Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 6, Episode 6 - The Preacher Takes a Wife - full transcript

Rev. Alden creates a stir in Walnut Grove when he falls in love with elderly parishioner Anna Craig. Mrs. Oleson objects to the relationship and gives the good preacher a choice: Either call off the impending marriage or get fired!

Thank you, reverend Alden,
for a beautiful service.

Thank you,
Mrs. Craig.

Woman: Good-bye,
reverend Alden.


Is there something
I could do for you?

Well, I was
wondering, um...


Well, I was
wondering if, uh...

Charles: You ready,
Mrs. Craig?

Oh, my ride.

Well, I have to
go, now, reverend.

- Here we are.
- Oh, thank you.

Will you all come in
for coffee and milk?

I just made my
special chocolate cake.

Oh, we'd love to, Anna,
but we've already promised the garveys.


Oh, well.

Charles: Here we go.
Watch your step.

Anna: Thank you.

There you are.

Thank you.

Couldn't you come
in for just a little while?

I've got
some new slides

for my stereopticon
of the Grand Canyon.

We'd love to.
Maybe some other time.

We really have to
get on to the garveys'.

Next sunday, maybe?

Next sunday for sure,
and thank you.

Thank you.

And don't forget,

You're welcome
to stop by

for milk
and cookies any time.

Don't worry.
We will, Mrs. Craig.


Have a nice day.

Caroline: Good-bye.

Good of you to
drop by, reverend.

Can't get around
much, anymore.

Don't see no one
excepting you

from week to week.

With the wife gone...

The kids off and away,
lord knows where...

All my old friends dead,

I got no one.

Sometimes seems

maybe I'd be better off
if I was dead myself.

Now, you don't
mean that, Jeremy.

Don't I?

Oh, you don't know what it's
like to be old and alone, reverend,

to have no one...

No wife, no kids...

No one who really cares
whether you live or die.

I care.

And I think
I do know.


No, you don't,

You couldn't.

You got all
your congregations,

all them there
people loving you

and inviting you into
their houses all the time.

I like to think they care for
me just as I care for them.

But it's not
quite like that. It...


You need to think
on the positive side.

You've had a good,
full life.

God's going to call
you to your reward

in his own good time.

I'm here to help.


Thanks a lot, reverend.

Well, would you read to me
something out of the good book?

Anything in particular
you'd like to hear?


"Luke" 10:27.

It was Maggie's

"Thou shalt love
the lord thy god...

Both: "With all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,

and with all thy strength,
and with all thy mind."

"You don't know
what it's like to be

"old and alone,

"to have no one...

"no wife, no kids."

All right, children.

Out of that musty
old classroom

and into some
nice, fresh air.

Here we go.

Be careful.
Come on.

I thought, with
so many children

and so much
to do,

you could use a
pair of extra hands.

And we
certainly could.

And an extra
pair of eyes.

I'm afraid hester sue's
doing so much,

she's wearing
herself out.

I could help
with the cooking.

Parker always said
I was the best cook

west of
the Mississippi.

Oh, there must be a hundred
other things I could do.

Well, there are,
Mrs. Craig.

Uh, unfortunately,
we really can't afford to pay you.

Oh, I don't
want money.

I'm volunteering.

Mrs. Craig: Actually,
you'd be doing me a favor,

giving me something to do,
something worthwhile.

Well, what
do you say, Mary?

Extra help for free.

Now, that we
can afford.

Mrs. Craig,
you're hired,

and thank you very much.

Oh, thank you.

Caroline: I hope you're not working
too hard at the blind school, Anna.

Don't worry,
Caroline. I love it.

Well, just as long
as you don't overdo it.

I won't.

Would you like to
spend the day with US?

Come on. Why don't
you have supper with US?

Oh, I'd love to,
but, uh...

I've already made plans.

I'm going to stay
in town and visit.

Charles: Well,
some other time.

Oh, yes.

Thank you.

- Have a nice day.
- Thank you.


Why, Mrs. Craig.

Would you like to take
supper with me at my house?

Yes, I would.

You would?

I'd love to.

Well, then, perhaps you'd
like to ride out, now,

and look at my
stereopticon slides.

I've got some new ones
of the Grand Canyon.

Do you know I've always
wanted to see the Grand Canyon?

Let me get my hat.

Mrs. Craig,
I don't know when I've enjoyed a meal more.

It was absolutely delicious,
from soup to nut cake.

Oh, I'm so glad you
liked it, reverend.

I more than liked it.
I savored every bite.

Well, perhaps we'd be more
comfortable in the living room.

Whatever you say.

Excuse me.

Would you care for
a cigar, reverend?

They're the same brand Parker
used to smoke... Perla de Cuba.

I bought them
special for you.

Thank you.
I'd love one.

Oh, um, reverend...

Speaking of love,

I was thinking
about your sermon today.

Well, I'm happy to
hear that, Mrs. Craig.

You know,
sometimes I worry

that my sermons go in
one ear and out the other.

Oh, no, reverend.

I always take
your sermons to heart.

- Thank you.
- Particularly today's.

You mind if I
ask you a question?

Of course not.

Who is my neighbor?

Even as the lawyer asked
the lord in "Luke" 10:29.

No, your neighbor is really every
one of your fellow men and women.

Well, I... I have a confession to make,
if I may, reverend.

of course. That's what a minister's for.

Well, I...

I love a particular
neighbor very much.

I see.

It's you.


That's very Christian
of you, Mrs. Craig.

Um... i, of course,
care about you

in that pure, platonic,
rational affection

between two of god's

Oh, no, reverend.

It's not platonic,
and it's not rational.

It's a love that surpasseth
all understanding.

Oh, dear.

Um, the way
the lord loves,

as you might say...
Spiritual and sublime.

Reverend Alden,
I love you

the way a woman
loves a man.

If you'll excuse me, Mrs. Craig,
um, it's getting late,

and I... I have
to be going.

I want to thank you
for everything.

I'm glad
you're back.

What is it?

It's old
Jeremy Tyler.

Doc's with him now. He
said it won't be long.

- Could you drive me?
- Sure thing.

You'd better
go right in.



Too late for praying?

Never too late
for prayers.


Well, if I
ain't got a place

for me up there,

I'm afraid there ain't nothing
much we can do about it now.

You've got
a place, Jeremy.

You've been a good
friend to me, reverend.

A mighty good friend.

Is there anything
I can do?

You've done it all already
just by being here.

Must be nothing worse
than dying alone.

Is there anybody
you want me to notify?

Told you,

ain't nobody.

Excepting you.

Promise you won't
leave me till I...

Of course I'll stay.

Bury me up yonder
on the hill out back...

This old hunk of rock
I've called a farm.

It's taken my sweat.

Might as well
take my bones, too.

Give me
your hand, reverend.

It will help
the going.

God, seeing we're
such good friends,

just might give me
a boost upstairs.

Weak are we all,
and dying.

Give US peace...

Strength for our battle
while it lasts...

And rest to close it that final
day when our work is over.




There you are, Anna... corned
beef and cabbage a la Ingalls.

I'm sure it's delicious,
but such a big portion.

Well, I try to take
care of my friends.

Oh, thank you...

Mrs. Oleson: Mrs. Ingalls!

There are other customers
waiting for service, you know.

Excuse me, Anna.

Mrs. Simon legree

Reverend Alden!

My goodness, what
are you doing here?

Not that you're not welcome,
of course, but it's only Friday.

I decided to come in
a little earlier.

Oleson: Oh, well, you're
just in the Nick of time

to have our famous oleson
corned beef and cabbage.

As a matter of fact,
you can have

a special place right
here at my own table.

No, thank you.
I'm not hungry.

Oh, all right.

Mrs. Craig.

Why, reverend Alden,
of all people.

May I join you?

Of course.

I wanted to apologize for taking
such a rude departure last week.

That was
very rude of me.

Oh, no. Not at
all, reverend.

It was getting late.

Well, to be honest,
it wasn't the hour.

It was what
you said to me.

Never before in my life

has anyone told me
what you did,

except my parents,
of course,

and I didn't know
what to do.

I ran away like
a silly schoolboy.

Oh, no, reverend.
It was all my fault.

I don't know what
came over me.

I acted like
a brazen hussy.

Oh, no. N...

Now, you could
never be that.

You know, actually,
I... I liked your straightforwardness.


It's a quality I very
much admire in a person.

I've made arrangements
for another minister

to take over the rest of
my circuit for a few weeks

so I can stay
in walnut grove.

Well, that's nice.

I thought we could get to
know each other a little better

if that's agreeable
with you, Mrs. Craig.

Oh, that would be very agreeable,

You know, it's been so long
since I heard my first name,

I'd almost forgot it.

They are
holding hands!

- Who?
- "Who"!

Reverend Alden and
that widow Craig woman.

I think
that's wonderful.

Well, I think
it's disgraceful.

- Oh!
- Uh-oh!

I ate too
much supper.

can I ask your advice about something?

That's a switch. I'm usually
the one coming to you for advice.

Well, in this case,
I think you have more expertise than I.

I can't imagine
what that'd be.

Well, it concerns
a relationship

between men
and women...

Precisely between
a man and a woman.

Well, to pinpoint it,
it's actually about marriage.

Marriage? Reverend, nobody gets to
be an expert on marriage, believe me.

I'll give you
any help I can, though.

Charles, I don't know whether
you realize it or not, but...

Most people don't consider
a preacher to be a man.

To most everybody,
I'm a white collar and black suit.

"Preacher's weeds,"
I call it.

But I'm a man, Charles,
with all the flesh and blood

and spiritual
needs of a man...

And all the doubts
and the uncertainty.

No, the only time
I feel needed

is an hour or two
on sunday

and at births and
marriages and deaths and...

I need to be needed on a regular basis,

not just fall
into the cracks

between other people's
joys and sorrows.

Moving about
from town to town...

I am so tired of spending lonely
nights in cold, empty rooms,

and listening
only to my breathing.

What would you think
if I married Anna Craig?

I think that would be
flat-out wonderful.

You do?

Well, you bet I do.

Did you pop
the question to her?

No. But I'm going to.


Soon as I get up
the courage.

Come on in the house.

I don't know anything about marriage,
but I can help you with courage.

Wait till Caroline

- Oh, don't tell her.
- Well, why not?

Here you are...
Your change.

Thank you.

Oh, my. Good morning,
reverend Alden.

Good morning.

I'm so glad
you stopped by.

I was going to invite you
to dine with US this evening.

Oh, thank you, Harriet,
but I already have an engagement.

An engagement?

- Yes.
- Ah.

I would like to
look at some rings.

Some rings?


What kind of rings?

Oh, just plain ones.

Plain rings?

H... how plain?


Plain gold rings.

Is there an echo
in here, Mrs. Oleson?

I'm afraid we don't have
any plain gold rings, reverend.

Yes, we do,

We got a stock in last
week. Don't you remember?

Oh, yes. I'd forgotten.

Come on, reverend.
I'll show them to you.

Thank you, nels.

As a matter of fact,
we have a very nice selection.

I warn you,
Mrs. Craig,

that unless you give up
this obscene relationship

with the reverend Alden,

well, you'll suffer
the dire consequences.

Mrs. Oleson, we haven't
done anything wrong.

- Robert is...
- Robert?

Yes. He's always been the very
model of a Christian gentleman.

A-ha! Can you
prove that?

I don't understand.

How can you prove something
that never happened?

That is your story.

Now, unless you
stop seeing him,

I will see to it
that he is dismissed

as the preacher
of our church.


And don't forget,
I have the deciding vote.

Well, we'll go

There is nowhere else
that you can go,

not if I inform
his superiors

of his immoral
conduct with you.

I tell you, we've
done nothing wrong.

Oh, Mrs. Craig, if you
love him as you profess,

then you will give him up.

Otherwise, you
will destroy him.

You will ruin
his entire life.


Reverend: Anna!


Anna, did I

I thought I was going to
pick you up at your house.

No. I had to
get away to think.

There's something
I want to ask you.

The sooner I do it,
the better.

Reverend, before you
say anything,

I... I can't
see you anymore.

You're joking.

I was never
more serious.


Anna, I thought
you cared.

I do.

Well, that is,
I like you as a friend.

I realized today
it would be unfair,

unkind to raise false
hopes on your part,

especially since I always
intend to remain true

to my husband's

And then, too,
we might be giving scandal to others

with our close

What are you
talking about?

What scandal?

Anna, I came here
to ask you...

I think you better go now.

I would rather
be alone.

You can't mean that.

I do.

Good-bye, reverend.


Why did...

Dear god...

I am a man who...

I am a man...

The text that I have
chosen for today

is from
the book of "job."

Chapter 3,
verses one and 3:

"After that..."

"Job opened his mouth
and cursed his day."

"Job spoke, and he said,

"let the day perish
in which I was born,

"and the night in which it was
said a man child is conceived."

Now, we may ask...

How the lord could
allow Satan

to visit
such terrible trials

on a man such as job.

Because did not the lord
himself describe job

as a perfect
and upright man...

Who feared god
in his youth?

He's burning up
with fever.

Let's get him
to the hotel.

I'm all right.

You just let the doc
take a look at you.

Mother, how is he?

Oh, well, he's not very well,
I'm afraid.

Where do you think
you're going?

To reverend Alden.

Well, there are
no visitors allowed,

and certainly not you,
and not in his room.

What's his
room number?



Mrs. Oleson, if you
don't move out of the way,

I will hit you
with this tray.



It's not supposed to taste good,
but it might help your cough.

Aren't you going to
say "I told you so"?

What's the use?

But now that I got
your attention,

maybe you'll
follow my instructions.

Bed rest and plenty
of wholesome nourishment.

Anna: May I come in?

Doc: Of course,
Mrs. Craig.

I brought some hot broth.

Mmm. Just what
the doctor ordered.

How is he?

Oh, he's mostly run down taking
care of everybody but hisself.

He needs watching.

I'll take care
of that and him.

Baker: I'd appreciate it.

I should look in on the Gordon
baby... 6 weeks premature,

but a fighter.

Any instructions?

Well, that
cough syrup is needed

and, uh, two
of these pills

every two hours.

Now, you be good.

Good afternoon,
Mrs. Oleson.

Mrs. Craig, I'd like
to see you, please.

Oh, you've got
a lot of nerve!


Why did you come?

Someone has to
look after you.

You do care,
don't you, Anna?

Just be quiet
and open your mouth.

Yes, ma'am.

Good morning,
Mrs. Oleson.

Isn't it
a beautiful... Day?

You're still here.

Of course I am.

For how long?

As long as you
need me, Robert.

That could be a very,
very long time.

What was it
Robert Browning said?

"Grow old
along with me..."

"The best is yet to be."

Mrs. Oleson: Good morn...

Oh, my!

Oh! Oh, for
heaven's sakes!

God may have mercy
on him, but I won't.

Mother, what's wrong?

Oh, well, they spent
the entire night

together in his room.

I caught them
making love. Oh!

Oh, well, now I have
the proof that I need,

and I will teach them a lesson
that they will never forget.

What are you
going to do?

I am going to send
a telegram

to the general
synod of the church.

Are we having
trouble, Robert?

No more than usual.

Long as I've been giving sermons,
they still don't come easy.

Well, I must say,
you'd never know it.

Your sermons are
always wonderful.

I think you're
a little bit prejudiced,

but I thank you
all the same.

You haven't touched
your food.

Are you sure you
feel all right?

All right?

I feel wonderful.

So do I, Robert.

I can't believe we're
really going to be married.

- Believe it.
- No second thoughts?

Second thoughts,
third thoughts...

They're all
about you.

Maybe that's why I can't
concentrate on tomorrow's sermon.

What is it?

Well, lord knows I've
been to enough weddings,

but I've always been on
the other side of the pulpit.

Always a preacher
and never a bridegroom,

and in just a few days now,
we're going to be

looking up
to Charles Ingalls

as he pronounces US
man and wife and says...

"what god hath
joined together,

"let no man
put asunder."


"You may kiss the bride."

♪ blessed assurance

♪ Jesus is mine

♪ oh, what a foretaste

♪ of glory divine

♪ heir of salvation

♪ purchase of god


Dean harmon,
is that you?

None other.


How are you?

I wasn't
expecting you.

I know.

What brings you
so far west?

A, uh, Mrs. Oleson.

Or more precisely,
this telegraph

which she sent
to the general synod.

You can't believe
that scandalous garbage.

No. Of course not,
but I had to come

to protect not only you
but the church, as well.

Mrs. Craig is
a very fine woman.

I was ill.
She nursed me.

It's as simple
as that.

Have you spoken
to Mrs. Oleson?

No, no.

No, I wanted to
talk to you first,

make sure that you were
the same Robert Alden I knew.

I haven't changed,

Neither have my
principles or my beliefs.

That's all I
wanted to know.

But you also ought to
know that I asked

Mrs. Craig to marry me,
and she said yes.

May I offer
my congratulations?

Thank you, Russell.


I know that Mrs. Oleson's
charges are ridiculous,

but if her allegations
are aired publicly,

I'm sure you're aware
that the resulting scandal

could be
most unfortunate.

That's the tragedy
of accusations like this.

They get the headlines,
and the truth gets a footnote or nothing.

You could lose
your church.

You realize that?

Now, I know it's
most important to you,

to your congregation,

and to the church as a
whole that doesn't happen.

If I can't convince
Mrs. Oleson

to drop her charges,

it may come
down to a choice...

A choice that you will
have to make, Robert...

Between your church
and Mrs. Craig.

I love this church.

I love these people.

But if it comes to it,
I'll choose Anna.

I understand.

When I was
younger, I once...


All right.

I shall see what I can
do with this Mrs. Oleson.

Perhaps you
can have both...

The best of
both worlds.

Thank you, Russell.

get out of...

Well, hello there,
young fellow.

I'm Dean Russell harmon.

Nels oleson.

Uh, what can I do
for you, reverend?

Well, I'd like to
see Mrs. Oleson.

As a matter of fact,
she's expecting you.

Well, speak of the devil,
here she is.

Dear, this is, uh,
reverend harmon. My wife.

- Mr. Oleson.
- Be with you in a moment, ladies.

Uh, don't... don't let me keep you
from your customers, Mr. Oleson.

Your wife and I just have a
little church business to discuss.

Oh, I see. Yes.
Well, thank you.

Uh, my buggy
is just outside.

Perhaps we could take a
little ride and discuss it alone.

Nice meeting you,
Mr. Oleson.

Oh, thank you.

It's been
a long time, Harriet.

Yes, it has,

23 years
come June 15th...

The day that you
broke our engagement.

If I'd known it was you,
I would have sent someone in my stead.

Still afraid to face
realities, Russell?

I thought I was facing
reality, then, Harriet.

As I told you at the time,
I... I believed

that I could not serve two masters,
as it were...

and the ministry.

I remember.

You said you'd decided
that you were already wed,

to the church,

that your duties
would be all-consuming,

and that it would be unfair to
me to go ahead with the marriage.

Did you think that it was
fair to humiliate me so?

Of course not.

It was
grossly unfair.

It was cruel,

but I didn't mean
it to be that.

As the day of our
marriage approached,

I... I had terrible
doubts and fears.

It wasn't a question of my not loving you,

but the question
in my mind was,

could I... could I devote
myself to you and to god?

The question was,
did I love you or god more?

I thought...

I thought that I was doing
what was best for both of US.

I hope it was
for you, Harriet.

I've met
your husband.

He seems to be
a very fine man.

I'm very
proud of my family.

You should be.

Did, uh,

did you ever marry?





The question, then, is

how to deal with the matter
of the reverend Alden,

and the reality of his
relationship with Mrs. Craig.

Now, I've known Robert Alden for 26 years,

He taught me theology
in the seminary.

I've never known a finer
minister or a better man.

You must know that.

He's been your minister
and your friend for years.

You must know
in your heart

that Robert Alden
is not capable

of conduct that is anything
but the most honorable.

Oh, well, surely,

you must know that
even a just man can fall.

Yes, but not Robert Alden,
not in the way you suggest.

Don't punish him
for my mistakes, Harriet.

Why should he be forced,
especially by you,

to make the same
mistakes I did

when he has a chance for
happiness with the woman he loves?

Don't deny him that.

This time it's
your decision, Harriet.

Reverend Alden,

um... i'd... I'd like to
ask you to forgive me.

Oleson: I know
that I was wrong.

I didn't understand
myself why,

but, uh, Dean harmon
helped me to see.

Reverend Alden,
please forgive me.

it's a miracle.

Well, don't look
so surprised.

If a minister doesn't believe in miracles,
who will?

Harmon: For as much
as Robert and Anna

have consented
together in holy wedlock

and have witnessed the same
before god and this company,

I pronounce that
they are man and wife.

What god hath
joined together,

let no man put asunder.

You may kiss the bride.

Harriet, what's
the matter?

Oh, I don't know.

It's just sentiment,
I guess.