Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 4, Episode 21 - I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away: Part 1 - full transcript

Long hours studying by candlelight for the state teacher's exam results in tired, blurry eyes for Mary Ingalls, prompting a routine visit to the eye doctor; but when Charles is told that ...

Mrs. Simms
is nowhere in sight.


It's getting late.
Guess I better ring the bell.

What for? You're
not the teacher.

She told me to assemble the class
if she ever happened to be late.

I never heard her
say that.

You can check with her
when she gets here.

Time for school.

Mrs. Oleson: No, no!
No, no, children!

No, no.
There's no school.

No, there's
no school now.

I've just received word
from Mrs. Simms

that her son Luke has come
down with the measles.

- What a shame.
- Yes!

Well, he probably
caught them

when he went
to Springfield

last week
with his father.

Well, anyway,
what it means is

in order to keep the
disease from spreading,

she has to stay home
and tend him,

which means, of course,

that there's going
to be no school.

For how long?

At least two weeks!

All right!
All right, all right!



You going to
keep me company?

Well, school's out,
so I thought I'd do some fishing.

Well, why don't you
just sit right here

and tell me
all about yourself.

This is my favorite
fishing hole.

Here, let me give you a
hand, brown eyes.

We just moved
to walnut grove,

so I don't know that many
folks around here yet.

Hey, I guess that means
I'm a stranger to you, too.

My name's
Seth barton.

I can't keep calling you brown
eyes, now, can I?

Well, you can
if you want to.

Yeah, but you must
have a real name.

Ha ha ha!
Oh, yeah.

Laura Ingalls.

Well, I'm pleased to
make your acquaintance...

Miss Ingalls.

Thank you.

My pa's farm's
right up there,

so I come fishing
here a lot.

Now, you see,
I always knew

I'd have good luck
at this fishing hole.

I don't see any fish
that you caught.

No, but I found
a friend, didn't I?


I can't help it.
That's what my pa calls me.

I want to thank you
for a nice day.

My pleasure.
This is my house.

Want to come in
and meet my ma?

I would,
but it's getting late,

and I got to get running.

All right. You can
meet her next time.

Who's that?

Oh, that's
my sister.


Mary, this
is Seth barton.

He just moved
into town.

I met him
at the fishing hole.


to meet you, Seth.

Nice to
meet you, Mary.

Seth, you want
to go fishing tomorrow?

I can't. I got to start
my new job in the morning.

Where are you working?

The livery.

Laura: That's
Mr. Dorfler's place.

I get off pretty early tomorrow

if you'd maybe like to
take a walk or something.

I'd love to.

You would? 3:00?


Great. I'll see you
tomorrow, then.

See you tomorrow.

Thanks for the
fishing, brown eyes.

No school for you girls
for two weeks, huh?

Got any special plans?

Mrs. Simms gave me
some books to read.

She wants me to take
the teachers examination

after I graduate
in the spring.

I don't want
to fail.

I'm sure you'll pass
with flying colors.

How about you, half-pint?
Any special project?

Not anymore.

What's that supposed to mean?


Oh, there's a new boy
in town... Seth barton.

I met him
this afternoon.

More like stole.

What are you
talking about?

I saw him first!

Don't you think
he's a bit old for you?

Wouldn't know.
I never got the chance to find out.

He must be quite something
if he has you two

squabbling over him
like that already.

Charles: Yes, indeed.
I can't wait to meet young Mr. Barton.

Mary, are you
all right?

Oh, yeah. My eyes
are just a little tired.

You're about due
for an eye examination.

Oh, no need for that.

I think it's just all the
studying I've been doing.

You're probably right,

but you should
get your eyes examined

at least once a year.

You're out of school.
It's as good a time as any.

Seth: I'm going
to get you, miss.

You got me! Oh!

I've got to keep
an eye on you.

Hi, Seth.

Laura, I'm really
glad to see you.

You are?

Yeah, you could take a
message to Mary for me.

Tell her I got
to make a delivery,

so I'll be about
a half hour late.

Are you going
to see her again today?


Don't it get boring?


You're a good kid,
brown eyes.

Come on, handsome.

"Good kid, brown eyes."

A real good kid.


All finished.
You can relax now.

Are they all right?

Oh, yes. There seems to
be a little eye strain,

but basically,
you're fine.

Mr. Ingalls?

Charles: Yes, doctor.

Have a seat.

Thank you.

Been wearing
your glasses, Mary?

Yes, sir, for reading,
just like you told me.

You might try wearing
them a little more often,

at least
for a while.

There's nothing
seriously wrong, is there?

Oh, no, not at all.

The eyesight will usually
deteriorate slightly

in the first year
and then level off.

In Mary's case,
the eye muscles are a little tired,

that's all.

Been working
too hard, Mary.

I tell her that.
She won't listen to me.

Will I get new glasses?

Of course.

New prescription...

Take care
of everything.

You mind if I stay
in here and watch, doctor?

We don't get to see this kind
of equipment in walnut grove.

Of course.


Ok. This
won't take long.

Now, can you read the
third line from the bottom?

M... E... T?

Charles: Seth, enjoyed
having you over.

Hope you can
come again soon.

I'd like that, sir.

Mrs. Ingalls,
thank you for a delicious supper.

You're welcome, Seth.

Well, good night.

- Good night.
- Good night, Mary.

Mary: I'll walk
with you a ways.


I had a wonderful time
this evening.

So did I.

I like your family.

They like you,
too, Seth.

I can tell.

I'm not so sure
about Laura.

I think she may
like you too much.



Sure is good
to have you back, Mary.

It's good
to be back, Seth.

I hate you,
Mary Ingalls.

I hate you!

Charles: Whoa.

Hi, Carl.

Morning, Charles.


Morning, Charles.

What's the matter?
Why the long faces?

Good reason.

The railroads
are starting a war.

The paper's
full of it.

They say they're going
to bust the granges,

and they're
out to do it.

Got a hold of
the membership list.

They won't even ship any freight
for the members of the grange.

Trains aren't even stopping over
in sleepy eye and Springfield.

There's still
wagon freight.

Won't do no good,

Railroads bought up
all the grain elevators.

Even if we could
sell a crop,

they wouldn't give us
enough for seed.

You can't beat
the railroads

unless they want you
to beat them.

Charles, you're going to
wear that newspaper out.

I keep re-reading it looking
for some ray of hope.

Can the railroad refuse to haul freight?
Is that legal?

Legal or not,
they're doing it.

Can't the grange
do something?

Says here they're going
to sue the railroad.

There, you see?
It is illegal.

Ah, the railroad
will fight it.

Surely the grange
will win.

There you go, Mary.

Well, I wouldn't be so sure
about the grange winning.

Railroad has a lot
of money for lawyers.

The case won't go to court
for at least a year.

A year?
Can they do that?

you have enough money,

you can do just about
anything you want.

Mary, what on earth
are you doing?

Just trying to read.

Do you have to have your nose
buried in the book like that?

Some shadows
on the book.

Are those
your new glasses?

Yes, but they're not much
better than the old ones.

You said they were fine
when you first got them.

They seemed to be
at first.

Brand-new prescription.
Should be better than that.

Even doctors make mistakes.

Let's get you into Dr. Burke... the
sooner, the better.

She can't
be hungry again?

Ha ha ha!
What an appetite.

Now look this way.

Now straight ahead.

Good thing you didn't
come in last week.

I was down
with a sore throat.

No. Don't look at me.

Keep your eyes
on the wall.

Miserable feeling.

How about you?

Any, uh... Illnesses?

Bad ones, I mean.

I had an operation once.
It was awful...

Even worse than when
I had Scarlet fever.

I didn't know
you had Scarlet fever.

It was
a long time ago.

How about my eyes?

Did you
find anything?

There have
been some changes.

Tell you what.
I'd like to have a word with your pa.

Just take a minute.

I'll get him.

Pa, the doctor
wants to see you.

All right.


Please, sit down.

How is she?

I didn't know your daughter
had Scarlet fever, Mr. Ingalls.

She's... she's had
Scarlet fever, yeah.

How bad was it?

It was bad.
It was Scarlet fever.

What is it?

Well, the fever damaged the
nerves, weakened them.

How long
till she's better?

Well, her eyes
won't get better.

The condition
only worsens.

Mr. Ingalls...

Mary is going blind.

There must...
There must be some mistake.

I'm afraid not.

I wish there
was some medicine

or treatment
that would help,

but there isn't.

There is...


There must be something.

It would have to be in
the nature of a miracle,

beyond the knowledge
or skill of a doctor.


Uh... no,
see, you're wrong.

It isn't that.

It's that
my daughter's been...

She's... she's been
reading a lot.

She's been studying.
She wants...

She wants to be a teacher.

And... and her eyes are...

Her eyes are tired.

Rest might help,
but not much...

Not for long.

I don't believe you.

For Mary's sake,
you have to accept the facts.

She hasn't got
much time left.

She'll desperately need
your help and support.

Here. This...

Is a reading glass.

It might help
for a while.

You're wrong.

That didn't
take long, did it?

What did he say?

Oh, nothing.
Nothing important.

What about
my new glasses?

He said
it's just eye strain

and gave me a little
glass that'll help you.

Rest your eyes,
you'll be feeling fine soon.

Thank you again,

- Hi.
- Hi.

They're all in bed.

Mary was exhausted.

You must be tired.

Ah, just
a little bit.

Honey, I...

I want to talk
to you.

What about?

Just about
Mary's eyes.

You and Mary said that
it was just eye strain.

I know. I didn't say
anything to Mary about it,


Dr. Burke thinks that...

That they're gonna get
a little bit worse.

How much worse?

He thinks...

- What?
- He thinks that

she's gonna be blind.

What? Oh! Oh!

- Shh.
- No.

It's all right.
It's all right.

I want you to
listen to me, now.

I drove her home
in the wagon

and she talked about
the sky and the birds

and I think
he's wrong.

- He's wrong.
- What if he's right?

He is wrong.

Oh! Oh!

He's probably wrong.

He's wrong.

Oh, my.

Morning, Charles.


Missed you at the grange
meeting, last night.

Yeah, well, I wasn't
feeling too well.

Kind of been off your feet
for a couple of weeks.

Anything I can do?

No, no.
I'll be all right.

How'd the meeting go?

Well, we got the national
reports, and it don't look good.

Railroads won't budge...

And I don't see how we
can stand up to them.

They got the money,
and we don't.

Some folks is going
belly up already, Charles.

Sprague's putting
the bank up for sale.

Said he didn't think he was
going to get any offers, but...

He's going
to do it anyway.

What if
he doesn't sell it?

Well, they won't
operate at a loss anymore.

He'll just
close it down.

Town'll never make it
without a bank.

I know.

Well, at least we got a few more
orders coming in at the mill.

A little bit
of money coming, but...

After that, I... I think it's
going to take a miracle.

I suppose.

I'll see ya
at the mill, all right?

Women's work done?

Laura's finishing up
the dishes.

I could be mending
or darning.

I thought I'd just come out
here and be lazy with you.

What do you mean, lazy?
I'm refinishing this shutter.

Even though
it doesn't need it.

Been 3 weeks.

She's getting worse,
isn't she?


Laura: Pa! Fire!

get a blanket!

No water!

I got it.

It's all right.
It's all right.

Mary: I'm sorry.

That's all right.
No harm done.

How did it happen?

I was trying to read,

but it seemed
so dark in here.

I went to get
another lamp.

I dropped it.

I think you've been
working too much,

using your eyes.

They do kind of ache.

How about
a cool cloth?

No, I... I better
just go to bed.

I am sorry.

Oh, I told you,
no harm done.

You don't have
to worry about it.

We'll clean it up.
You go on, get some sleep.

It's all right,

Laura, we'll
need a mop.

Me again? Mary gets to
do anything she wants,

and I have to do
all the work!

Your mother told you
to get a mop!

Carrie, you go on,
get back in bed now.

Mama will be in
to kiss you good night.

It's happening
so fast.

I know.

I'm going
to have to tell her.

Do you want me
to do it?


I'll tell her

Reverend: Charles?

I don't mean to intrude.

I was just getting the church
ready for service tomorrow.

Dr. Baker told me.

Is there
anything I can do?

I pray and I pray.

Why doesn't god

He listens, Charles.

And he always answers
our prayers.

He doesn't
always answer...

In a way that we want,

but in a way that he thinks
is best for each of us.

How can taking the sight
from a 15-year-old girl

be the best thing
for her?

We're only finite.

He's infinite in his wisdom.

I can only tell you
that there is a reason.

Charles, believe me...

God must have chosen Mary

for some
very special purpose.

Tomorrow, I have
to tell my daughter

she's going blind.

What should I tell her
is that special purpose?

Studying out here?

It's a little easier
in the sunshine.

I suppose so.

You're worrying about the
railroad, aren't you, pa?


I know it's bad.

Seth and his pa
went to sleepy eye.

They're going to try
to open a livery there.

They figure the farmers
are really going to suffer.

We can always
make do.

Don't have to
worry about that.

I know something's
bothering you.

I wanted to...

I wanted
to talk to you.

See, your mother and
I have been hoping...

And, uh...

Praying, but it was
the Scarlet fever,

and it weakened the
nerves in your eyes.

It'll get better,
won't it, pa?

My eyes will be
all right again.

The doctor thinks
it'll get worse.

And, uh...


He, uh...

He feels that...

You... you're gradually
going to lose your sight.


I-I'm going to be blind?


Mr. Garvey,
have you seen dorfler?


Past 10:00, and
he's not open yet.

He's been shut down
for a week.

Oh. I've been
in sleepy eye with my pa.

What happened?

Well, folks is
feeling the pinch.

Bank's shut down.

I'm shutting
the mill down now.

Kind of knew it would
happen, but not this quick.

Mr. Ingalls here?

No, he hasn't
been in town much

for the last
little while.

I think I'll go out
and tell him the good news.

Pa and me got us
a livery in sleepy eye.


We figure whatever happens,
city business will be good.

Seth, you know
about Mary, don't you?

Know... know what?

About her eyes.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I know
they've been bothering her.

No, son. Uh...

She's... well, she's
losing her sight.


She's going blind.

I was just on my way
out to your place.

The mill's closed down.

I thought I'd save you a trip if
you was planning on coming in.


Is there
anything I can do

or anything you need?


Life's a funny thing,

Couple of weeks ago,
if you'd have told me

the mill was shut down,
grange was collapsing,

I'd be the most upset
man you ever saw.

Now I don't even care.
It doesn't mean a thing.

I just wonder...

How much of our lives
are spent worrying

about things that just
don't mean anything.

If there is anything,

anything at all,

you tell me.

There's nothing now.

I'll see you.

It's heavy.

How is she
this morning?

She's happy today.


Mary: No! Pa!
Help me!

Come help me, pa!

Help me!


Help me!


Pa, I can't see!

I can't see!

I'm here.

Hold me. Hold me.

It's dark!

I'm scared, pa! Hold me!

It's so dark!

It's too dark. I...

I... I can't breathe!

Shh... shh...

Shh... shh...

I don't know
what to do, doctor.

She says she's a burden
to us and she hates it.

We tell her it isn't true,
but it doesn't do any good.

Baker: Now, this may
sound harsh, Caroline,

but I think you're
trying to do too much.

She has to learn
to do for herself

if she's to have
any kind of life.

She can't do
for herself, doctor.

We have to
take care of her.

You do too much,
and she'll retreat to bed,

and she'll stay there.

I haven't been trained in the care
of the blind. Neither have you.

She needs the help
of people who have.

Where do we find
those people?

There are schools
for the blind.

The nearest, one of the
best, is in Burton, Iowa.

So far away?

No. She needs
her family.

Caroline, she's living
in fear and resentment now.

With the proper help
and training,

she'll be
a different person.

You know he's right.

Can you contact them
for us, doctor?


Believe me, Caroline,

it's what's
best for Mary.

Can I get you


A cup of milk?
A cup of cool water?

I told you no.

I ironed a dress for you.

I can help you change.


Well, how about me
brushing your hair?

I can do that.

Well, you haven't,
and it needs it.

You might
have company.


Who's going
to come by? Seth?

Just leave me
alone, Laura.

Hi. I'm back.

Well, you
must be starving.

I'll start some lunch.

I'm not hungry.

Carrie took
my lunch to school.

If I hurry, I can eat with
her and then walk her home.


- How's the baby?
- She's sleeping.

Thank you.
You run ahead.


Your pa and I have
been to see Dr. Baker.

He, uh...

He knows
about a school.

He thinks maybe it would be a
good idea if you went there,

just for a while.


What could
I do in a school?

It's a school
for the blind.

They could teach you
a lot of things there.

Can they make me
a teacher?

Can they
teach me to see?

it won't be for long.

Just try it, and if...

I've never heard of one of
those schools around here.

It's not around here.

It's in Iowa.


I understand now.

You just want to get
me out from underfoot.

Mary, that's not true,
and you know it.

Then don't
send me away.

Please don't send me away!
Let me stay here.


I don't want people
looking at me...

Feeling sorry
for me.

Please, please
let me stay.

Please let me stay!

Mary, I don't want
to send you away,

but if they can help you...

You can't spend the rest of
your life sitting in that chair.

Why not?!

Why not?

Why can't I just sit here?

There's nothing
for me to see.

It's... dark.

No matter where I go,

all there is
is darkness.

You've already decided
to send me there.

Yes, we have.

All right.

I haven't been out
to your house lately,

but it's not
because Mary's blind.

Well, why, then?


If I did go out there,

I wouldn't
know what to say.

Well, what did you
say to her before?

Mary needs you now,

more than ever.

I love my sister.

I thought
that you did, too.

Mary, you've
got company. Seth?

I'll be out in the yard
if you need me.

Hello, Mary.

Seth, how are you?

I've been busy,
working at the livery a lot.

Well, that's good.

Uh, look, I meant
to come out earlier.

I understand.
I-I've been busy, too.

I'm getting ready
to go to Iowa.


Yeah. I'm going to school
there for a while...

Until this nuisance
with my eyes clears up.

I can imagine
the talk in town.

They've probably blown this
whole thing out of proportion.

I can just hear
that Mrs. Oleson now...

"that poor girl."

You know the way she is.


I know you're busy.

I've still got
some packing to do, so...

Give my best
to everyone.

I will.

- Leave me alone!
- Mary...

Get out!
Just get out!

Charles: It's all right.
I got you.

One step.

One more.

It's all right.
The wagon's straight ahead.

I got a little bed
for you in the back.

I'm just going
to put you inside.

There you are.

It's all right.
I got you.

Here's your bag, Mary.

It's a fine day
for the trip.

It doesn't matter, ma.

We love you.

Hurry back.

We'll miss you.



We're doing
the right thing.

You best go.

You got a train
to catch.

Love you.