The Young Riders (1989–1992): Season 2, Episode 6 - The Littlest Cowboy - full transcript

In a strange town on an assignment for Russell, Majors and Waddell, Ike is beaten by some bullies who mock him for his scarlet fever induced muteness and baldness. He is taken in by a kindly resident of the town who is burned alive in an accidental fire which Ike tries to alert the sheriff about. Unable to communicate effectively with the sheriff, Ike attempts to pantomime the emergency and smashes a coal oil lamp in a trashcan which earns him another beating and jailing. The sheriff and his deputy are eager to pin the woman's death on Ike but he is saved when Buck and Jimmy bring a letter from Teaspoon vouching for Ike. Wracked with guilt and bitter with frustration Ike shirks his duties and vents his anger on the other express riders. Rachel is visited by a dear and friend who is traveling with her young son, Arthur, who is ill with a congenital heart defect. The express riders take a shine to the boy, a fan of dime novels about the littlest cowboy and who is awed by the express riders. In the depths of his despair, Ike gives the boy the cold shoulder and lashes out at Buck, galloping off only to come home too drunk to mount the steps to the bunkhouse. Teaspoon addresses I strongly about his recent behavior, making it clear that if Ike doesn't get himself squared away he'll be let go. The little boy comfort's Ike, who makes an effort to get over his wretched moping, catching up on neglected chores and reapplying himself to his duties as an express rider. While Arthur and his mother are out for a ride in a buckboard they are confronted by the boys grandfather. When the buckboard comes home sans mother and son, Ike spies it and gallops off in the direction whence it came. Ike confronts the covered wagon the well intentioned grandfather is riding in and demands their return but is forced to shoot down the grandfather's hands when they draw on him. The grandfather is forced to come to terms with his inability to preserve the boy and consents to travel with Arthur and his mother in Arthur his quest to see the mountains before he passes. The little family as last scene celebrating the grandeur of the desert mountains and canyons, and The express riders in general and Ike in particular receive news of the boys passing by means a book delivered in the express package- of the next sequel in the littlest cowboy series, which Arthur's mother had told him he would get to read.

"His pride shattered
and his knees weak,

"the littlest cowboy
knew he had a choice.

"He could fall down and
forget everything that was
ever important to him,

"or he could dig deep to find
the strength and courage
to fight back like a man.

"What would he do?

"Read the next gripping
adventure in the littlest
cowboy series and find out."

I think that's more than
enough for tonight, young man.

You don't like these stories
very much, do you,

I think I prefer Oliver twist,
if that's what you mean.

Make sure he takes his medicine.

And, uh, if there are
any further episodes
like last night,

summon me at once.

Yes, sir, Mr. Sims.

- Good night, Arthur.
- Good night.

Oh, and grandfather,

since tomorrow's my birthday,

can we go west and meet
the pony express riders?

Have you any idea
how far that is?

No, Arthur.
I've told you before.

We'll go as soon
as you get better.

But I'm not getting better.

I won't have that kind of
talk, young man.
Is that understood?

Good night, then.

Pardon me, young man.
Can you tell me the time?

Three o'clock?

I see. Tell me,

do you know where
I might find
Josiah grubbs' farm?

Come on, ike, let's go.

Is that everything, ike?

Where are you going?

Come on. I want
to get out of this rain.

- Cody, he's just
trying to help.
- Yeah, right.

Oh, let go of that.

I said put it down!
Put it down!

He's just offering you a ride.

I don't need one.
Not from him.

It's not contagious.

Don't worry about it, ike.
If I was her, I wouldn't take
a ride from you either.

You're too damn ugly.

You all right?

Oh, that lady?

I guess some people
just don't know better.

Come to think of it,
Cody might have a point.

You are pretty ugly.

You can't keep him
locked up like this.

Arthur's a very
sick boy. You know that.

It's his birthday
and I came so far,
can't I please see him?

- I'm afraid that would
be impossible.
- But he's my son.

You're young.
You can have another child.

He's my only grandson
and I won't have you
killing him like...

Like Richard?
I didn't kill your son,
Mr. Sims.

I gave him the three
best years of his life.

There would have been more.

If you hadn't taken him away
he might even be alive today.

Oh, you call this living?
Being locked up in this,
this mausoleum.

Having doctors tell him
what he can and cannot do?

What gives you the right
to do this?

I'm sorry.

I didn't come here to argue.
I just want to see my son.

In Arthur's condition,

an unexpected visit,
especially from you,

could have serious consequences.

Now I'll have to
ask you to go.
I have company.

I talked to the doctor.

He said that he doesn't
have that much time.


Here's $100.
It should see you safely
back to San Francisco.

I don't want your money.

Very well, then. Good day.

Well, Rachel,
I think you're bluffin'.

I've been accused of worse...

I've heard it said
you can't have a heart
and play this game.

But I've since discovered
it's not always true...

Because I got five of 'em.

Another hand? No?

I guess I'll call it a day then.

Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure.

Thanks a lot, Rachel.

Where'd she learn to do that?

I don't know.

- Kid leave for Benton yet?
- A couple hours ago.

First thing tomorrow morning
one of you boys is gonna have
to ride over to pine bluff.

- Why?
- Anybody here know
a Larson biggers?

- He's a nasty piece of work.
- Owns half the town, don't he?

He also owns 10,000 acres
by the western pass
through the wasatch.

And that land has
the only water
for 50 miles around.

Wait a minute, teaspoon,
didn't biggers already
agree to let us use it?

He did. But he conveniently
forgot to sign the papers.

Now he's making noise
about raising the price.

- But he can't do that.
- Company agrees
with you, buck.

That's why I got to send one
of you boys over there

to get him to sign
this here contract.

Which, more than likely,
he ain't gonna be
too eager to do.

I'd go myself, but
with barnett out of town,

I got to stay close.

You want to go, ike?

Well, hold on.
Maybe that's not
such a good idea.

What if he wants to
argue the thing?

Ike, even I ain't going.

Ike, you know I trust you.
That ain't what i'm
talking about.

Look, teaspoon,
I'll go with him.

That okay with you, ike?

Good. Then, that's settled.

But I want you boys
to promise me one thing.

No matter what happens,
you won't let him
get your goat.

Just get his John Henry
on this piece of paper
and get out.




Happy birthday.

I knew you'd come back.

Do you still want to see those
pony express riders, Arthur?

More than anything.

- It's a very long trip.
- I can make it.

- But...
- What?

Grandfather will never let me.

Well, then, we won't tell him.
Okay? Shh!

'Scuse me, Mr. Biggers.

There's a fella here,
just came out of your office.

He's got something for you.
Wouldn't let nobody else
touch it.

Couldn't this wait till morning?

I don't know. He don't talk.

So, the pony express still
wants to water their horses
on my land.

Give me the contract.

You want me to sign this?

Take off your hat.

And the bandana.

Give me one good reason
why I should sign this.

No. Tell me.

What's the matter, baldy?
Cat got your tongue?

Sorry. I don't do
business with freaks.

Now, get out of here.

You don't hear too good,
do you, baldy?
I said get out of here!

- Hey! Hey! Look out!
- Watch it, there, son.

Mercy! Look at that.

They roughed you up pretty good.

My name's Mary Jane.
I work there.

Look, I'd take you
to the doctor, but...

He's in no condition.

Is there someplace you can go?

Get yourself looked after?

Well, then, why don't you
come home with me, then?

You can sleep on
the sofa and wash up.

Oh, don't worry,
I ain't being nice.

I got plenty of chores
that need tending to
in the morning.

Come on.

Feeling better?


My husband?
He died.

Oh, that's all right.

He wasn't much good anyway.

He was a miner.

Made a pretty big stake,
then went and lost it all
at the saloon.

Got himself shot
for the trouble.

My friends say i'm
better off without him.

Between you and me,
I think they're
probably right.

You know, it's real easy
talking to you.

Anyway, there's food on
the table and your bed's made.

I'll see you in the morning.

Oh, by the way,
do you like cats?

Oh, you're allergic?

All right. I'll keep Jasper in
the other room with me then.

Good night.

Help! Help!

Somebody help me!

Ike! Oh, my god!

Ike! I'm stuck inside here!

I'm in here!

Help me! Hurry!

Hurry! I can't move!
It's too heavy!

Ike, get help!

Ike, go!


Try to get help!

Go on! Get out of here!

Please hurry.

What the hell are you...
Get your hands off me!

He's a dummy, sheriff.

Hey, move away from there!

Hey! Hey, come on!
Move away from there!


We found Mary Jane.

At least I think it's her.

Now, dummy or no,
I want to know what
you know about that fire.

He can't tell you nothing.

Well, he'd better,
because I got a feeling
he started it.

And if he did...

I'll see him hang.

You understand that, don't you?

So, what he's saying is
he don't know how it started.

And he ain't a dummy.

Ike? Hardly.

I mean, he may have
a stubborn streak in him,

but he's one of
the best riders we got.

Well, sheriff?

Says here marshal hunter
will vouch for him personally.

- Is that true?
- Yes.

- Let him go.
- But...

I said let him go!

What's he trying to say?

- Nothing.
- What is he trying to say?

Come on, ike.
It wasn't anybody's fault.
Let's go!

Appreciate your cooperation,

Ike, you said yourself
it was probably too late
to help her, right?

So, he made a mistake.
It doesn't matter now.

Excuse me, but I
don't think this is
the time to discuss it.

Come on, ike, let's go.

Dammit! Let's go.

Come on, Katie!

Here you go!

Rachel, are you okay?

Ike, I nearly broke my ankle
on that step!

Oh, you think that's funny?

Well, let me tell you
something, mister.

Either you fix that step
like you promised,

or you can forget about
eating until you do.
You understand?

- What'd he say?
- Nothing.

- Buck, what did he say?
- You ought to watch
where you're going.


Ike mcswain! I swear...

If you were a few years
younger, I'd turn you over
and tan your hide.

You understand?

I said, "do you understand?"


He understands fine.
And he's not a dummy.

I didn't say you were a dummy!

What is wrong with you?

Ah! Dammit!

What's Rachel so riled up about?


You owe her an apology, ike.

She wasn't nagging.
You promised to fix that step
half a dozen times.

She could have hurt herself.

Yeah? So, when
are you gonna do it?

When he feels like it.

- How was your run, kid?
- It was good.

Ike, I just came back
from William's station.

He says you've been running
his horses too hard.

No, it isn't your fault
his stock's getting old.

Matter of fact, nothing seems
to be your fault anymore.

Ike, we all know
what happened to you
in pine bluff,

but that was two weeks ago.

You got to get over it now.

I don't know what to do,

It's like he
keeps getting worse
instead of better.

I know.

Maybe I shouldn't have
been so hard on him.

To tell the truth, Rachel,

I don't think it makes
no difference
one way or the other.

Then, what does?



Wish to hell I knew.

See, when folks start treating
somebody like they
was less than human,

it usually don't take too
long for that person to start
believing it himself.

- Ike knows better than that.
- Does he?

Let's say it's you.

Let's say you're walking
down the street
minding your own business

but everybody you pass
turns away
real disgusted-like

as soon as they see your face.

What you going to do about it?

- I'd think they were crazy.
- Maybe.

But I bet the next time
you passed a mirror,

you'd take a real good look
just to make sure.

What's that got to do
with ike, teaspoon?

I don't know.
Maybe nothing.

Maybe a whole lot.

Someone's coming.

I think it's her!
It's her!

- Whoa!
- Oh, my god!

Helen, I can't believe
it's really you!

Oh, my god!
I can't believe we found you.

I went to blue creek,
they said that
you might be here.

Excuse me. Are they real
pony express riders?

That's him.

Arthur was only two
when his father died.

We just finished
building a little shack
up on eagles nest.

By that time Richard was
pretty weak so I did
most of the work.

It's real pretty up there.

I didn't want to take
Arthur back to
his grandfather's house,

but he was so little
and sick all the time.

And I guess I blamed
myself for what
had happened.

- You gave Richard a gift.
- I hope so.

All I know is that he died
after a long, hard trip.

A trip made against
doctor's orders.

Because he wanted to go.

Because he wanted to see
the mountains more than
anything before he died.

Just like me, huh, mother?

Yeah, just like you.

I sure hope you two will stay
for a while before pushing on.

Well, this is Arthur's trip.

It's up to him.

I wouldn't want to be
too much trouble.

Are you kidding?
You wouldn't be
no trouble at all.

Thought you wanted
to be a cowboy.

That don't happen
in a day or two.

Cody's right. It takes time.

- And a lot of hard work.
- Think you're up to it?

Here you go, gentlemen.

What do you think, Arthur?

- Som... some?
- Some.

Some legal...

- Ac... action?
- Action.


Oh, that's the way, Arthur.
You're doing fine.

Oh, slow down, doggie.

- He's a fine boy.
- Want to try?

I keep asking myself
why I didn't get him
away from there sooner.

After everything
you went through
with Richard...

- All the more reason.
- Helen?

You've got nothing
while Mr. Sims is
a rich, powerful man.

Don't expect too much
from yourself.

You don't know
how much I hate that man.

How angry I am that this
didn't happen to him instead
of Arthur and Richard.

It isn't fair.

- I know.
- Not bad.

They're coming, you know.

Sooner or later
they're gonna find us.
But I'll tell you one thing...

I am not gonna let him
get his hands on my son.
Not while I'm alive.

Watch this, mother.

Either of you ever heard of a
town called Sweetwater?

A couple days ride west of here.

Let's go.

- Ready?
- Ready.

Keep your eyes closed.

- Can I open my eyes yet?
- Nope, not yet.

Okay, open your eyes.

- Surprise!
- Ta-da!

Every cowboy needs
a mount he can call his own.

Bang! Bang! Bang!


You got to stay on your toes.

Them varmints was out for blood.

You must be Samson.

I've got something for you.

You sure are friendly.

You scared me.

My name is Arthur.
You must be ike.

Buck told me about you.

He said you got sick
when you were little.

I got sick when
I was little, too.

Maybe we could talk about it.

You can't talk?

You talk with signs.
Isn't that the same thing?

You want me to leave?

Okay, I'm sorry.

Being mean to little kids
a new habit of yours?

Because if it is, it stinks.

No one's asking you
to feel sorry for him,
especially him.

No, I ain't gonna leave you
alone. That's what I've been
doing and it hasn't helped.

You got to stop
carrying on like this.

For one thing, the others
are getting tired of covering
for you. And so am I.

Of course you didn't
ask us to,
we're your friends!

What are you talking about
you don't want any...

You cause trouble and pain.
Ike, this is crazy.

No, I ain't gonna go
until we talk this thing over.

Don't walk out on me.

Ike, come back here!

Ike, get back here.

The littlest cowboy never loses.

- The littlest cowboy, huh?
- That's right.

And this town ain't big enough
for the both of us.

Oh, it ain't, huh?

And what you aim
to do about it, bub?

I'm calling you out.

All right, if that's
the way you want it.

On the count of three.



Arthur? Arthur!

Don't worry. It will
go away in a second.

I'll be all right.


It's better now.

What is it, son?

The biggest part of my heart
doesn't work right.

Makes the other part
work too hard.

My father had the same thing.

Well, uh, can't the doctors
do nothing about it?

Maybe someday.

Marshal, can I
ask you a question?

Well, of course.

After me and my mother
go to the mountains,

I've been thinking about
seeing the ocean.

Have you ever seen it?

Have I ever seen an ocean?

Do you know
who you're talking to?

Best of my recollection,
I have swum in five, fished
six, and been afloat on seven.

Which one you got in mind?

-The pacific.
-The pacific?
Yeah, it's a good one.

Matter of fact,

might even be my favorite.

Hello, mother.

Marshal hunter was just going
to tell me about the pacific.

Well, that sounds very nice,
Arthur, but...

It's long past the time
for your afternoon's rest.

Now, I'm sure
that marshal hunter

would be very happy to
tell you all about it later.

I hope he wasn't
too much trouble.

Trouble? Him? Tell you,
this boy keeps me in practice.


You beat me again, didn't you?

Now, come to think of it,

if you could ever loan him out,

I am in desperate need
of a good deputy.

Matter of fact, I think
I will make it official.

See that says,
"deputy marshal."
That's you.

There we go.

You mean, I can keep it?

You wear that with honor, son.

All right, deputy.
Now, it's off to bed with you.

Thank you.


when you've sobered up,
I want to talk to you.

If you ain't got the
right answers,

you can pack up and leave.


You're not gonna fire him,
are you, teaspoon?

It's up to him.
Rachel, is supper ready?

Yes, it is.

Good. I'm starved.

What are you all waiting for?

- What about ike, teaspoon?
- He ain't invited.

Want to rest a minute?

If you'll sit in my chair,
I can help.

You're pretty drunk, huh?

Is it fun?

It doesn't look fun.

Why am I doing this for you?

I don't know. I've always had
someone do it for me.

I was curious.

It's just a kids book,
but I like it.

The littlest cowboy rides
around the west.

And wherever he goes,
he runs into trouble.

But even though the bad guys
are bigger and stronger,

he always wins because
he never quits.

At least he hasn't yet.

But at the end of the book
he's in a lot of trouble.

Do I think he'll make it?


My mother promised to
buy me the next one after
we go to the mountains.

Want some water?

How am I feeling?

Pretty bad.
How about you?

What's it like
having a bad heart?

I don't know.
I never had a good one.

Sure, I'm scared.

I'm scared all the time.

Except sometimes when
I close my eyes and
I see this other place

that's warm and bright.
And I'm healthy there.

And sometimes when
I'm feeling really bad,

I think about
how good it would feel.

But I'm not ready. Not yet.

You gonna talk to the marshal?

Why not?
Aren't you happy here?

I don't understand you.

Excuse me.
I need to rest now.

Oh, it's a lovely
morning, isn't it, Arthur?

Mother, why did you want
to go for a ride this morning?

Well, you've been spending so
much time with the express
riders, I just thought...

You don't have to pretend.

You're worried, aren't you?


It's okay. I know I look bad.

I'm feeling pretty bad, too.


It's just that we've
gotten to know each other.

Mother, would you hold me?

My sweet baby.

We should get going for the
mountains pretty soon.



Don't worry, Arthur,

everything's gonna be fine.
You'll see.

You have no right doing this.

As his legal guardian,
I have every right.

In fact, you'll be lucky
if I don't press charges.

Whoa! Whoa, there.

What's the matter?

You better get out here,
Mr. Sims.

What's going on?

Who are you? What do you want?

Well, speak up.

Get rid of him.

Stay here.

If you've come for the boy,
you're wasting your time.

I'm taking him home.

So, unless you're intent
upon shooting me,

I suggest stepping aside.
Now, get out of the way.

No, grandfather.
I'm not going back!


Arthur, get back in the wagon.

Only if you turn around
and go to the mountains.

You don't know
what you're saying.

Yes, I do.

I may not have much time left,
but it's my time.

And that's where I want to go.

Arthur, you're all I have left.

And I don't want to lose you.

You can't help it, grandfather.

You're gonna lose me anyway.

♪ That's the way it's gonna be
little darlin'

♪ we'll be riding
on the horses, yeah

♪ way up in the sky
little darlin'

♪ You will grow
and until you go

♪ I'll be right there
by your side

♪ and even then
whisper the wind

♪ and she will
carry up your ride

♪ I hear all the people
of the world

♪ in one bird's lonely cry

♪ see them trying every way
they know how

♪ to make their spirits fly

♪ can't you see him?
He's down on the ground

♪ he has a broken wing
looking all around

♪ that's the way it's gonna be
little darlin'

♪ you'll go riding
on the horses, yeah

♪ way up in the sky
little darlin'

ride safe, son.