Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 5, Episode 23 - Mortal Mission - full transcript

Charles and Jonathan meet with danger as deadly as the disease they left behind them when they are sent for the medical supplies needed to battle an outbreak of anthrax in Walnut Grove.

They ain't gonna
last the day.

The rest of the flock
will go, too.

What do you think
it is, garth?

Don't know.

Don't know
for sure, Virgil.

Could be the Anthrax.

If we lose
the whole flock,

we're not going to make it
through the winter.

What are we going to do?

Only thing we can do.

Butcher them that dies and sell
the meat to whoever will buy it.

Well, no one's going to buy
mutton with the Anthrax.

We're not sure
it's Anthrax,

and we ain't telling
nobody nothing.

We can't do that,

Says who?

But if it is Anthrax,

well, people
will get it, too.

They'll die.

Maybe, maybe not.

But I'll tell you
one thing, Virgil.

We'll die, starving,
if we don't peddle them sheep.

Now, we'll set
a real bargain price,

and people will just
snap that mutton up.

I ain't going
to do it, garth.

You are, Virgil.
Now, you listen to me.

I've always taken
good care of you, haven't I?

Haven't I been
a good brother to you?


Then you do what
I say, all right?

Well, who we going
to sell them to?

Well, anybody.

Anybody that
will buy them.

Them... them folks up at the
blind school's dirt-poor.

Lots of mouths to feed and
always looking for a bargain.


All right.

All right, Virgil, come on.
Let's get to butchering.

I never will get over how the
children can bear the bitter cold.

They keep their blood
circulating so fast

they don't even
feel the cold.

I just hope it doesn't snow before
Jonathan and Charles get back.

Mrs. Garvey.

Come in, Mr. Fenton.
Come in out of that cold.

Thank you.
Mrs. Ingalls.

Virgil and me,
we just butchered some sheep,

and we've been selling
the mutton around.

Well, we got two nice,
big roasts left.

Thought you might
be interested.

How much
you asking?

50 cents each.

At that price,
I can't afford not to buy one.

I'll take
the other one.

Then I'll fetch them.

Why don't the Ingalls share
the garvey roast tonight?

Oh, we'd love to.

And when the men
get back,

the garveys can have some
of the Ingalls roast, huh?

Here we go, ladies.

Caroline: Hurry and get dressed,
Carrie, and you won't be cold.

Here we go.

time to get up!

10 minutes
till breakfast.

Laura? Albert?

What's the matter?

Laura: I don't know, ma,
but I feel awful sick.

Albert: Me, too.

You're cold as ice.

Where do you hurt?

All over.

My head and my stomach.

My legs.

I got the same
thing, too, ma.

Real bad.

You two stay in bed.
I'm going for Dr. Baker.


Carrie: Yes, ma?

Laura and Albert
are sick.

Can you manage breakfast for
grace while I go get Dr. Baker?

Sure, ma.
What have they got?

I don't know.
Here, don't get cold.

Mush is on the stove.

Jonathan: Well,
this ought to do it.

Man: Right on
the nose, as usual.

Well, here's the bill
of lading.

How about I buy
you both a drink?

Keep you warm
in this weather.

Thanks, Mr. Rawlings,
but the sooner we start back, the better.

Well, maybe
next time.

Have a safe trip, now.
See you in the spring.

Charles: Right-o.

Let's make tracks... a
warm house and a warm bed.

Don't forget
a hot meal.



What is it, doctor?

I don't know yet, Mary.
Not exactly.

Pain, debility,

initial chills,
and then fever.

Some sort of massive
infection, I'd say,

like most of the children
here at school

and a lot of others
around walnut grove.

I can't treat everyone
who's come down with this

unless we concentrate them
all in one place.

Well, why not
here, doctor?

This is the biggest house
in walnut grove.

That's very good, hester-sue.
Thank you.

I'm going to get this blood sample
of Adam's under a microscope,

see if I can get a line on what
we're dealing with here.

Mary, Thomas Murray's
crying for you.

He won't settle
for anyone but you.

What do you think,

What if we move him and some
of the other children in here?

I could care
for them better.

That's a good idea.

I'll go and see about
moving some beds in here.

Could I have some water,

Here, Adam.



Oh, doctor.

I picked Danny up
on the road,

on my way to get you.

Looks like he's got the same
thing Albert and Laura have.

He says
Alice is sick, too.

Got a lot of sick people
here, too, Caroline.

Adam. The children.

It's beginning to look
like an epidemic.

Do you know what it is?

I'm working on it.

We've got to bring
all the sick here.

I can't be
everywhere at once.

I'll go get
the children and Alice.

Hester-sue, we'll need all your
spare blankets for pallets.

There won't be enough
beds to go around.

We've got to clear out
this furniture.

I'm afraid we're going
to need the room.

Family's at
the blind school.

Doc baker's turned it
into a hospital.

What is it?


Man: I brought my boy
Nate, like the doc said.

Bring him right in here,
Mr. Berwick.

Put him right down here.

Your wife?

Martha's dead, an hour ago.

I'm sorry.

I'll be back in a minute
to look at your boy.

Hester-sue: Doc?

We're getting
kind of full.

Do you think
there will be many more?

I don't know,

The incubation period
for Anthrax runs

from 12 hours
to as many as 12 days.

So then any of us could
still come down with it.

That's right.

I just hope we have enough
medicine to see us through.

What about the
patented medicine

the olesons keep on stock
in the mercantile?

Will any of it do?

Quinine and the tonics.

I already asked nels to bring
over everything he's got.

I best see about
the children upstairs.


Your families are
holding their own.

That's about all
I can say right now.

Can we see them?

Certainly. Anthrax
isn't contagious,

not in the way
smallpox is.

In there.

Charles: Caroline?

How are Carrie
and grace?

They're all right
so far.

They're staying in
hester-sue's room.

But Adam's got it, too.

Albert's been
asking for you.



You're here.

How you feeling, son?

Hey, you're going
to be all right.

Don't you worry.

You and Laura are going
to be all right.

I guess I got it.

It looks that way,
Mr. Olsen.

Put him in here with
the rest of his family.

Oh... oh, nels.

You're sure it's Anthrax?

No question.

All these
blood samples

show the same
filamentous bacteria.

How did they
get it, doc?

Well, from what I've
been able to determine,

the one thing the
sick have in common

is the mutton garth and
Virgil fenton sold them.

They had to know
it was diseased meat.

Why didn't everybody that
ate the mutton get infected?

None of these
medical books

can explain
why some people

contract the disease
and others don't,

but one thing
is certain.

The rest
of the fenton sheep

have to be destroyed
and buried right away

to prevent this thing
from going any further.

We can handle that.

Now, don't touch those
sheep barehanded.

You can get Anthrax just
by handling those animals.

I don't know where they were going,
but they didn't get very far.

This one's
still breathing.

So is this one,
but barely.

All right, let's get
those sheep buried.

We'll get them
to doc baker.

Keep applying the
alcohol, Mr. Berwick.

We got to get your
son's temperature down.

I can't
lose him, doc.

He's all I got.

Are we going
to die, doc?

No, sir. Forget that.


You ain't giving them
any medicine.

I know who these two are.

No, not medicine. Not the medicine
that my boy and the others need here.

Mr. Berwick...

they're sick, too,

and they need medicine just
like the rest of the folk.

What's the matter with you?


Hey, I know
who they are.

They're the ones
that killed my wife,

maybe my boy and
these other people.

They don't deserve
to live.

Why don't you let that be the lord's
decision, Mr. Berwick, not yours.


Mr. Berwick,
go back to your boy.

Charles? Jonathan?

I need your help.

Just name it.

To fight the infection,

each one of these patients
needs 15 grains of carbolic acid

and 30 grains of
quinine daily.

Now, we're running
dangerously close on both.

Just as important,
maybe even more so,

they need something
to sustain them.

Now, none of them are eating
very much at all.

They need something
to strengthen them,

like iron, cinchona, wine.


Strong wine,
easy to digest.

What do you
want us to do?

First of all, send this telegram
to the hospital in Rochester.

Now, I'm asking them
to send us the medicines

and the supplies we need by
train, all speed, to Springfield.

We'll pick
it up there?

That's right.

We're on our way.

how is Adam?

No change.

And the others?

The same.

I brought
some beef broth,

if we can just get
them to take it.


Hester-sue brought
some broth for you.

I don't want any.

Adam, you have
to eat something.

Come on. It's
nice and hot.

Open up.

I can't.

You need all your strength
to fight the infection.

I wouldn't be able
to keep it down, anyway.

I feel so helpless.

I know.

Isn't there anything
we can do?

There's nothing else
our Dr. Baker can do,

except pray.

Aw, hester-sue, I've
been doing that.

I know.

But it's the best

and practically the only
medicine we have left.

Mrs. Kendall!

Yes, Thomas?
What is it?

I-I-I ca-can't...


get Dr. Baker.



Dr. Baker?

I'm right here,

He's gone.

How many more are
going to die, doctor?

I don't know, Mary.

I don't know.

You got a freight
consignment here

for Dr. Baker,
walnut grove?


Supposed to be
on today's train.

From the hospital
in Rochester.

Today's train
hasn't come in yet.

Supposed to be in here
over an hour ago.

Should have been,
but it ain't.

holding it up?

I don't know.

What time
do you expect it?

I don't know
that either.

Telegraph wire's down.

There's a blizzard
coming through Rochester.






Oh, good lord.
I thought y...

Oh, I do love you,
nels oleson.

I know that.

Do you?

Even though...

Well, honestly,
I just don't know

how you put up
with me sometimes.

I don't put up
with you, Harriet.

I love you.

Laura: Ma?

Yes, darling?

Where's pa?

He went to get some
medicine so you'd be better.

When will he be back?

He'll be back
very soon.

Real soon.

You got a shipment for
doc baker from Rochester?

Under the canvas.

Can't tell what
a welcome sight you kids is!

Run out of horsemeat.

Been hunting for food.

Ain't had nary a morsel,
4 or 5 days.

Didn't expect hell
to freeze over like this.

We got some food here.
You're welcome to it.

Give you a ride to the next
town, if you like.

I like it.

Get down off that wagon.

Easy, like.

What are you doing?

Taking advantage
of your generosity.

Get down!

We got a wagonful of medicine
here for sick people.

They need it to live.

Them sick people is
family and friends.

I ain't got
no friends, mister,

but I got a family
needs to live, too.

Me and mine comes first.

Come on.
Just take the food.

Get down off that wagon,
or you're dead!

Take your pick.
Don't make no nevermind to me.

Good. Your wagon
will take me out of here,

and your horses will feed us for a
nice, long spell.

Get down,
or you're a dead man.

Go on, get down there
with your buddy.

Get down there!

Go on!

Doc, it's my boy.

He's got a funny color.
It's blue, like.

He's all right,
isn't he, doc?

He's going to be
all right?

Oh, Nate.

Oh, Nate...


Stop it!


Stop it!

He's already dead!

He's dead.

Caroline, whispering:
Come on.

How are you feeling?

My head's a little
fuzzy, that's all.

You up to traveling?

That blizzard's about
caught up with us.

Which way did he head
in the wagon?


Come on.


That was the last
of the quinine.

I have one bottle
of carbolic acid left.

Charles and Jonathan
should be here anytime.

They're already
a day overdue.

Do you think maybe they
got caught in the storm?

A blizzard?

Blizzards don't stop
Charles and Jonathan.

He must have the
horses in that shed.

I'll harness them up.
You check the wagon.

The wagon's empty.

It must be inside.


You heard me!

Get on in there.

Over there.
Squat in them chairs.

Who are they?

They're the guys who donated
this stuff I brought back.

What are you going
to do with them?

First thing, you going
to tie them up.

Then I'll think on it.

You can't keep them
tied up forever.

I don't intend to.

Well, you can't
kill them, Hank.

I'll do what
I have to, Bess.

Boy: Ma!

I told you
to tie them up!

The boy's bad sick,
and I'm scared he's going to...

He can wait.

Now, do like I said.
Go on.

Here, tie them up,
good and securelike.

Boy: Ma, please!

I'll be up
in a minute, Ethan.

Hey, put your hands
behind you, mister.

Is that better?

Yeah. Thank you.

Do you feel
a little better?

I guess so.

Laura: Ma?


Where are you?

Here, Laura.

Where is everybody?

Where did
everybody go?

Albert's here.
Mama's here.

Where are you, ma?

Here, darling.


Where is everybody?

Here, honey.



Albert, where are you?

I'm here, Laura.

I'm over here.

Where did everybody go?

Where is everybody?

Where are they?

My god, where are they?

They'll be here.

Ethan: Ma!

Oh, Ethan.

My head's busting, ma,
and my belly.

All over.

Bess: I told you
he was in a bad way.

Hank: Yeah.
He don't look too good.

Boy may have the same sickness
we got in walnut grove.

Charles: You said you
been eating horsemeat.

Hank: Yeah. So?

You just butcher
that animal for food,

or did it come down
sick first?

Keeled over dead.
Then I butchered it.

That important
or something?

All our people took sick
after eating infected meat.


That boy can die if
he's not treated proper.

We got the medicines and tonics
right here in them boxes.

We'll show you
what to give him

if you just turn us loose,
let us go on our way.

You two think
you're pretty clever, huh?

Get out of here
and set the law on me.

I swear
on the holy Bible,

we won't say
a thing to anybody.

We won't even
go near the law.

All we want to do is get them
medicines back to our families.


Hank, I'm feared
for the boy.

Oh, they're lying, Bess.

What if they ain't?

I ain't risking losing this chance.
May be my last.

All my life,
I been a loser.

If we can just hold
out here till spring,

I know I'm going
to strike a vein.

It's not just the boy.
You two can get the Anthrax, too.

You shut up!
I ain't listening to no more.

Ethan: Ma,
help me, please.

Charles: Ma'am, I'm telling
you, your boy can die.

Hank: Shut up!

I'm going to
help you, Ethan.


You set them men
free, Hank.

Oh, you wouldn't
shoot me, Bess.

I don't want to,

but I will if I have to
to save Ethan.

I put up, all these years,
with your scheming and dreaming.

I stayed on here with you
even after the company

closed down the mine
and everybody else left,

but I ain't going to set by
and let Ethan die!


We had our chance
at life.

The boy's got
to have his.

Hank, you cut them loose.

All right, Bess.

I'll hitch up
the horses.

I'll show you the amounts
the boy needs, ma'am.


It's the other
fenton. Garth.

I'm not a doctor

I'm a funeral director.

Hester-sue: They're back!
They're back, doc!

They're back
with the medicine!

Pa's back.

Dr. Baker: Thank god you're here!
We've got a chance now!

Our families?

They're holding
their own.

Oh, Charles!

The children?


Thank god.

All right, Nellie,
open wide.

Come on.


Come on, now.

I hate the taste
of that stuff.

I'd much rather have
some more Sherry.

Same here, pa.

Oh, good grief.
Open wide.

Ha ha ha!
That's a better number.

Adam: Mary?

Right here, Adam.

I'm starving.

Oh, Adam.


Everybody's looking
good down here.

Upstairs, too.

How are you feeling?

Oh, hester-sue,
I'm so tired...

But thankful.

It's over.

When the storm of life
are ragin'

stand by me

when the storm of life
are ragin'

stand by me

when the world
is tossin' me

like a ship
out on the sea

thou who rule both wind
and water

stand by me

when my body's
racked with pain

stand by me

when my body's
racked with pain

stand by me

when my heart
is filled with fear

and my eyes are filled
with tears

thou who love
and thou who cares

stand by me