Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 7, Episode 9 - The In-laws - full transcript

Charles and Almanzo both encounter unexpected obstacles when each challenges the other to find the fastest freight route between Walnut Grove and Sleepy Eye.

It's an
awful heavy load.

I think the team
can handle it.

When are you going
to be back?

I don't know.
I may not be.

What are you
talking about?

Business is growing
so fast,

I can't even take the
orders from mankato.

I'm just not going to be able to
service walnut grove anymore.

I'm sorry to hear that.

I'm sorry, too.

It's going to be a problem
for the whole town.

I know right now
I have enough business

to fill 2,
maybe 3 wagons.

You both got sturdy
wagons and good teams.

US in the freighting business?
I never thought about it.

The mill's not keeping you that busy,
is it?

This is the first good order
I've had in two months.

What about you,

Feed and seed business
going to make you rich?

No, but it's going
to break my back.

It makes sense,

Be a good business
for you.

One thing I can
practically guarantee,

and that is you'll never have to
come home with an empty wagon.

You two think on it.

We'll do that.
Have a good trip back.

Thank you. Let me
know what you decide.

Almanzo: All right.


Hey, a family business...
A partnership.

What could be more
natural? Wilder and Ingalls.

I was thinking more in
terms of Ingalls and Wilder.

You know what
they say... Age...

Age has got nothing to do with
it. It's alphabetical order, my boy.

Ingalls and Wilder
it is, then.

Now, take a real close
look at this map.

I think that this road to sleepy
eye is going to save US a lot of time.

Laura: It looks
exciting to me.

Could solve a lot of money
problems if this business works out.

Now, you can't deny
that it's shorter.

I'm not denying the road is
shorter. What I'm telling you is

there's a lot of hills
along that road,

and with fully-loaded wagons,
you're asking for problems.

Well, that's true,

but the other road to
sleepy eye is twice as long.

Of course it's twice as long.
It's also flat as a pancake,

and that's why
folks use it.

I can see your point.
Still, I...

All right. If you want to go on this road,
you go on your road.

- That's fine.
- Fine.

If you insist.

I'm not going to insist. After all,
we're partners.

Well, I'm certainly not
going to insist on using that.

Well, you are older
and more experienced.

Yeah, and don't
forget that.

This is about the silliest
argument I ever heard.

It's not an argument,

We're having a nice,
friendly discussion about a road.

That's right.

It sounds like
an argument to me.

Pa, almanzo... Sign's
finished. Come take a look.

what do you think?

That's real fine
work, Albert.

That's real
professional, son.


What about
your pa's wagon?

I'll have it finished before sundown.

Which reminds me...
We'd best get started home.


I was thinking.

We could probably figure out
which was the best route

by each one of US taking
our own way, huh?

That makes sense.

We'll both be leaving
at the same time.

Be kind of fun.
What do you think?

Why not? We set a time
to reach sleepy eye...

Say, before 1:00
in the afternoon.

Good enough. Make
a little wager on it?

Charles, you know how
I feel about gambling.

No, no. Not for money.
I'll tell you what...

If I lose, Caroline will make US a
special supper with all the trimmings.

And Beth does the same
if I lose.


What if
you both lose?

What if neither one of you
makes it to sleepy eye by 1:00?

Then your pa and
I do the honors.

You're going to cook?

Don't worry about me cooking.
I've taken the route often enough.

thanks for supper.

You're welcome.

Thanks again, Albert.

You're welcome.


Laura: Bye, ma!

You sure you're going
to win that bet?

No doubt about it.

Don't know why young folks always
think they know better than their elders.

sometimes they do.

Not this time. Be a
good lesson for almanzo.

Almanzo: I just know
my way is fastest.

Well, tomorrow you'll
find out for sure.

Well, on the map,
it's plain as anything.

Why do older people always
think their way is best?

Sometimes it is.

Well... it would be
a good lesson for your pa

to find out his way
is not always best.



What are you doing?

I'm just checking
the map.

You've been to sleepy eye and
back more times than I can remember.

You must know the way.

Know it like the back of my
hand. I'm just looking for a shortcut.


Take a look here.

See, this prairie's
real flat right in here.

Now, if I just pull off the road here,
cut across that angle,

I'll pick up an hour,
maybe two on my time.

I don't know.

Why not? It's plain
enough to see.

Yeah, it appears

What's bothering
you, then?

if this were the best way for the road,

why wasn't it built that
way in the first place?

Because they
didn't ask me.

Believe me,
I know this country too well. It'll work.

Just one more thing,
then I'll drop the subject.


If you're so sure
your way is best,

why bother
with a shortcut?

What if almanzo did get there
first? How would that look?

I'm just getting myself a little insurance,
that's all.

This is going
to work fine.

Just fine.

What a surprise
for the young lad.

Your wagon just may have
a heavier load than mine.

Well, I got less
distance to haul it.

We got enough left here
for a third wagon.

Business is really
looking good.

Now, are you all set,

As much as
I'll ever be.

Let's move 'em out.
Good luck.

You, too.

See you
in sleepy eye.

I'll be there
waiting for you.

Albert: Come on,
let's go play some football.


Hi, ma.


You ready for the shopping
that you have to do today?


Yeah... for the feast that your
father's planning for tonight.

Almanzo's so sure
that he's going to win,

I'm afraid we're going to be
eating at your place tonight.

Isn't it silly?

Honestly. Men get so competitive
over the strangest things.

I know.

I suppose I can tell you,
now that they've both left.



Do you know what your
father's planning to do?


He's planning to take
a shortcut...

Across the prairie!

He doesn't know where
he might wind up!

He could end up...


In the middle
of a bog...

Smack in the middle
of nowhere!

I know it's cruel...

Oh... and manly...

If he tries to go up too
steep of a hill with that load...

Oh, I know!

Oh, I'm going.

Just to win!

Oh, boy.


I'd best get them running.


Hah! Hah!

Easy! Come on!
All right, now. Come on!




Well... I can't say
I wasn't warned.

You tried your best,
and that's all I can ask.

I probably could make it
with half a load.

Let's see...

If I unload half
and leave it here,

then I take the rest up
over the crest and unload it,

then I come back down
and reload what I left here...

Oh, lord,
this is terrible.



Whoa. Need some help?

With what?

I don't know, exactly.

I'm waiting
for a ride.

Oh. Somebody special?

Nobody special.
Just a ride.

I'm on my way to sleepy eye.
You're welcome to ride with me.


There you go.

Charles Ingalls.


A pleasure.


Yah! Yah!

You got business
in sleepy eye?

Heard about a job. Depends
on how soon we get there.

We're going to be there
sooner than you think. Yah!

Where do you think you're
going? The road's that way.

Taking a shortcut.

Shortcut? I never heard
of any shortcut out this way.

Well, you have now.

if there was a shorter way to sleepy eye,

why ain't there
no road?

You sound
like my wife.

I'm surprised a fellow
like you could be married...

To anybody with sense.



Man: Be home soon,

Home. And what's
there for US?

I can't believe we could be gone
this long and still not find work.

You tried, Horace. The good
lord can't ask more than that.

Trying don't fill
our stomachs.

Times are hard, but if we starve,
it'll be under our own roof.

What do you suppose
that is?


There... on ahead.

I don't know.


Must belong
to somebody.

Who? Nobody'd just
leave it here like this.

Here, son.

Well, not unless we
were... we were meant to find it.

Emma, you suppose
god meant this to be?

I can't see
any other reason.

Praise the lord.

Oh, praise him!
He's answered our prayers!

Canned goods,
ham, cider...



More food than
we ever seen.



Children, come! Help!


Hah! Hah!

Hah! Yah!



What happened to my goods?

There are tracks...
And they're heading that way.

Well, they're not going
to get away with it!

Hah! Hah!

That's funny. That stream
wasn't on the map.

Plain foolishness.
Shortcut. Ha!

When I get you to sleepy eye two
hours before you'd have gotten there,

then you give me
your opinions.

Until then...

Only way we're getting
to sleepy eye

is if you turn this rig
around and take the road.

If you want to go that way,
get out and walk.

I'm going to cross
the stream in the wagon.

Can't be more than
a foot deep. Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Come on, now! Yah!

Yah! Come on! Move!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Move it!
Come on! Yah!

Yah! Move! Yah!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Yah!

Come on, now.
Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Yah!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Yah! Come on!

Oh, no.

Oh, yes,
Mr. Smart brain.

Now look what
you've done.

Well, don't worry
about it.

All we have to do is lighten
the load a little bit, that's all.


Come on,
give me a hand.

I'm too old to be pushing
and shoving a fool's wagon.

What are you going to do?
Just sit there?

Well, all right...
I'll take my weight off.

But that's
all I'm doing.

Well, I'm thankful for any
consideration you may give me.

Well, come on!
Come on!

Let me on
your shoulders.

On my shoulders?!

That's right.
You deaf?

I'm not ruining my onliest shoes
'cause you made a dumb mistake.

Can't you just take them off
and tie them around your neck?

If I wanted something around my neck,
I'd have bought a tie.

Now, give me a hand.

I got arthritis,
and I can't take no cold water on my bones.

All right, all right.
Come on.

Hey, don't be pulling
my hat down like that!

I can't see
where I'm going!

I'm only holding on!

Hey, you... you're
ripping my cheek off!

Get your hand
out of my mouth!

I can't see anything.

You can't see anything?!

What you been eating,
old man?

We're almost there.

All right.

you're heavier than you look, old man.

And you're much dumber
than you look.

Well, thanks.

Next time,
listen to your elders.

Seems I've heard
that before.

Horace: Wait.

We thank thee, lord,
for this bountiful feast

and pray that you make US
worthy of your love and compassion.

All: Amen.


There you are.

Children, eat slow,
or you'll get sick.

Be a shame to lose any of a
meal like this. Do as your ma says.

That's better.

The ham.

You cooked the ham.

don't hurt US.

It was already cooked.
Just needed heating up.

Emma: We're just poor
folk. Ain't eat nothing in days.

Horace: Found all this
alongside the road.

Thought the lord had
answered our prayers.

I'm sorry for thinking you were thieves,
it's just these here are my goods.

I couldn't get them up to
the top of the hill at one time.

We didn't know. We're
regretting the mistake.

Got no money to pay
for what we ate.

Well... I reckon you're
welcome to one feast.

you're... you're free to join US.

There's plenty,
as you see... If you got the time.

Well, no hurry now.

I'll get you
a fresh plate.

Thank you.

You can have
my seat.

Thank you.

There we go. All tied down,
ready to go.

Even if you find
the shortcut,

we've lost more time
than it would've saved.

Job's probably
gone by now.

Mr. Kavendish,
I'd like to ask a special favor of you.

And what
would that be?

Would you keep your mouth
shut until this trip's over?

My pleasure.


I tried mining
this old claim.

What made you quit?

Wore out my picks
and shovels.

Didn't have the
wherewithal to buy new ones.

Well, would you be willing to try
again if you had the new tools?

I don't know.
Mighty hard work.

Well, I'm willing to help
if you're willing to try.

I'm willing to try,
Mr. Wilder.

Let's come on over here,
then, and see what we got.

Jonathan, on telephone: Caroline,
I just wanted to be sure

that Charles and almanzo
got off this morning.

Why, yes. They're
not there yet?

No. I've got this rush
delivery for the trip back,

and I didn't want to
give it to anybody else.

Well, they certainly should
have been there by now.

I hope they didn't... Jonathan,
would you have Charles call me

the minute
they get there?

I'll do that.

Thanks, Jonathan.



It's only me,

Oh, I was afraid
it was percival.

He gets so angry when
he catches me eating.

You can't blame
him, Nellie.

You know what
the doctor said.

Oh, I know, but he
doesn't understand.

I'm not hungry.
It's the baby.

- Nellie, I really think...
- Nellie?

please tell him you don't know where I am.


Tell him you don't
know where I am.


Mrs. Ingalls,
have you seen Nellie?

Well, no.

She's probably
hiding out somewhere,

eating again.

This morning, I found
3 empty bonbon boxes

under the bed, and two
empty pickle jars

in the water closet.

Really? Well,
if I see her,

I'll tell her you're
looking for her.

Ok. Thank you.

Ah, I think maybe
I'll go to the store,

see if she's there.

- Good-bye.
- Bye-bye!

I don't know why
he gets so angry.

I'm only feeding
the baby.

These pickles
are wonderful.

I wonder how they'd
be with maple syrup.

- Is that good?
- Mm-hmm.

Hello, my love.

What did Dr. Baker
tell you? Hmm?

He said you've been
eating too much.

What does he know?

I want
a second opinion.

Oh, you do?
All right.

You're also
getting fat.

- Go to your room.
- Oh, percival.

Go to your room!

Charles: No!

Looks like
the end of the line.

Oh, no, it's not.
We're not turning back now.

There's wire cutters
in here somewhere.

There we go.

Thinks he's going to stop
me from getting to sleepy eye.

Man: Hold it!

Don't be cutting
the fence.

I'm sorry, but I...

Don't be sorry,
just don't cut it.

Now, look, mister,
I'm trying to get to sleepy eye.

You got to go back.

Go back?

Yep. Take the road.

That's why it was built.

Uh, mind if I cut
across on foot?

It's all right
with me, old man.

Uh, thankee.

Iffen I was you,

I'd think seriously of getting
into another line of work.

Well, you're not me.

Thank the lord.



There'll be
more hills ahead.

Bad as the ones
we just came over?

Wouldn't say so.
Still won't be easy.

I just can't wait for
the end of this trip.

Thanks for all you done.

Well, you get
to mining right away.

You portion out
those canned goods,

you're going
to make it.

We'll try it
with god's help.

Mr. Choate.

God be with you.

Uh, afternoon,


Could... could you give a poor
old man a lift to sleepy eye?

It's against
company rules.

I know, but my feet
are killing me.

All right. You can ride
in the boxcar.

Thank you.

Do you think I have enough
time to shave before we pull out?

Sure. We're
taking on water.

Oh, good.

Uh, you happen to see a
freight wagon back there?

Sure did. Idiot driver
was offloading,

trying to get it
up a hill.

Bet I know him.
What did he look like?

Uh... young, blond,
tall lad.

Oh. Must've been
some other idiot.


You're late
getting in, Charles.

Well, it's a long story.

Well, I got a load
for you to take back,

but it's too late
to start tonight.

Yeah, I know.
I'm sorry.

Stay here. Get an
early start tomorrow.

Suppose almanzo's been
here and gone by now, huh?

No. I ain't seen
hide nor hair of him.

Hey, you're kidding.

Can't be lost,
that's for sure.

Did the two of you
leave together?

Yeah. Yeah, he took
the other road.

Not with a full wagon!

I tried to tell him.

Look, when he gets here,
I want to play a little joke on him.

Why don't you just say that
I've been here since about noon.

Oh, just waiting
around, huh?


All right. I'll play
along with you.

I appreciate it.
Can I use your telephone?

Go ahead. I'll get
these horses unhitched.

Thanks. Caroline's expecting
me home for supper about now.

Yeah, I know.
She, uh...

Hi, ma. Have you
heard anything?

Yeah. Your pa
just called.

They're staying
the night.

That's a relief.

After talking about all the
things that could've gone wrong...

I know.
It's funny, though.

He didn't say anything
about being delayed.

He just said that they
got to visiting with Mary

and lost track
of the time.

Well, they couldn't
have been all that late.

Enough to miss
their deadline.

Looks like we don't have
to cook tomorrow night.

Looks like.



Where you been? I've
been worried about you.

That road was
just like you said.

I should've
listened to you.

Sometimes we have to
learn by making mistakes.


At least
you're here.

When did you get in?

Me? Oh, I've been here since about noon,



Oh, I'm sorry.

You should be. I want
you to do something about it

instead of just
talking about it.


We'd have been home for supper
tonight if you'd have been on time.

The least you could do is
buy Mary and me supper here.


Well, any objections?

Aw, it's only fair.

Let's get the wagon

Mary: Oh, this is so exciting! I
get so lonely with Adam gone.

Here's a step.
We should be coming in

at least once
or twice a week.

Probably wind up
getting sick of US.

Ah, never.

Well, here it is... the most
expensive place in town.

Are you sure this is the proper
place to be bringing Mary?

a deal is a deal.

Aw, come on. I never get
taken out to dinner.


Come along.

It's a beautiful place.

Flowers on the table.
Food must be good, partner.

There's a table
right up here.

sure smells good.

Hope whatever it is
is on special.

I'm not ordering the special,
I guarantee you that.

I am going to get the biggest,
most expensive steak in the place...

Maybe two of them.

Couple eggs over easy... Going
to have a side of mushrooms...

A big green salad.

Have to look at the dessert
menu to check that out.

Good evening,
Mr. Smart brain.

Mr. Kavendish.

As you see,
your little shortcut

didn't cost me
the job, after all.

What shortcut?

Uh, it's nothing.
We're in kind of a hurry.

This is my daughter Mary and my son-in-law
almanzo. We'd like to order right away.

What kind
of shortcut?

Tell him,
Mr. Ingalls.

Well, it's really not
very interesting.

Is that why you
made it here by noon?

By noon?! Is that what
he's been telling you?

What's funny?

By noon,
your father-in-law had US stuck

in a bog in the
middle of the prairie,

and by 1:30,

he had driven US
onto a dead end.

Some shortcut.

He had to drive at least
5 miles back to the road.

I don't understand
any of this.

Well, I sure do.

It means your pa is
treating US to supper

instead of me.

I think that I'm
going to have

a nice,
big steak...

The biggest one
you got.

Then I think I'm going to
have two eggs over easy.

Then I'm going to have a nice,
big side of mushrooms

and a nice
green salad.

And for dessert... A nice,
big piece of your peach pie.

Ahh. How's that
sound to you, Mary?

that sounds just fine to me. Same for me.

And you,
Mr. Ingalls?

Bowl of soup.

All right, I'm just
going to recheck it.

That's one ham, 6 cans
of assorted vegetables,

two picks,
and one shovel.

Anything else?

Yeah. A sack of wheat,
5 pounds of sugar.

Well, let's see.
Wheat... 5 sugar...

I'm giving you wholesale
on all this.

All right. Almanzo,
you owe the partnership $11.80.

It's going to take a couple
of weeks to pay that off.

That'll be just fine.

You know,
I thought you'd be more understanding.

After all, those
folks were starving.

Oh, almanzo, I was
more understanding

until you ordered another steak...
And then another order of peach pie.

I'm the one
that's starving.

You're not going to be eating
any better tomorrow night.

We're cooking,

What do you mean,
we're cooking?

Sure. Neither one of
US made it before 1:00.

How would you like not
to cook tomorrow night?

I'd love it,
but we have to.

No, we don't.

All we have to do is tell our
wives we got here before 1:00.

That'd be lying.

Well, of course
it would be lying.

It's a lot better
than cooking.

I mean, we just say
we both got here at 1:00.

Even tie.
All bets are off.

We don't have to look like
idiots in front of our wives.

A deal?


All right.

Now let's put out the
light and get some sleep.

In a minute. I'm just going to
check upstairs at Jonathan's,

see if there's
something to eat.

I'm starving.
I can't sleep.

Hey! Charles,
is that you?

Oh, yeah. I'm sorry
to wake you.

What are you doing?

Uh, I was on my way to the outhouse,
but I'm half asleep.

That's out front.
You know that.

Yeah, well...

What are you trying,
Mr. Ingalls?

Another one of
your shortcuts?

That... that...
That's funny, Andy.

That's really funny.
Well, good night.

Good night, Charles.

Good night, Mr. Ingalls.

Laura! Laura!

Miss Wilder.


They're back!
Come on!

I'll go get ma.


Welcome home.

Well, thank you.

Oh, I missed you.

Oh, I missed you, too.

How was the trip?

Oh, fine, fine.

Hi, pa!

Hi, darling.

Albert: Hi, pa!

Hi, Albert.

How you doing, son?

Hi, almanzo.

Hi, Albert.

How are you?

All right. Well,
you certainly made good time.

Jonathan's a man
of his word...

Two full wagonloads
for the return trip.

That's wonderful. Well,
how'd your shortcut work out?

Oh, shortcut... I didn't
even bother taking.

What time did you get to sleepy eye,

Well, that's a story in itself,
isn't it, almanzo...

What time we got there.

Yeah, it sure is.

See, almanzo had a
little trouble with the hills.

Yeah. It seems my way
didn't save any time at all.

Nah. But the most unbelievable
part is when we got to sleepy eye.

I'm coming down the street
from this direction...

And I'm coming down
the street from the other.

Right, right. And we meet right at
exactly the same moment. Exactly.

Caroline: That's unbelievable,
all right.

So all the bets
are off.

Your place
or ours?

Oh, I think almanzo
would love to host.


- I don't understand.
- You don't?


Charles Ingalls... I talked to
Jonathan. It was way past 1:00.


Looks like you both get to do the shopping,


You want to walk
with me to oleson's,

or you want to take
a shortcut?

How much longer?

We're starved.

Charles: Almost ready.

Just a few minutes.

Something smell
funny to you?

Kind of.

The potatoes are burned!

Charles: Well, of course they're
burned. You cooked them too long.

I cooked them exactly
as long as you said!

Did you ever think about
checking on something?

All you have to do...
Oh, the bread!


Here! Here, here!


Oh, no!

It's ruined.
That bread is ruined.

Almanzo: Well,
don't look at me.

Making the bread was
your department.

Couldn't you have checked on it
while I was working on the corn?

I was working
on the pie!

What pie?

The pie! The pie.

Come on.

Aw, no pie, either.

Charles: All right,
we're going to give them the roast.

All we're going
to get to...

Almanzo: Charles...


Did you ever think about adding a
little water to the roast once in a while?

You didn't tell me
to do that.

I have to tell you
to add water?

All you have to do is
put water in a pot,

and I have to tell you
to put water in it?

Not if you don't
tell me to do it!

Caroline: Nellie's
serving till 8:30.

We can just make it.