Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 6, Episode 3 - The Family Tree - full transcript

A school project on genealogy leads Albert to confront his dark past. As the Ingalls help Albert with the project, Charles and Caroline decide to adopt the young lad. Then, Albert's biological father Mr. Quinn shows up.

Wilder: All right,
everyone, take your seats.

Take your seats.

Now, today we are going
to begin a new project

which I hope you
all will enjoy

as well as learn from.

Now, has any of you heard
of the word genealogy?

- No.
- No.

Wilder: Well, basically,
it's the study of one's origin.

Yes, Laura?

You mean, it's kind
of like history.

Wilder: Well, yes.

Let me show you.

This is a chart comprised
of names, dates,

and relationships of different
members of my family.

This is
my family tree.

Now, has any of you
ever heard of that?

- Yeah.
- Yeah.

The project is for each
of you to make a family tree

of your very own to hand in
by the end of the month.

Laura: It sounds like fun.

Wilder: At that time,
we will go over them

and compare the names,
dates, and relationships

that we have discovered.

Brothers and sisters
may, of course,

work on the same chart.

We're going to make
the best one.

Wilder: We have
a project for the month.

Let's all take out
our mathematics books

and have a quiz for the day.


Albert, come on.

Let's get home and
finish our chores

so we can start
the project.

we have more than 3 weeks to finish it.

Simon and I were thinking on going fishing.

Right, Simon?

Hey, wait a minute,
I can't go today.

I promised my pa
I'd come straight home.

We got some
stumps to pull.

Albert: Well, we
won't be long.

I know a spot
where the fish bite

as soon
as you drop a hook.

Come on. We'll be 30,

maybe 40 minutes
at the most.

Albert, if you think that
I'm going to do your chores,

you're crazy!

See you!

Come on, Carrie.
Let's go check the mail.

Hey, young'uns,
how you doing?

Laura: Hi, pa!

See you at home.


Hello, Charles.

Hey, nels.

Got a special delivery
here for you.

Really? I wasn't
expecting anything.

Well, you got 3 crates of some
pipe from feldman plumbing.

Feldman plumbing?

Oh, no.

Oh, she's done it.

She has
really done it.

She's done what?

Charles, ever since we
got back here from winoka,

Harriet has been at me
to get a water closet.

I've been able
to avoid her up to now,

but she's tricked me and
went ahead and ordered it.

Well, I guess I can't avoid
the inevitable anymore.

I'll give you a hand
with the crates.

Simon: Oh, I got one!

Oh, that's
a good one.

Get his hook out.

Okay, I got him.

Got him? Hurry up.

This has got to be it,
Albert. It's getting late.

Yeah, okay.

You were sure right
about this pond.

The fish really
snap up a hook.


I don't want to go
to school tomorrow.

I wish Ms. Garvey
was still teaching.

Ms. Wilder gives US
too much homework.

Well, she's just trying to
make you smarter, that's all.

I suppose you
know, Albert,

you're really
the lucky one.

What makes you say that?

Simon: Well,
the project, you know?

All US kids have to
look up our families...

Relatives' names
and stuff.

You, being a bastard,
don't have to worry about doing anything.

What's the matter
with you?

Get off!

Come on!

Hey, hey, hold it!

I'm sorry. I didn't
mean anything by it!

Yeah, well,
I don't like being called that name!

I'm sorry. It won't
happen again. I promise!


What in the world
you been doing, boy?

Fishing, pa.

Now, didn't I tell you to come
straight home from school?

Simon: Yes, sir.

What do you do instead?
You go fishing!

I went all the way down to
the school looking for you, boy.

I got to get them stumps
up before I can plant,

and I need
your help to do it.

I'm sorry, pa.

Sorry don't get
the stumps out, son.

You got to learn,
when I tell you to do something,

you do it.

- All right, lean over.
- Please, pa. Please!


Man: Got to learn to
be responsible, boy.

Simon: Aah!

Got to learn!


- You got to learn!
- Responsibility!

Father: You got to learn!

Man: You must learn

We cannot
tolerate tardiness.





There you go.

More hot water.

this ought to warm it up a little bit.


You all right?

Yeah. Why?

Well, I know
it's not Saturday,

but you're usually
a little more enthusiastic

about washing than this.

Mm, well,

to tell you the truth,

Simon and I got
in a fight, today.


It wasn't much of one.

Well, that's how we both
landed in the pond.

What was the fight

Nothing important. We're
both friends again.

He just said something
he didn't mean.

Well, I'll tell you
something I do mean.

Better get to scrubbing,
or there won't be any roast left.

See you in the house.

In order to cleanse
our soul,

we first must
cleanse our body.

Our body is
the temple of the lord.

Only evil dwells in
a house that is untidy.

You must learn
the level of cleanliness

that is expected here.

You will learn
our way, Albert.

We must cleanse your soul.

You will learn,
you will learn.

Laura: Albert,
come on. Wake up.

This is no time
for a nap.

Supper's on the table.

Well, I was just
fixing to get out.

I'll be right in.



Nels, for heaven's sakes,

how much longer
are you going to be?



- Let me see it!
- All right.



Oh, nels...

Just think,
our very own outhouse in the house!

- Ha ha!
- That's right!


- It's nice, isn't it?
- Oh, nels, thank you.

Oh, thank you.

You're welcome,
my dear. You're welcome.

Oh, you know,
it reminds me of a throne.

As I'm sitting here,

I shall feel like
queen Victoria.

No, no, no, no!

No, no, no!

Oh, why'd
you do that?

You did that
on purpose!

It wasn't my idea!


we've got to start working on our chart.

I know, I know.

Why don't
you start yours,

and I'll make
one of my own?

Well, you heard
what Ms. Wilder said.

Brothers and sisters
can work together.

I mean, there's no need
to make two charts.

Well, I would
just rather.

Hello, Laura.

Hi, Nellie.

Willie told me all
about your class project.

How's yours coming?

I haven't
started it yet.

Oh, I see.

It must be very hard
tracing all your relatives,

names and everything,

having to spend all
that time in the forest

or wherever
it is you're from.

It was called
the big woods,

and I'll manage,
thank you.

You know, the oleson family
goes all the way back to royalty.

We had heads of state and
titles for most of my relatives.

You mean like nero
and Ivan the terrible?

Nellie: I'll ignore that.

I'm positive, with
my help, Willie's chart

will be the best and
most interesting of all.

How's your family
tree coming, Albert?

I told you, we haven't
started ours yet.

Albert couldn't make a
family tree if he wanted to.

You have to have parents and grandparents,

He's got parents,
and so do I.

But it's not
the same, is it?

Albert knows
what I mean.

Don't you, Albert?

This is about as much of
a family tree as you've got.

Hee hee!

Don't you
pay her no mind.

She'll never change.

She's just talking
her usual nonsense.

Man: Well, mister
and Mrs. Tilley,

here's the boy I was
telling you about.

His name is Albert.

So, this is Albert.

Well, he looks
like a nice boy.

And what can you tell me
about his parents?

Nothing at all.

He was left on
our doorstep

by someone
no one ever saw.

His parents
could have been

or deranged.

Oh, my lord.

I can't have that
in my family.

What about
his teeth?

Smile, boy.

Let US see
your teeth.

Mrs. Tilley: He looks
sane and healthy,

but you can't be sure.

Mr. Tilley: Does
the boy work hard?

- Deranged?
- Sickly.

Smile, boy.

Stop it! Stop it!
Leave me alone!

Leave me...


Laura: Albert?


Oh, Laura.

Albert, are you okay?


Charles: What's
going on up here?

Albert, what's
the matter with you?

Guess I must have
had a nightmare.

Huh. I'd say you did.

Think you'll be able to
go back to sleep all right?

Yes, sir.

Sorry I woke
you both up.

Oh, that's okay.

I was having
a dull dream, anyway.

All right. Then both
of you get back to bed

while we still have a little night left,

Yes, sir.

Try having a good dream this time,

- Yes, sir. Good night, pa.
- Good night.

Laura: Good night, pa.

Good night, Albert.

Good night, Laura.

Really working
away, huh?


Didn't hear
you climb up.

Guess I was


Seems to me you've been
doing a lot of dreaming lately.


Come on. You want to tell
me what's bothering you, son?

I'm not your son.

Not really.

What are you
talking about?


To you and ma,
I'm your son.

To Laura and Carrie,
I'm their brother.

Grace, too.

Kids at school call
me Albert Ingalls.

I'm even registered as
Albert Ingalls...

But deep down
in my heart,

I know I'm not.

I can't really make

anybody else
believe it, either.

Well, I don't care what
anybody else believes.

You live in our
house. We love you.

You're part
of our family.

But it's
not the same.

Using a name doesn't
make it legal.


If only you
could adopt me...

Then everything
would be fine.

I know when I asked you
if I could call you pa,

you seemed pleased.

If you think this might
be asking too much...

You know, when, uh...

When you asked if
you could call me pa...

And you took
my name, I just...

I just figured
that was enough.

That's my fault
for not thinking.

It's my fault.

What do you say we
do something about that

starting tomorrow, huh?

Thank you.

Thank you...


My boy.

Asking too much?

I'm so happy, I don't
even know what to say.

I love you, son.

Excuse me.

Who can we talk to about
filing adoption papers?

That would be
judge Adams.

It's the next to the
last door to your right

at the end
of the hall.

Thank you
very much.

You're welcome.

Come in.

That must be him.

Judge Adams?

That's me.

The lady down the hall
said we should see you

about filing
for adoption.

Oh, yes, yes,

Excuse me. Ingalls,
Charles Ingalls,

and this is my
wife Caroline,

- how do you do?
- And this is Albert.

It's a pleasure.

Let's sit right
around this table.

It should be
comfortable for you.

Thank you.

Now, am I correct
in assuming

that this is the lad
you wish to adopt?

Yes, sir,
that's correct.

We were hoping we could take
care of everything today, if possible.

Well, Mr. Ingalls,
it does take more than that.

Unless, of course,
there are some problems,

it shouldn't take any
more than a couple of days.

Well, now, tell me,

is Albert a blood
relative of yours?

No, he's not.

Did his parents die?

Oh, we don't know.

Well, has this lad
been living with you?

Yes, he has.

Well, how did
that come about?

Well, we moved from walnut
grove to the city of winoka,

and that's where
we met Albert.

He was alone
fending for himself.

My wife and I persuaded him
to work for US and go to school.

After a while, we
realized that winoka

just wasn't the place we
wanted to raise our family,

and we moved
back to walnut grove,

and Albert came with US.

Hmm, well, Albert...

What were you doing all
alone in a big city like winoka?

Did you run
away from home?

Well, sir,

I didn't have much of a
home to run away from,

the way I saw it.

I think
what Albert means is

that it wasn't
actually a home.

He was living in an orphanage,
the Dakota orphanage.

Oh, where?

Uh, Pierre.

Well, Mr. Ingalls, I

must tell you that since Albert
was a ward of the Dakota orphanage,

I'll have to contact them
and get their approval

before any petition
for adoption can be filed.

Will that take long?

I mean, do you see
any problems?

No, no. It will
only take as long

as it takes US
to send a telegraph,

and as far
as any problems,

it's just a matter
of procedure.

I don't see anything
to worry about.

And we have here the
adoption application.

You just make out
these papers,

and I'll contact you
as soon as I hear back.

All right.
Thank you very much.

Oh, that's
a good idea.

Oh, well,
Mr. Oleson,

what are you doing
up here, today?

Uh, well, hester-sue,
Mary, uh,

I wondered if I could
use your water closet.

Ha ha!

Excuse me,
Mr. Oleson,

but you mean to tell me
you walked all the way

up here just to use
the water closet?

Well, I guess that does
sound kind of funny, doesn't it?

What I actually meant was that I
want to look at your water closet

to compare it with the
one that I'm trying to install.


I can't seem to figure
out these directions.

First time Harriet tried it,
she almost drowned herself.

Ha ha!

I think I better get
it right next time.

I think so.

Well, professor,
this way to the lavatory.

The Ingalls...


- Pa?
- Mm-hmm?

Who's older,

grandma Ingalls
or grandpa holbrook?

Oh, let me see.

I think
grandma Ingalls.

What would you
say, darling?

I think so.

Uh, well...

I know where to
find the answer.

can I make my chart on poster paper?

That way, I can
make it real big.

Sure. Why not? I'll pick you
up some at the mercantile.


- Charles?
- Mm-hmm?

Have you seen
my old Bible?

No, I haven't,

Isn't it
in the chest?

Well, it
usually is.

Albert: I have your
Bible up here, ma.

Albert, what are you
using the Bible for?

Oh, "the Ingalls
family tree."

since I'm going to become an Ingalls,

I wanted to see the
names of my new relatives.

Well, actually,
these weren't the names

I was going to
put down at first.

Oh, why not?

Oh, that
Nellie oleson.

I was going to make up
a list of names

so she'd be
green with envy.

What names were you
going to put on that list?

George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln.

Ha ha!

Ah, Albert.

And this is where
my name will go.

And when that happens,

Nellie oleson will
be greener than grass.

How about
some pie and milk?

Mmm! Sounds good.

Come on.

Hey, nels, good morning.

Hello, Charles.

Not very well,
I'm afraid.

Oh, I'm sorry
to hear that.

What's all the
mail doing here?

Mrs. Foster's away taking
care of her sister's new baby,

so I'm playing
postmistress for a few days.

What can I
do for you?

Oh, I promised Laura I'd
pick her up some poster paper.

It's for
a school project.

Oh, the family tree.
I know all about it.

How much
would you like?

just enough for a good-size chart will do.

Hey, how's
the water closet coming?

Well, I think I've got
all the bugs out of it.

Then the mail came in,

and I haven't had
a chance to test it yet.

By the way, there's
a letter here for you.

Yeah, it's
from the county seat.

Oh, good. I've been
expecting that.

Harriet: Aah! Nels!

Help! Ugh! Ugh!

I told her not
to use it yet!

Ha ha!

Oh, Charles,
excuse me.

Harriet: Help! Help me!

Charles: Ha ha!

Oh, that woman.

- Hi, pa.
- Hi, pa.

Charles: Hi, everybody.
Sorry I'm late.

Here. Got your
poster paper.

Laura: Thanks, pa.
Look at it, Albert!

Now we can make
real big charts!

I was beginning
to worry.

I was just working on an
order and didn't watch the time.

Did we get
any mail?

No, no mail yet.

I'm going to go unhitch
the team. I'll be right back.


Something's wrong.

What is it?

There was some mail
this afternoon.

They found
Albert's real father?

A man who claims to
be Albert's father.

Oh, Charles.

What are we
going to do?

I don't know.

I've been asking myself
that question all afternoon.


We've got to
tell Albert.

The letter says the man's
waiting in redwood falls.

I'll go over to the county
seat tomorrow and meet him,

make sure he really
is his father.

Let's not say anything to
the boy until we know for sure.

I'm here to see
judge Adams.

Uh, yes, Mr. Ingalls?

We received
your telegraph.

The gentlemen
are waiting inside.

Thank you very much.

You're welcome.

Oh, Mr. Ingalls.

Judge Adams.

He's in the other room.

Mr. Ingalls,
this is mister...

Quinn's the name.

You got my boy?

I think that
all depends.

I'd like to see some
proof to show me

that you really
are his father.

Mr. Quinn has sufficient knowledge

regarding the exact
date and time

that Albert was
left at the school,

and that,
along with other corroborative information,

was proof enough to
the Dakota school

that he is
Albert's father.

It's all
right there.

How come it took you
so long to find the boy?

I've been looking for the boy
on and off for some time now,

but I'm all by myself.

I got to work my land.

That doesn't leave
much time for searching.

Albert, he...

He be going on 11 years pretty soon now,

He's strong?


He's strong?

Oh, yeah.

Good. He'll be
plenty helpful to me

when I get him
to the farm.

Strong help doesn't
come cheap these days.


He's been with US
for over a year now.

He's a wonderful boy.
He's an excellent student.

As long as he's
a good worker,

that's all
I care about.

Well, aren't you even
concerned about how he's been?

I mean, my god,
you're his father.

Don't you want to know what
kind of a man he's growin' up to be?

All I want to know,
if he's strong, that's all.

What if my son doesn't
want to go with him?

It isn't a decision for the boy to make,
not at his age.

Albert be no concern
of yours no more.

He is my concern.
He's part of my family.

Was part of
your family!

I'm his papa!

Now, look,
I want that boy to leave with me tomorrow!

No more talk!

See you tomorrow, judge.

He doesn't want a...

He doesn't want a son.
He wants a farmhand.

I'm sorry. He's got
the law on his side.

I'll bring him
in tomorrow.

Caroline: There must
be something we can do.

There isn't.

There's nothing
we can do.

The law says that he has
the right to take Albert away.

The law?

It's always the law!

Doesn't the law consider
people's feelings?

What hurts the most is that
he doesn't even love him.

He doesn't
love him at all.

He... all he wants
is a farmhand.

That's all
he kept asking.

"Is he strong?
Is he strong?

"Can he do
the work?"

The boy had been
better off alone in the city

than living with
the likes of him.

Dear god,
they're going to take my son away.

They're just going
to take him away!

It's all right.

Hey, Albert?


How you doing?


Laura told me
you went fishing.

Catch anything?


Guess the fish
aren't biting today.

Hey, well, I got
some good news...

And it's going to come
as a big surprise to you.

The Dakota orphanage
located your real father.

I told you it would
be a big surprise.

some news, huh?

judge Adams wrote me a letter about it,

and I didn't want to say
anything to you until I was sure...

So, well,
I went into the courthouse today, and...

And I met him,
your real father.

And he told me he wanted
you to come live with him.

What's my father's name?

Quinn, Jeremy Quinn.



When do I have to leave?

Well, he'd want
you with him

just as soon as
you can get there,

so I thought we ought to
go first thing in the morning.

You know, I always
thought that a boy

should be with
his real pa.


In this case,
I was hoping things

would be a little
bit different.

But nothing's
ever going to...

Change how much
I love you.

And I want you to know you'll
always have a family here.


I'm leaving now.

I'll write to
you every day.

Me, too.

This poster's
real nice.

It'll probably be
the best in class.


I've got to go now.

No matter
where I go...

Or whatever
I do...

You'll always be
my sister, Laura.


Ah, Mr. Ingalls.

Judge Adams.


Mr. Quinn is waiting
upstairs in the courtroom.

I have some papers
here to finalize.

I'll only be
just a few minutes.


Yes, Albert?

Do you think I
could see him first?

Certainly, Albert.

The courtroom is at
the head of those stairs.

Charles: Want me
to go with you?

I'd best go alone.


I'll wait down here
with judge Adams.

Then we'll come up.


Well, come closer, boy,
so I can get a better look at you.


Listen, boy.

I've been doing
a lot of thinking

about what
Mr. Ingalls said,

and I...


Well, I can see...

You've been taken
real good care of.

You know, I'm...
I'm all alone.

What with having
a farm to run...

Well, it...

It just...

It just wouldn't
work out.

We're strangers,
you and me.

We have
nothing in common.

I know...
I know that, uh...

You'd be...

You'd be happier
living here with a...

Family that loves you.

I'm sure that

you love them.

I got nothing
to offer you, boy.

It just wouldn't
work out for you and me.

You stay
with the Ingalls.

I'll go tell judge Adams
to take care of it.



Would you give me
a kiss good-bye?

Look, you stay... you
stay right here, boy.

Mr. Ingalls?

I've changed
my mind, and I...

I told the boy he
can stay with you.


He's happy with you.

He told me so, so, uh,

I changed my mind.

Now, then, is there
something I have to do,

something I have to
sign or something?

Well, yes, you, uh...

If you'll just sign
this consent form.

He's all yours.


How do I know you won't
change your mind,

come back for the boy?

Don't worry.

Just like the boy,
you'll never see me again.

I guess there's some
good in everybody.

Thank you, judge.


I guess you're
stuck with me...


I guess I am, son.

Laura: It was a joyous
day in all of our lives

when pa returned
with Albert,

for everyone knew,
from that day on,

Albert was to be
forever an Ingalls.