Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 5, Episode 11 - The Cheaters - full transcript

Andy is doing poorly in school to the embarrassment of his mother who is the current teacher. Mrs. Garvey hires Nellie Olesen to tutor Andy. Nellie shows Andy how she has been cheating and threatens him to do the same and not tell.

What did
you get?

A "D."

That's not so bad,
I got an "F" minus.

I can assure you it's
no laughing matter,

as at least some of you in
the class seem to understand.

Mrs. Garvey: I'd like to
particularly commend Albert Ingalls

for his outstanding work...
All gold stars.

Congratulations, Albert.

Mrs. Garvey:
Yes, Nellie?

Nellie: Wasn't my work
outstanding, too, Mrs. Garvey?

Mrs. Garvey: Yes, Nellie,
your work was excellent.

Thank you,
Mrs. Garvey.

Mrs. Garvey: Starting tomorrow,
we're going to have daily tests

for grades 4 and up.

- Child: Wow.
- Second child: Boo.

Mrs. Garvey: It's for
your own good, really.

Everyone's grades are going to
be posted on the blackboard.

Do you have to put the grades
on the board, Ms. Garvey?

Yes, Willie.
That way, each one of you

can follow the progress
of the whole class.

It'll just show everybody
how dumb I am!

You're not dumb, Willie,
you're just lazy,

as are others in this class
who shall be nameless,

since they must know
who they are.

Now, the preliminary
tests should prepare you

for the final, major test
at the end of the term.

It'll be in two parts on the
last Wednesday and Friday,

and the results will
largely determine

whether you are promoted to
the next grade or left back.

Class dismissed.

Andrew, I'd like a word with
you, please.

Yes, ma'am?

Your homework was one of
the worst in the class.

What on earth's been
happening to you?

I don't know.

I study.

You see me at home.

Yes, I see you with
your books open,

but half the time,
you're daydreaming,

or your eyes are wandering
off some place else.

What you need to do
is apply yourself,

concentrate on your studies
the way Albert Ingalls does.

Albert doesn't
study that much.

It just comes
easy to him.

Well, it obviously
doesn't come easy to you,

so, you're going to have
to do it longer and harder.

Yes, ma'am.

And there's no better time to
start than right now, is there?

No, ma'am.

So, I want you to go straight
home and do your homework

before any play and
before your chores.

Ain't you coming?

Aren't you coming.

Aren't you coming?

In a while.
You run along.

I have to pick up some
things at the mercantile.

Andrew: I wish mom
never took that job.

Albert: Taken.

Mind your own beeswax,
Mr. Smart aleck.

Just trying
to help.

I get enough
help at home.

As the son of a teacher, Andy,

you must set an
example for the others.

She's always
picking on me.

Well, she just wants
you to do well.

Maybe you should
study a little more.

You sound just
like my ma.

Well, Laura is
right, Andy.

I study as
hard as I can.

And who asked for your two
cents, anyways?

What'd you
do that for?

For making the rest
of us look stupid,

and for putting me in
hot water with my mom.

Laura: It's not Albert's
fault he's smart.

You want to fight,
you bookworm?

Stop it,
Andrew garvey.

I don't want to
fight with you, Andy.

You're my friend.

I don't want to be
your friend anymore,

you big show-off!

Don't pay him
no mind,

he'll get over it.

I suppose.

Come on,
let's go home.

And so, Nellie
was telling me

that you're going to
begin a series of tests.

Yes, starting

Oh, and a can
of peaches.


Now, I know that
you won't mind

if I offer you a little
friendly advice...

Not criticism,
mind you...

But I was thinking,
wouldn't it be wonderful

if you awarded the student who comes
in first in the final examinations

a little prize,

sort of like
a little reward?

I like to think
that learning...

Is its own reward.

Something like a nice,
big, blue ribbon.

Well, I'll even donate it.

Mrs. Oleson: Of course,
I wouldn't be a bit surprised

if my Nellie won it.

I don't like to bribe the students
for their efforts, Mrs. Oleson.

Mrs. Garvey,
may I remind you

that I am on
the school board?

Mrs. Oleson: And I would like
to see the standards raised.

Therefore, there will be
a blue ribbon donated,

and it will be awarded.

Now that that's settled,
is there anything else that I can get you?

No, that's quite enough.

Mrs. Oleson: Mm-hmm,
that will be $1.17, please.

Oh, yes.

Nellie was telling me
also that...

That your Andrew is doing
very poorly in school.

Tsk, tsk, tsk,
such a shame.

It's even
more of a shame

that your Willie is doing
far worse than Andrew.

Yes, poor little tyke.

Takes after his father.

Mrs. Oleson: But I do feel
so sorry for you, my dear.

Why, it must be
so embarrassing

to have your own
son doing so badly.

I'd be willing to help
Andy, Mrs. Garvey.

I should think

you'd have your hands
filled helping Willie.

Oh, no one can
help Willie.

He's hopeless.

Well, thank you very much,
Nellie, but no, thank you.

Andrew assures me that he'll
study hard to do better.

Good day.

Mrs. Oleson: Good day.

Well, my.

That was kind
of you, Nellie.

Just trying to be a good
neighbor, mother.


I thought I heard
a storm blow in.

Sometimes, I wonder
how Harriet oleson

has managed to stay alive
for as long as she has.

Mr. Garvey:
What'd she do now?

She didn't do anything.

For that matter,
she didn't say anything,

nothing I didn't
already know myself.

But it's her way
of saying things.

Trouble was, she's right.

She was right about what?

About Andy doing
so poorly in school.

Alice, the boy's doing
the best he can.

Alice: Well, he's going to have
to do better, much better.

He's in his room right now,
pounding on the books.

Do you have any idea
what it's like

to have the son
of the teacher

near the bottom
of the class?

Maybe you can give
him some extra help.

Jonathan, I just
don't have the time.

I have to grade the
papers and the tests,

prepare the next
day's work,

and run this
house, as well.

Lord knows I can't
help him much.

I never had much of a
chance for book learning.

Alice: Nellie
offered to help him.

Why don't you
take her up on it?

Because I wouldn't give
Harriet the satisfaction.

Alice, when it comes right down to
it, what's more important,

Harriet's satisfaction
or Andy's learning?

Of course I'm more
concerned about Andy.

We'll see how he does
on the first test.

I've been busting my
brains, and I'm doing worse.

I got 100.

It's easy, when you
know how to study.

Mrs. Garvey.

Mrs. Garvey: Good
afternoon, Nellie.

Hey, Andy, did you
see my grades?

Who wants to see
your grades?

I got enough troubles
of my own.

Oh, come on,
take a look.

You want to show me
how smart you are.

What's smart?

Boy, you got a 54.

That's worse than mine.

Yeah, don't know
what my folks will say

when they find out.

Guess we're both
in trouble.


Hey, you want to go
frogging, Andy?

It'll take our
minds off it.

Sure, let's go.

What you need, young man,
are good study habits.

I want to
learn, ma.

That's the
spirit, son.

But I guess I just
don't know how, pa.

I'll get someone
to teach you.

I could work really
good with Albert.

Alice: He's the last
one I'd set you up with.

You'd be off fishing or
frogging or gallivanting around,

which probably explains why
Albert's grades have dropped so.

Pass the butter,
will you, son?

Now, I think what you need is a
real good student to study with.

Mrs. Garvey: And right
now, by far and away,

the best student in the
class is Nellie oleson.

Nellie oleson?

And whatever you may
dislike about her...


The fact remains,
she is still consistently getting

the best marks
on the tests.

Tomorrow, after school,

I'm taking you over to the
mercantile to make the arrangements.

Do I have to?

I won't have you
continue to disgrace me

with the kind of marks
you've been getting.

Now, eat your supper.

Yes, ma'am.

Good afternoon,
Mrs. Oleson.

Ah, Mrs. Garvey,
may I help you?

Yes, I'll get
right to the point.

I've been thinking about the
little talk we had the other day.


Yes, and Andy is continuing to
have difficulties in school...

Oh, yes, I know, Nellie told
me, tsk, tsk, tsk.

It must make you feel very
proud that she confides in you.

Well, so few
parents these days

have the trust and
confidence of their children.


Well, I, uh... I have to
confess that I was wrong

and you were so
right in suggesting

that Nellie help Andrew
with his schoolwork.

Mrs. Garvey: And I was
wondering if you'd mind

if I accepted Nellie's
gracious offer.

Why, no, I don't
mind at all.

As a matter of fact,

it's an opportunity
to do god's work.

God's work?

Yes, an opportunity for the
gifted to help the less gifted.

Nellie, darling?

Nellie: Yes, mother?

Mrs. Oleson:
Are you still willing

to help Andrew
with his homework?

Nellie: Of course.

Mrs. Garvey, I'd
be glad to help Andy

any way I can.

Mrs. Oleson:
All right, darling.

I don't need any more
help down here.

Why don't you take
Andrew up to your room,

and you can begin
your studies right now?

Yes, mother.

Imagine, my Nellie teaching
the teacher's son.

Oh, forgive me.

Now, your mother feels that
your grades are humiliating her,

and she's right.

Normally, I would refuse to help
anyone who won't help himself,

but in your case,
there are special circumstances.

What special

You'll find out.

Do you know how I get
such good grades?

I guess so.

You study hard,

and you're
naturally smart.

No, I cheat.

You cheat?

Well, of course.


If you're smart,
you don't need to.

Smart has nothing
to do with it.

Who can remember all those
things they want you to?

Just clutters the mind.

When you grow up,
you got to know facts.


You can always
look them up,

the way your mother does when
she prepares the class lessons.

You've seen her.

She makes notes and looks at them in
class, doesn't she?


Well, then why should she expect
us to know more than she does?

But cheating...

Nellie: I don't want
to argue about it.

If you want me to
help you, all right.

Or else, go home and tell your
mother you wouldn't let me.

Well, suppose I told
her you cheated?

She wouldn't believe you,
and you can't prove it,

Nellie: And I'd just
say you're lying

because you
were jealous.

Judge not, lest
ye be judged.


How do you do it?

Pull up a chair,
and I'll show you.

How about going
frogging again?

I can't.
Got to go study.


He's become a
regular bookworm.

His ma's doing.

But there's nothing stopping
us from going frogging.

Except your grades.

What about my grades?

They stink!

Well, they're my grades,

so, you can
stop worrying.

I'm not going
frogging with you.

Why not?

Because you should go home
and study, like Andy.

You go home and study.

I'm going frogging,
like me.

Jonathan, take
a look at this.

Your son's.

And kindly
note the grade.

100, Andy?

Would you believe that
one afternoon with Nellie

could make such
a difference?

Well, you've sure got
to give her some credit.

And your son, too.



Mrs. Garvey: Come here
a minute, please.

Oh, that's to show you
how pleased I am,

and I'm sure your
pa feels the same.

I sure do.

A perfect paper.

You think you
can keep that up?

Of course he can.

It's just a matter of
application, isn't it?

I guess so.

How did Nellie
teach you?

Uh, she says to
write things down.

It helps you
to remember.

As simple as that.

As a reward,
on Saturday,

you don't have to do
any chores at all.

Mrs. Garvey: You can go fishing or
frogging or anything you want to do.

Keep up
the good work.

We're mighty
proud of you.

Thanks, pa.

Can I go back
to my room now?

More studying?

Yes, sir,
another test.

Sure, go ahead.

Once again, perfect
grades for one of you

and almost perfect
for another.

And most of the rest of you
are coming along beautifully.

I'm glad to see that you've
made some improvement, Albert.

Yes, ma'am.

As you can see, today's test
is on your geography assignment

and will be the last test.

Children: Yay!

You have to make a
mistake once in a while,

or else she'll
get suspicious.

Mrs. Garvey:
Shh, all right, then.

Grades 1 to 3 may
continue your reading,

and the rest of you,
commence with the test.

Mrs. Garvey: Laura?

Eyes on your own
paper, please.

Yes, ma'am.

What are you
studying for?

Makes me
feel better.

Just a waste
of time.

Does your mother have the questions
ready for the big test yet?

I don't know.

She must be
working on them.

First part's
next Wednesday.

Find the questions
and copy them for me.

I can't.

You can, and you will,

or else I'll tell your mother
how you've been cheating,

Nellie: And you'll get
the licking of your life.

Besides, you
owe me a favor.

What for?

For showing you how to
get good grades, stupid!

Why do you think I did it?

Certainly not because
I'm crazy about you.

So, it's time to pay up.

Your parents are
proud of you, now.

You want them to go on being
proud of you, don't you?

I don't know how to get
a hold of the questions.

She'd probably hide
them some place.

Then spy on her.

I can't promise that.

You'll do it!

Alice, you
ready for town?

Just a minute,

- Andy?
- Yes'm?

- What are you doing?
- Studying.

Do you want to come to town
with your father and me?

No, ma'am, I'd better
keep studying.

Don't overdo it,

You're allowed
Saturdays off.

Andy: Oh, yes, ma'am.

But with the big test on Wednesday,
I'd better keep studying.

All right.
See you later.


Is that next week's

I wondered how you got
so smart all of a sudden.

Then I saw
you yesterday.

Did anybody else?

Is that all that's
bothering you?


Why, Andy?

Nellie made me do it.

How could she make you
do a thing like that?

Andy: I don't know,
it just happened.

Ma said I should
study with her

so I'd learn
good work habits.

She cheats, and then
she showed me how.

Andy: And then she started
threatening if I didn't.


Andy: Ma was ashamed of me

because I was doing so bad.

Now she's proud
of me... pa, too.

And I never felt so
awful in my whole life.

Well, I think that
you should tell them.

I can't!

The worst they can do
is give you a licking.

They'd be ashamed of me.

How would you like it if your
pa and ma was ashamed of you?

I got to go.

Laura, wait!

Laura, this is
the last time.

Please don't
tell my ma.

I won't.

You got them?

Not here!

Ah, here come
our prize students,

right on the dot.

Aren't you going to
copy the questions?

Got my own
set at home.

And this is
the last time.

Oh, we'll see
about that.

No, we won't.

Oh, yes, we will,

or I'll tell your mother about
you in front of the whole class.

And I'll
tell your ma.

She wouldn't believe
a word you said.

Go on home,
Andrew garvey.

Make good crib notes so
your parents will be proud.

Nellie: I bet
I got another 100.

Albert: Laura,
aren't you coming?

I'm coming.

Hi, pa!

Hey, Albert.

Could use a hand
out here.

You got two,
right here.

Oh, come on, you just change
your school clothes first.


How did you do
on the big test?

About average,
I guess.

Be right there.

All right.

Afternoon, ladies.

- Hi, pa.
- How'd you do on the test?

I did fine.

You didn't even
take the test.

That means I couldn't
have done bad.

absolutely right.

You go change
your clothes, too.

Yes, pa.

What are you looking so
down in the mouth about?

Did you do bad
on the test?

I don't know
how I did.

don't even care.

Well, what's
the matter?

I just don't
understand people, pa.

Albert's not doing
his best in school

because he's afraid
he won't be popular.

Whoa, whoa,
now, hold on.

What are you
talking about?

He's afraid the kids won't
like him because he's so smart.

That's nonsense.

That's what I tried
to tell him.

I'll just have a little
talk with him right now.

I wish someone would
have a talk with Andy.

What's the matter
with Andy?

He's working hard.
His grades have never been higher.

I know.
That's the problem.

I promised not
to tell his ma.

You didn't promise
not to tell me.

Will you tell
his ma or pa?

It all depends
what it is.

It was Nellie who
got him into it.

He only wanted to do
what his ma wanted.

He's been cheating.

Nellie cheats, too,

and I know how
she does it.

Let's not worry
about Nellie.

It's Andy I'm
worried about.

Laura: What are you
going to do about it, pa?

I don't know.

First, I'm going
to hang those doors,

and then, I think
I'll take Andy fishing.

Charles: Hey,
you got one on there.

Pull it in.

Whoo hoo, hey,
another nice one.

There you go.

You're getting a fine
string of fish there.

Make a good
supper tonight.

Listen to those
frogs, huh?

Puts me to mind
when I was your age.

Nothing I liked better
than going night frogging.

I used to sneak out at
night so I could do it.

I remember one time,
I stayed out the whole night.

Snuck back into the house.
My folks were still asleep.

They didn't even
know I was gone.

I just climbed
right into bed,

and they never knew
a thing about it.

But that's not the only time
I cheated when I was a kid.

I guess all kids do.

I remember I used to play hooky
from school once in a while.

Charles: I learned how to
copy my ma's handwriting,

so, I'd write them notes about
how I was sick and everything.

The thing is,
I never felt very good about it.

Guilty conscience,
I guess.

And one day, I just
got my courage up,

went and told
my ma and pa.

Tell you, my pa gave me a
whipping I will never forget.

You know, I never enjoyed
anything as much as that.

Cleared my conscience,
I guess.

I think I've caught
enough, Mr. Ingalls.

I'd best be going.

Charles: Whatever you say.

Mr. Ingalls...


You're welcome, son.

Mrs. Garvey: I saved the results of yesterday's
examination till the end of the day

so you wouldn't be distracted
in your preparation

for the final part of
the examination tomorrow,

which will cover
arithmetic and English.

I'm really
very pleased.

Most of you did very well indeed
and are to be congratulated.

Mrs. Garvey: Although there are
one or two low grades,

I know you all
did your best.

Two of you turned
in perfect papers

and tied for the lead.

We may need another blue
ribbon if you do as well

in the second part
of the examination.

Mrs. Oleson: Well, I'll
be very happy to donate

another blue ribbon
for the other winner.

Thank you,
Mrs. Oleson.

Ah, yes.

I don't want to discourage or
reflect on the rest of the class,

but I know you'll understand why
I'm so proud of the two leaders,

Nellie oleson and
Andrew garvey.

to both of you.


Mrs. Garvey?

Yes, Andy?

I don't deserve
no congratulations.


I cheated.

Andrew: I cheated
on yesterday's exam

and all the days before
when I got good grades.

I'm sorry.

Class dismissed.

I'm proud of
you, Andy.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

What a disgrace.

Mrs. Oleson: Oh, Alice,
I'm truly sorry for you.

I can just imagine the
shame you must be feeling.


Mrs. Oleson: Well, come
along, Nellie, darling.

You go home and study
for tomorrow's test.

We'll leave Mrs. Garvey
alone with her son

and her unhappy discovery.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Why, Andy?

I don't know.

You don't know,
or you just don't want to tell me?

I know why.

Are you going to tell your
ma, or should I?

He wasn't the only one who
cheated, Mrs. Garvey.

Nellie oleson cheated, too.

She showed him how.

She made him steal the
questions to the test,

and she said she'd tell
on him if he didn't.

Your ma and I've been
talking things out, son.

Well, we're both glad you
finally spoke up like you did.

Took a lot of courage
to do what you did.

But it don't wipe out
what happened before.

Are you going
to punish me?

I'm going to hold
off answering that.

The way I got
it figured,

your ma and I kind of had
a part in what happened.

Expecting too
much of you,

being a
teacher's son.

Mrs. Garvey: And putting
you in with Nellie oleson.

We've learned
a lesson from it.

Has it taught you
anything, son?

Yes, sir, I have.

I'll never cheat
again, ever.

From now on, when
you have a problem,

we want you to come
and talk to us about it.

What do you think
of me now?

What do you figure
we think of you now?

I don't know.

We love you, boy.

Jonathan: Ain't nothing
ever going to change that.

We didn't figure you'd grow up
without making a few mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes...

But lying and cheating,
we can't abide.

Do you understand that, son?

Yes, sir.

I think maybe you and I better
make a trip out to the barn.

Mrs. Garvey: Do you have to?

It's okay, ma.

It'll make me
feel better.

Mmm, smell
that night air.

Really something,
isn't it?

Yes, sir.

Did I do
something wrong?

What makes
you ask that?

I don't know.

First, you say,
"let's take a walk to the barn,"

so, I figure you wanted
to talk to me alone.

Then, you just talk
about how the air smells.

I figure I must
have done something.

That's good figuring.

Course, you're always
good at figuring...

Up until lately,
that is.

Oh, yeah, my grades.

Yeah, your grades.

What do you think about Andy
cheating to get higher grades?

Think that's right?

He shouldn't have done it,

but leastwise, he told.

Yeah, that's true.

Do you think it's
possible for a fellow

to deliberately
get lower grades

just to be one
of the boys?

I guess it's possible.

How about probable?

That's what you've
been doing, isn't it?

Isn't it?

Yes, sir.

Charles: All right, then,
you've been cheating.

I never cheat...

Charles: Hold on,
there's a lot of ways of cheating.

Some of them are just as bad
and maybe worse.

I don't understand.

All right, now,
the only thing I've ever asked of a child

is that he do his best,

just work the hardest he can
at any job that he has.

That's all a parent
ever asks of a child.

When you don't use the ability
and the brains that god gave you,

you're cheating.

You're cheating god, and
you're cheating yourself.

Sorry, pa.

Guess I never really
thought of it that way.

You'd better start
thinking about it that way.

And I'll tell you
something else.

There's a lot of
things in this world

more important
than being popular.

Being true to yourself
is one of them.

Yes, sir.

All right, now, you got
a test coming up, don't you?

Yes, sir.

Well, while I'm out here
smelling the good night air,

you get your butt inside
and start studying.

Yes, sir.

Child: Good morning,
Mrs. Garvey.

Andy: Morning, ma.

Laura: Morning,
Mrs. Garvey.

Nellie: Good morning,
Mrs. Garvey.


Mrs. Garvey: Laura,
will you pass out the papers, please?

Yes, ma'am.

All right, I'll grade the test
papers during the lunch hour

and announce the
results this afternoon.

Whoo, my, it is warm
today, isn't it?


I think we could use a
bit of fresh air in here.

Oh, Nellie,
aren't you warm with that jacket?

No, ma'am.

You must be.

Mrs. Garvey: You're
actually perspiring.

You're not ill,
are you?

Oh, no, ma'am,
I'm all right.

Oh, child, I can tell when
someone's uncomfortable,

and you most
certainly are.

Now, come on,
off with the jacket.

No, really,
I'm all right.

No, it's all right.
I'll take very good care of it.

It's much too
warm, Nellie.

It's fine!

That's much better.

Mrs. Garvey: All right, class.

Let's begin the final
test of the term,

and good luck
to you all.

What's the
matter, Nellie?

You ain't even
touched your lunch.

Guess she lost
her appetite.

You lied!

You did tell
your mother.

He didn't
tell her.

I did.

Come along, sweetheart.

We'll go and get your
nice, big, blue ribbon.

Come along,
hurry up.

As you can see from
the marks on your papers,

you all did very well.

One of you did
exceptionally well,

with an absolutely
perfect score,

and that one is
Albert Ingalls,

Mrs. Garvey: The winner
of the blue ribbon.


Thank you,

And I am happy to say the
rest of you are all promoted

and may have the rest
of the day off.

Alice garvey!

Yes, Mrs. Oleson?

There must have been
some terrible mistake.

Why, it's impossible
that my Nellie didn't win.

Obviously you graded
the papers incorrectly.

You may be right.

You can check the
answers if you want.

They're right here
inside Nellie's jacket,

Mrs. Garvey: The same jacket she's
worn for every test I've given,

except this last test.

I kept it up
here on my desk.

Have a nice day.

Nellie oleson,
what have you done to me,

me like this?

You said I was
just like you...

Oh, go on.

You're wicked.

Mrs. Oleson: You go right
up to your room, young lady!