Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 4, Episode 19 - The Stranger - full transcript

When young Peter Lundstrom is expelled from his private school for petty theft, his wealthy father sends the boy to stay with Uncle Nels Oleson in Walnut Grove for a long-overdue lesson in values.

Hello, Peter.

Is school session
over already?

No, sir.

I have something
for you,

and I have something
to tell you.

Can't it hold?
We're in the middle of things here.

I have to
tell you, sir.

I was

For cheating
and stealing.

It's all
in the letter.


They wrote you
about it earlier,

but you
didn't answer,

so they
sent me home.

Your father's
been away, Peter.

Go to your room.

We'll discuss it later.

We will
discuss it later.

I'll be done in a tiff,
master Peter.

If you'd let us know
you were coming,

we'd have had
everything ready.

Why don't you pop in and
say hello to your grandmama?

She'll be hurt
if you didn't.

Woman: Indeed I am.

That will do, Maggie.

Well, Peter...

And what have you got
to say for yourself?

The headmaster's
wife wrote me.

It wasn't much.

On Saturdays we'd go
from shop to shop

and lift
whatever we could.

And whoever came back
with the most

got to be called "artful
dodger" for the week.

Items you vitally
needed, no doubt.

And the cheating?

Deniver got hold
of the Latin quiz,

and we memorized
the answers.

It was a lark, really.

I knew the answers

And it shook the school
to its very foundations.

I declare our pundits were
born utterly without humor.

Ahh, Mr. Lundstrom.

Peter and I have been over
his several peccadilloes,

and in my opinion,

he's had sufficient
punishment already.

I don't intend
to punish him.

You don't?! How rare
for us to be in agreement.

Ah! Well, that
settles the matter.

I'll write to the headmaster,
bully him a little,

and we'll have Peter back
in the school in no time.

Not at that school
we won't.

But it's
the best around!

Your wife chose it
with your consent.

I knew nothing about it.
I relied completely on her,

but now I've seen
some of the boys

that came out
of that school,

and I simply
don't like them.

I want him to have something
that he has never yet had...

Something that I had
when I was his age.

Well, according to the
tales you told my daughter,

that wasn't very much.

It was enough for me.

I made my way.

I helped my father and his brothers dig
the sod for the houses that we built.

I learned to cut
a straight furrow.

Do you propose to put a
shovel in Peter's hands

and set him
to farming?

I may. I may not.

I'll have to make arrangements
with my cousin first.

May we learn what
sort of arrangements?

And where
is this cousin?

In Minnesota.

Oh! And you propose
to ship the boy out

to this godforsaken

My daughter,
god rest her,

would never have
allowed such a thing.

She would have
encouraged it.


Contrary to what your
grandmother may think,

I'm not sending you
out to exile.

I'm sending you to find
a sense of values.

I'm going to make
the arrangements.

Well, Peter, this is where
you're going to spend the summer.

I'm afraid that you're going
to find conditions here

somewhat more primitive
than back home, Peter,

but your auntie

We're comfortable, Peter,
and you will be, too.

Thank heaven
we're here.

I must use
the water closet.

Willie: The water closet!
What's that?

Uh, Peter, we don't
call it that here.

It's, um, it's
around outside in back.

Willie, show him.

Come on.

so embarrassing!

Over here.




Sure! Why do you think
they call it an outhouse?

want this thing

sitting in your living
room, would you?

Go on!

Don't fall in!

He didn't even know
what an outhouse was.

Oh, that's
enough, Willie!

Well, pa told me
to show him.

All right. Just take the bag
up there with your sister.

Go along.

Hey, nels.

Hello, Charles.

Made good time
from sleepy eye.

Pretty good, yeah.

Well, I'm beholden to you for
keeping an eye on the store.

It was
my pleasure.

The missis would have every
one of us go to meet him.

Here's the books. Take a look.
Been pretty quiet.

No, there's no hurry,
you know.

Harriet: Well,
I warned you, Peter,

you might find things
rather primitive here,

but your uncle is going
to install facilities inside

as soon as
he has the time.

Peter, I'd like you to
meet a friend of ours...

Mr. Ingalls.

nice to meet you.

Thank you, sir.

Harriet: Well,
come along, Peter.

You must be exhausted
from your travels.

Right up the steps.

Your auntie is going
to take care of you.

His pa wrote a letter.

The missis read it her way.
I read it mine.

It seems the boy has been
in some trouble at school.

His pa asked me
to give him chores,

make him earn his way,
teach him a sense of values.

There's nothing
wrong with that.

I can't even
do it with my own,

not with Harriet
teaching them otherwise.

Well, just look on
it as a challenge.

That's easy
for you to say.

You need any help,
just call me.

Yeah. I'll do that.

Thanks again, Charles.

You bet.

All you brought
was clothes.

You didn't bring
anything to play with.

Uh! Willie!

your manners.

My grandmama packed
these presents.

She said I should
be sure to say

they were a small token
of my gratitude

for your hospitality.

My! Well,
she shouldn't have.

Ha ha ha!

Oh, my goodness!

Oh, this is
so exciting!


Oh, my.

Oh, it's simply

Oh, my. Well, I must write
to your grandmama

and thank her,

and you must write,
too, children.

Nellie: Oh, yes.
I'll use my best stationery.

You, too, Willie.

Couldn't I just
send the tie back?

Harriet: Willie!

Peter: And this
is for your father.

Harriet: You take it down to him
right now, Willie.


Yes, ma'am.

I can't wait
to show my friends.

All right, darling,
but don't get it dirty.

Oh, my!


This is from the
orient, I'm sure.

It's pure silk.
I'm sure it is.

I'm sure.

Well, let's get you
all unpacked now

so you can
go out and play.

I'm... I'm rather tired.

I don't feel
like playing today.

Oh! What is this?

Why, this is
simply beautiful!

That's for chapel.

We all had
to wear them.

Well, you shall wear
this to church tomorrow

and show walnut grove
what proper folk wear.

Oh, my!

You are going
to set your mark

on walnut grove,

Having trouble
sleeping, Peter?

Yes, sir.

Well, takes some getting used
to, I know.

When I was your age,
give or take some,

my aunt and uncle
took me in.

My mother
had the sickness.

I remember I felt
very strange at first,

but in no time at
all, I got used to it,

and when I went
back home,

I actually
missed them.

Well, we're all
strangers, boy,

we become friends.

I know
you'll miss your pa

just like
he'll miss you,

but it will pass.

He won't miss me.

Well, now,
what kind of a thing is that to say?

Just the truth.

Good night, sir.

Good night, Peter.

Good morning,
your lordship.

You're a lot
of nincompoops...

Every one of you!


Did you
hear that?

We're nincompoops.

Peter: Hey!

Oh! For heaven's sakes!

Now stop that!

Oh, you ruffians!

You brats!

Go on!
Get out of here!

You go on home!

Peter, wait.

Now, let him be.

You've caused enough
trouble as it is.

Don't you talk
to me like that.

Well, then
behave yourself,

and try to use the
sense that god gave you.

I want to go home,
uncle nels.

I'm sorry. I can't go against
your father's wishes, boy.

I want to be
sent home.

Peter, I'm sorry.
I know the boys can be cruel,

and they were,

but they didn't mean
any harm by it.

They're a good lot,
most of them.

You get to know them
a few days,

and you'll take to them
and they to you, too.

You'll see.

Willie: Dinner's ready.
It's roast ham!

All right. We'll talk about
this again after we eat.

I'm not hungry.

All right.

And I shan't eat
till you send me home!

Well, your stomach's
going to say different,

but, uh, suit yourself.

Harriet: Did you tell Peter
that dinner is ready?

Nels: The boy doesn't
want to eat!

Harriet: But he has to.

Nels: Harriet, please!

Harriet: Peter!

Oh, I'm sorry
about those ruffians.

I won't let them
bother you again. I promise.

I know you're upset,

but, now, you should
really eat something.

You really should.

That statue
on the steps

could do with
a bit of dusting.

Yes, I'm afraid you're right,
Mrs. Garvey.

Can I help you?

My day to help.
Telegraph for you, and a package for...

Oh! For me!


where are you?

Up here, ma.

Harriet: Oh! Ha ha!

Willie, I have
a surprise for you.

What is it?

Oh, wait
till you see.

Oh! Here.

I want you
to try this on.

I ain't wearin' that!

Don't say "ain't,"
and you are.

Here! Willie, show your father
how nice you look.

Where in heaven's
name did you get that?

I sent for it!

Why should Peter be the only one
properly dressed in this town?

Oh, Harriet.


Can I go show my
friends my new suit?

You mean
you like that?

Sure, I do.

There! You see!

Do you really, Willie?

Yup. Now can
I go show 'em?


Only you
mustn't play, now.

You must keep it all
nice and fresh, darling,

for church, eh?

I won't play. I promise.

All right.

Ha ha!

Ah, well.

At least one man in this family
appreciates good taste.

Hey, look at Willie.

Well, looky here.

It's little
prince Willie.


What are
you doing?

Boy: That's
my good shirt!

Willie: So what?

I'll give you
"so what!"

Boy: That's the way,

"so what."

Hey, let's get him!


Oh! Oh! You get
away from him!

Get away
from him!

Oh, my Willie!
Are you...

Willie: They ruined
my wonderful suit!

Well, I told you
not to play in it!

You call that playing?

Oh, look at you!
You're practically naked! Get inside!

Yes, ma'am.
Oh, here.

Oh, get in there!
Oh, this town! These people!

Just look what
they've done to him!

I see, I see.

And it isn't the town that
bought him that silly suit.

It was you.

You made a laughingstock of
Willie, and he fought back.

I'm proud of him.

A laughingstock?

Well, that
just goes to show

what you know about
manners and deportment.

You wrote a letter
to Peter's father

telling him that
he wanted to go home.

Well, it certainly
is the truth.

here's his answer.

But why
haven't you...


Why haven't you shown
that to me before?

Because you were too busy
dressing Willie up like a...

Here. Read it.

Oh, you are the most
obstinate man

I have ever seen
in my life.



How dare he say
such things?

Because they're true.

Oh! What right has
he got to suggest

that I'm not capable of teaching
my children the social graces?

He doesn't suggest
any such thing.

He doesn't even want
his son home, no!

But he can
criticize me!

Harriet, shut up!

He didn't hear
what I said.

Of course
he heard you.

Everybody in hero
township heard you.

Well, why didn't you tell me
that he was standing there?

Because, as usual, I didn't want to
interrupt while you were talking.

Aunt Harriet was
a little excited,

and when
she's excited,

she says things
she doesn't mean.

Pa doesn't
want me at home.

that's not true.

He loves you, and he
wants you at home

but not until you've
spent the summer here.

Mrs. Oleson
doesn't want me.

I want you,
and so does she,

only she's just a
little excited now.

I'll tell you what.

Why don't you come
in the store with me,

and she'll tell you.

She'd be lying,
like you are!

I'm not lying,

I'm trying
to help you.

Let me alone.

All right,

Whoa, whoa, whoa,
whoa, whoa!

Now, come on now.
Come on now. Hey!

That's enough. Whoa!

What in the name of
heaven are you doing?

Nels, you let go
of that child!

Keep quiet and
get back inside.


Now you
answer me.

Answer me!

All right. Get upstairs. Go on!

What's this
all about?

Oh, Charles.
I'm about at the end of my wits,

I tell you.

That boy just sits around and
mopes, and now this.

I wish to heaven
I'd told his father

I couldn't
have him here.

Well, being homesick would
explain the moping around

but not
the broken windows.

I'm sure
it's his father.

He's got the idea
somehow or another

that his father doesn't
want him around.

Well, do you think
there's any truth in that?

No, no.

His father
was farm-born.

He wanted Peter to
spend the summer here

so he'd learn some of the values
that he did when he was a boy.

Peter doesn't
believe that,

and all he's learned so far
is how to smash windows.

Oh, I swear.

Between Harriet
and the boy,

I'm at the end
of my rope.

Tell you what, nels.
I got a field needs clearing.

I could use a little help
for a couple of weeks.

He might even make enough
money to pay for the windows.

Are you serious,

It would be a
great favor for me.

Oh, no. No favor.
I could use the extra hand.

I'll pay him the going wage
as long as he earns it,

and he can sleep
in the barn loft.

can he start?

How's tomorrow
morning sound?

that's perfect!

You got it!

Morning, nels.

Morning, Charles.
Morning, Caroline.

Caroline: Good
morning, Mr. Oleson.

Morning, Peter.

Well, here's
your hired hand.

All right, Peter.
Out you go.

You take care,

I'll do that.

My wife Caroline.

Peter lundstrom.

Good morning, Peter, and welcome.
This is Mary...


And Carrie
and Laura.

Laura: Hi.

Are you hungry?
You want some breakfast?

I'm not hungry.

Oh, good. We can
get right to work, then.

I'll show you
where you sleep.

Uh, not that way.

You see, the family
sleeps in the house.

The hired help sleeps in the barn.
Come on.

Get your bag.

Well, this is
where you bunk.

The straw's
good and fresh.

You can keep your
clothes in the box

over there
in the corner.

You can see the outhouse
right from the window.

Nels said he packed you some
work clothes in this case.

You best get changed,
and we'll be ready to go.

I prefer to wear
what I have on.

Well, I don't prefer it,
and you work for me.

As long as you do,
you'll do what I say.

And if I don't?

Then I'm gonna have to bare your
bottom and give you a whuppin'.

I expect you changed and
downstairs in 5 minutes.

Are you sure you
don't want to put on

those work gloves
I brought you?

Quite sure.

Suit yourself,

but those hands of yours are
gonna be sore as the dickens.

All right.
That's lunch.

Take a half
an hour.


Oh, let's see
what we got here.

Mmm! We got fried
chicken and biscuits.

I'm not hungry.

You sure?

Quite sure.

Oh, you're quite sure about
everything, aren't you?


How are those hands?

Just fine.


You're not hungry,
you might as well keep on working.

Well, you
just said that we...

I said it was lunchtime.
That's time to eat.

Your hands are all
right, you don't eat,

you might
as well work.

Well, go on.
Get to work.


I got some liniment
that will help those hands.

They're fine.

I know. You're
quite sure they're fine.

All right.
It's time for supper.

Hungry or not,
you'll sit at the table

from blessing
until I excuse you.

See you
in a few minutes.

Shall we bow
our heads?

Thank you, oh, lord,
for your kindness and your love

and for the bountiful feast
that you've placed before us.

Please help us
to be deserving.

We want to thank you, too,
for bringing young Peter into our midst.

He's a good worker,

Does a man's day.

Help us and guide us.


All: Amen.

Oh, Caroline.
This roast looks good.

You two worked so late,
I was afraid it would be overcooked.

don't blame me.

Had to keep up
with Peter there.

Guarantee you
I'll sleep tonight.

Pa says you chopped
2 wagonloads.

I did?

Charles: Well, you sure did.
Here you go.

That's going to be
a pretty good field.

I figure we ought to be able to
start seeding in 3 days or so.

Can we help, pa?

Sure, you can.

With 3 of you working,
it'll get done real quick.

Almanac says we're going to have
a pretty good year this year.

Mmm! Caroline,
this roast is delicious.

Thank you, Charles.

Is yours
all right, Peter?

Yes, ma'am.

Caroline: Would you like
some more milk?

Peter: Yes, ma'am.

Charles: Yes, indeed.

Think we're gonna have
a real good year.

Here you go, dear.

Peter: Thank you.

Mary: Just stay
on the furrow line.

Makes it easy to keep
the rows straight.

Laura: Our pa plows
the straightest furrows

in hero township.

Peter: I can see!

The edge of the field looks
like it was drawn with a ruler!

It was... the one he
carries in his head.

You talk a lot about your papa...
Your pa.

Sure. Don't you?

I don't know much
about mine.

He goes
to business mostly.

Well, our pa's
always working,

but he's around
when we need him.


Charles: You know,
I'm really proud of you.

A man never had
a better planting crew.

Thanks, pa.

I feel like going swimming if I can
get somebody to go along with me.

Laura: Yay!

I'm kind of tired.

I don't feel
like swimming.

Ah, come on.

After a long, hot
day in the dust,

a swim will make you
feel like a new man.

Well, I don't have
a swimsuit.

Don't worry
about that.

We swim in
our underwear.

Well, I thank you
for the invitation, but...

Hey, no buts. You're working for
me, and I'm paying you,

and I say we're
going swimming.

Yes, sir.

Charles: Ha ha ha!

Laura: Come on, pa!

Mary: Yeah. Tell Peter
to hurry, pa.

All right.

Hey, Peter.

Come on. Hurry up!

You can't swim if you
don't get in the water.


What's the matter?

I, uh...

Come on, come on.

It's all right.
Speak up. What is it?

I can't swim, sir.

Oh, I see.

That does create
a problem, don't it?

But it's not one
we can't solve.

Why don't I just teach you?
How's that?

It's all right.
Nothing to be scared of.

All right, sir.

That's my boy.

Uh, is it deep?

Deep? Well, I'll tell you,
there's only one way to find out.

What are you doing?

Well, I said you
can't learn to swim

if you don't
get in the water.

Oh! Oh!

Oh, help!

Come on. Now kick your
feet and paddle your arms.

That's it.

There you go!

I'm doing it!

I'm swimming!

You're darn right
you're swimming.

Ha ha ha!

But you
didn't have to.

The water's
only 2 feet deep.



Ha ha ha!

Charles: Ha!

Oh! Ha ha!

I am tired.

How about you?


But it was
such fun.

Yeah, it was fun
if I do say so myself.

Better get on up there,
get some sleep, huh?

Uncle Charles?


I... I've never had...

I never...

Good night,
uncle Charles.

Good night, boy.

See you
in the morning.

Oh, Peter.

Peter, let me
look at you.

I've been
so worried.

Oh, your hands.

Look at
your hands!

They're just some calluses
and a couple of blisters.

Oh, blisters!
Blisters on your hands.

Better on your hands
than on your behind.


That's what
uncle Charles says.

Uncle Charles?


Well, Peter,
how are you?

Fine, sir.
Working hard.

Yeah, I know. Come on
over here to the counter.

I've got something
to show you.

Here we are, huh?

Now, this is
your complete debt.

That includes the cost of all
the wood and glass and the putty,

minus what Mr. Ingalls has paid me
for the work you've done on his farm.

This shows a minus?

It's a credit...

Due and payable
to you.

43 cents.

Ha ha ha!

A little jingling money
for your pocket.

I must say
you did a fine job.

I thought it would take you
all summer to get square.

Charles: Oh, no.
Not the way he works.

I suppose you'd like
to go back to the Ingalls.

If you don't mind,

He says he has
more work for me.

You go.

Have a good time.

Thank you,

Bye, auntie.


Charles: Don't
you worry, nels.

We'll take
good care of him.

- Thanks again, Charles.
- You bet.

Your cousin sent him
to us to take care of.

Yeah. So he did.

But the Ingalls can offer
him more than we can.

Of what?


Just about
everything, Harriet.

Penny for
your thoughts.

Oh, I was just
thinking about the boy.

You'll miss him.

I got used to being
called uncle Charles.

He'll miss you,

I hope not really.

I hope he finds a little at
home of what he found here.

What time will
they be here?

tomorrow afternoon.

He wants me to take him
out by the lake.

Wants his father to see
him swimming first thing.

He's quite
a little fella.

Charles, you did
all you could.

It will be out of
your hands tomorrow.

I know.

Come on. Buy you
a cup of coffee.

Harriet, there's
someone at the door.

Harriet, there's
someone at the door.

I'm singing.

Why can't you
answer it?

Why must I do it?

Because while you're
answering the door,

you won't be singing.

We will talk
about it later.

Yes, what is it?

Excuse me. Is this
the oleson residence?


- Ah!
- Nels.

- Oh!
- Ho ho!

My, my, my, my,
my, my, my,

you haven't aged
a day.

Neither have you.

We're both liars.

Yes, we are.

Oh, Mrs. Caldwell,

this is my cousin
nels oleson.

My mother-in-law.

Nels: I'm pleased
to meet you, ma'am.

And this is Harriet
oleson... my wife.

Where's Peter?

Nels: Uh, he's with
some friends.

Did he know
we're coming?

Yes. He wants to
show you something

and I promised I'd
get you out there

as soon as possible.

I'm ready to go.
We can use my carriage.

Good. I'll get
my coat.

I'm disappointed Peter
wasn't here to meet us.

You said in your
telegram that you

wanted us to do
whatever we thought

was best for Peter.

Well, I'm afraid
that Harriet and I

weren't able to get
through to him very well,

so, he's been staying
with the Ingalls.

They've done him
a world of good.

The Ingalls?

Oh, well, he's just
a farmer.

It actually was nels' idea.
It wasn't mine.

Well. Shall we go?

You stay here
and sing.


They're coming,
uncle Charles!

I know they're coming. Take it easy.
Don't get so excited.

I can't help it.
He's going to be so surprised.

I know he is.

How are you?

Peter: I'm fine, sir!

I'll be right there!

Charles, I'd like you
to meet olaf lundstrom.

A pleasure,

And this is Peter's grandmother,
Mrs. Caldwell.

Ma'am, very nice
to meet you.

I understand the lad's
been working for you.

Yes. Indeed, he has,
and he's a hard worker, too.

Ha ha!
Look at him!

He looks
good and healthy.


Come on out
so we can talk.

Peter: Papa,
are you surprised?

Caldwell: Peter,
have you forgotten your manners?

I'm sorry,
grandmama. Hello.

Are you surprised,

I was surprised.

I didn't know you had been
working for Mr. Ingalls.

I'm proud of you.

Now gather your things,

and you'll tell me all about
this summer on the way.

My things are at the Ingalls.
I'll get them ready.

We'll give you a ride.

It's not far.

We'll drive you to...

It's not far!


Now, what in heaven's
name did I say?

That's the trouble.

The boy wanted to show you
that he'd learned to swim.

That's why he wanted you
to come out here.

I didn't even know
that he couldn't swim.

I'm sure there's
a lot of things

you don't know about your
son, Mr. Lundstrom.

Caldwell: Mr. Ingalls!

We're well aware
of Peter's activities.

Are you well aware
that he doesn't like school,

that he steals things he obviously
doesn't need, but do you know why?

Mr. Ingalls, I...

Lundstrom: Mother!

What is it
you started to say?

I think your son
steals things

so you'll
pay attention to him...

So that at least
you'll have to talk to him.

That's ridiculous!

Is it?

What else do you talk to your son
about, Mr. Lundstrom?

There's a lot more
to raising a boy

than just teaching him
a sense of values.

There is love, sir.

Would you...

Would you mind
walking me to your place?

I'll be ready
in a minute.

Oh, there's no hurry. No hurry.




I'm sorry I put a lot
of things between us.

The reason why I
sent you out here...


I wanted you to
learn what I learned

in a place
like this

when I was
a boy your age.

Now... how did Mr. Ingalls
teach you to swim?

He threw me in.

Just like my pa
did with me.

You didn't
know that, did you?


Look at me, please.

Look at me, Peter.

I haven't been a
good father to you.

I know that.

I'm not going
to make any excuses

because I just
don't have any.

I don't know why
I work the way I do.

I don't have to.

Just like you don't have to
steal, I suppose.

I want to change.

I want to be a
good father to you.

You're crying, papa.

Papa, don't.

I love you.

Ha ha ha!

I love you.

I love you!

Ha ha ha!

Oh, I love you.

Would you like
some more tea, Mrs. Caldwell?

No, thank you.

at the time!

I have to go and
tell them to hurry.

That's all right, Mrs. Caldwell.
I'll do it.

Here they are.

Caldwell: Oh!
Oh, there you are!

Where are
Peter's things?

In the loft.

In the loft?

We'll barely make
the train as it is.

No, we won't.


We're not going
to make the train.

We're going swimming.

Mr. Ingalls, we're going
to stay on a while.

If you don't mind,
I'll share the loft with Peter.

It's been a long time
since I slept on a good hay bed.

Mr. Lundstrom,
I'd be delighted.

Thank you. Let's go.

Mr. Lundstrom...

May I remind you you have a
stockholders' meeting on Thursday.

Oh, my, my, my, my, my!

My son and I
can't make it.

Ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

Have a good time!

Ha ha ha!