, a year and a half
from now when Mary's 15,

she's yours.

A year and a half, sir?

That's an awful
long time.

You and my daughter
are going to spend

the rest of your
lives together.

That's a long time.

Yes, sir.

Thank you, sir.
Thank you so much.

What do you expect
he'll say?


I've come to ask you
on bended knee..."

Mary: Laura,
will you hush up?

Mary, your pa knows
how he feels.

He's been through the
same thing as John Jr.

I hope my stew
didn't get cold.

Oh, you're engaged.

Oh, pa!

Thank you.

- Where's John?
- Well, it's dark, I sent him home.

You're just
engaged, you know?

Guess who.

Uh... jenny Lynn.

Lillie langtry?

No. Don't look
so disappointed.

I brought you some
cornbread and buttermilk.


I can't believe
you're doing it.

Well, I wasn't much
of a carpenter at first.

But I'm learning.

What's this?

Robert burns. Miss beadle thought
you might want to look at it.

- No?
- I'm not interested.

It's got "highland Mary"
and "sweet afton."

I told you I'm
not interested.

Just take it back
and tell her thanks.

I don't want
to look at it.

She has some others.

I've got no time for books.
I'm building a house.

Isn't that enough?


I am through with writing.

I'm through with poetry,
I'm through with books.

The sooner we get that settled,
the better off we'll be.

I'm sorry.

I guess I'll be
going home now.

Ma's doing some canning,
and I told her I'd help.

Did you look
at this?


Robert burns.

"Oh, Mary,
at thy window be!

"It is the wished,
the trysted hour.

Those smiles
and glances..."


I'm sorry.

I don't want to
hear poetry.

Why not?

Do I have to
have a reason?

Hello, darling.

Evening, Isaiah.

Hey, John, I was
talking to Ingalls.

He's going to
lend us that team.

Means we can start busting
that field by tomorrow.

I figure the house can
wait, but the crops can't.

Got to get them in
before it rains.

Of course, I don't mean to
make no decisions for you.

I know.

What you're
doing here,

you don't agree with me,
all you got to do is...

What's eating
you, John?


I'll take this back
to miss beadle.

Tell her thanks.

There's another one
on my desk you can have,

if you want it.

I'm going to bed.

Good night.

Oh, don't fret about him.
He's put in a big day. He's tired.

He's empty.

What do you mean?

Something's gone
out of him.

Isaiah, you're
the one that told me

not long ago that you and
the boy are different.

You forgetting that?

He's growing up.
He's coming into manhood.

A lot of things on
his mind, that's all.

He'll be all right.

I hope so.

I wonder,


He used to smile.

Kind of late,
isn't it?

I know.
I'm not sleepy.

John's poems.

He gave them to grace,
but she thought I'd like to read them.


"Winter kill."

"Charlie's fiddle"?

That's about pa.

How does he do it?

How does he put
into words

exactly what I hear

and feel when I hear
your pa play?

Ever ask him?

We don't talk much
about poetry.

Other things
on his mind, hmm?

He's awful busy.


That's what happens when you
fall in love and get married.

You enter
a whole new world,

and you leave
the old one behind.

That happen to you?

Sure. Happens
to everybody.

What kind of a world
did you leave behind?

Can't remember.

Oh, if I think back
to the time

before I met and
married your pa...

It's like I...

Don't even know
that girl.

The things she
wanted to do...

Places she wanted
to go.

The person she
wanted to be.

Things change so.

You get married...

And you have one another
to look out for...

House to build...

Crops to grow...

Children to raise,

feed, and clothe.

Bills to pay.

And that'll happen
to us, too?

But you'll be glad

for all of it.

You leave one
world behind,

and you go on
to the new...

And you forget
the dreams you had

before it
all happened.

Will John forget
his poetry?


Your pa still plays his
fiddle, doesn't he?

Don't fret about it.

It happens to
all of us, Mary.

Good night.

Got a lot to do,
but it's coming.

Going to have a nice field down
there, you and John.

What you're going
to have to do next,

you're going to have to figure
out what kind of door you want.

Solid from top
to bottom,

or we can put in one
of them divided ones

where you get air
through the top

and keep the varmints
out with the bottom.

I loved it.

I'd fall asleep
thinking about it,

then I'd dream
about it...

A green field
down there...

New wheat coming up
in the spring...


It was a wonderful


That's what
it was, a dream.

Barn over there...

And a chicken house.

Our own well.

This ain't a dream!
It's real!

Be ready to move into
before you know it.

No, I won't.

What are you
talking about?

I don't know
how to start.

What's the
matter, Mary?

You know what's wrong,
Mr. Edwards,

just as well as I do.

What we're doing
here is wrong.

What we decided back in
the beginning was wrong.

Wrong? There's nothing
wrong about it!

I mean, look at
him down there.

He'll have that field
busted by sundown tomorrow.

You got yourself a
good farmer down there.

He's doing it
all for you.

That's what's
wrong about it.

He's doing it
for me and for you,

not for himself.

He isn't a farmer.

He wasn't born
to be a farmer.

He was born for this.

He was born to books

and words,

and the music he can
make with them.

And we're taking them
away from him.

Now, Mary, girl,
you don't want to...

It's true!
You know it's true.

We can't hold him like
a meadowlark in a cage!

He'll stay if
we ask him to,

with the life
gone out of him

and the music.

I want him, more
than you do, maybe,

but not that way.

I don't think
you do, either.

Do you?

John, here's some
sandwiches and some cake.

I made them
last night.

Thank you,
Mrs. Ingalls.

Keep your hand on
your pocketbook.

Isaiah, you've already
told him that 20 times.


Don't worry,
I will.


Ain't no reason
to thank me.

Debt's on my side.

We'll be thinking
about you.

All the time.

Good luck,

Thank you,
Mr. Ingalls.

I'll be back
for Christmas.

It won't be
so long.

You'll write?

Every day.

I'll write, too.

I want to know
all about you.

And your studies.


I love you.

All aboard!

I love you!

Here, John.

Take care!

- Good-bye, John!
- Bye, John!

- Bye, John!
- Bye, John!

Take care!