Episode 11 - The Wager

(13 December 1979)
Teleplay: E.F.Wallengren.
Story: Claylene Jones.
Director: Gwen Arner.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"The Second World War brought women by the millions out of their homes and into the factories, doing jobs that normally would have been reserved for men. Attitudes changed as women found themselves to be every bit as capable as the men they replaced. All of Jefferson County watched with wonder when my sisters Mary Ellen and Erin decided to venture even farther into a mans world".


Rose insists Erin and Mary Ellen eat breakfast before going to work, but they only have time for coffee. Jeffrey wants to write a letter to actress Jessica Marlowe, but no one thinks she will write back, except for Rose. Entering Pickett Metal Products, Erin and Mary Ellen get wolf whistles from Sam Barker and Jeb Sanders. At the same time, J.D. Pickett visits the Godsey's hoping to receive their support for a local war bond rally. When he asks for suggestions on an exciting event, Ike suggests a race while Corabeth mentions a cultural event. Ike just looks at J.D. and further explains that his idea came from an article in a Wild West magazine where two men share a horse, one riding while the other running. J.D. decides to call it 'The First Annual Jefferson County Ike & Corabeth Godsey Run and Ride Race'.


At school, Serena finds Jeffrey writing a letter to Jessica Marlowe. She reads the letter out loud while the other kids listen. She embarrasses Jeffrey, who runs out of the room. At Pickett's, Erin gives Mary Ellen a list of employees needing physical examinations. Jeb walks in complaining about back pain from working the loading dock. He wants to be reassigned to the assembly line. Mary Ellen examines his back, but finds nothing wrong. Erin tells Jeb to return to the dock. Jeb explains to J.D. that if his back is injured again it might cost the company a lot of money. J.D. tells Erin to reassign him to the assembly line.


Ike presents Jeffrey with a letter, a signed photograph of Miss Marlowe. Serena informs her brother that she has read where other people sign those photographs.. At the feed store, Erin and Mary Ellen learn about the upcoming Run & Ride Race with its fifty-dollar bond as first prize. Attracted by the prize money and the chance to get back at Sam and Jeb (who have already signed up), the sisters decide to enter the race.


As Erin and Mary Ellen arrive for supper, Jim Bob and Ben ask to borrow Mary Ellen's horse in order to enter the race. They inform the family that they have already entered the race. John wonders if their decision is wise considering that length of twelve miles and the grueling nature of the race. Erin questions Mary Ellen as to whether they can complete the race. Her sister says they begin training tomorrow.


In the morning, John tells Rose that he is against his daughters' desire to race, but will not stop them. Rose thinks that they might 'surprise the socks off you men'. Elizabeth decides to become their trainer after reading a training book on boxing. She starts them off with twenty pushups, blowing her whistle at them to exercise correctly. At supper Rose carries a delicious roast to the table for the family to eat, except for the athletes who will eat cottage cheese and eggs.


J.D. tells Erin he does not want his company's name to be tarnished by them making fools of themselves at the race. Erin says the sign does not say anything about the race being only for men. Erin agrees to bet a week's wages on the race. Mary Ellen is riding her horse when Sam comes up along side. He tells Mary Ellen what a nag she is riding and how she can't run well on those 'female legs'. They wager their horses. Back home, Elizabeth puts the two through jumping jacks when John enters the house. He finds out about the wagering including the bet Elizabeth made with Jim Bob on writing a book report.


Jason returns home after being assigned the Camp Rockfish chauffeur for the next few weeks in order to drive 'big shots' to war bond rallies. Jeffrey shows Jason the picture of Jessica Marlowe. Jason is impressed with the photograph. Jeffrey says, 'Girls sure are a pain.' Jason responds, 'But they're worth it, believe me!'


Elizabeth clocks Erin and Mary Ellen during a practice run-and-ride trial. Back home Elizabeth has Erin and Mary Ellen do sit-ups and mentions her next exercise is called 'The Death March'. Serena finds Jeffrey hiding in the attic with two pictures of Jessica. The second one shows a different signature from the first. Jeffrey is crushed. Serena says she is sorry. The night before the race, Erin and Mary Ellen talk the night before the race about their anxiousness about being women competing against men. In the morning, six teams line up below the banner 'Jefferson County War Bond Rally Sponsored by Godsey's Mercantile'. Ike announces the rules while Corabeth announce that a War Bond Rally Perfume Sale occurs only this week. Ike fires off the starting pistol with Mary Ellen running and Erin riding; and Sam running and Jeb riding.


Throughout the race, team number six is out in the lead, with Sam-Jeb and Erin-Mary Ellen switching between second and third place. Before checkpoint number three Mary Ellen passes Sam who is showing exhaustion. At the starting point Jason arrives with a celebrity. He introduces Jeffrey to the guest-of-honor, Jessica Marlowe. Jeffrey is dumbstruck. She asks Jeffrey to escort her to the speaker's platform. Later in the race, Mary Ellen trips in a stream and Sam overtakes her. After passing checkpoint number three Sam fakes an injury. When Mary Ellen dismounts, he takes off, leaving her behind. Near the end of the race, Mary Ellen and Sam race their horses' nose-to-nose. With horse, rider, and runner number six already past the finish line, Mary Ellen finishes just behind Sam. Mary Ellen accuses Sam of pulling a dirty trick and pushes him into a horse trough. But the victory depends on the runners. With Erin and Jeb running head-to-head toward the finish line, Erin just edges out Jeb for a second place win. As Mary Ellen and Erin celebrate their victory, J.D. admits she will get double wages next week and Jeb is back on the loading dock. The crowd sings the patriotic song America the Beautiful at the end of the war bond rally.


"Mary Ellen and Erin gained new respect in the community because of their remarkable showing in the Run and Ride race. No one would ever look upon them as just girls any more, especially not Sam Barker and Jeb Sanders".


Jim Bob (reading): No sooner had my blows sunk into silence than it was answered from a voice from within the tomb.
Elizabeth: Jim Bob, you don't have to do the book part tonight you know.
Jim Bob (still reading): A howl, a wailing shreik half of horror half of triumph -
Serena: Jim Bob you're scaring me.
Jim Bob (continues): - such as might have arisen only from the throats of the damned.
Mary Ellen: That's enough Jim Bob you're going to wake John Curtis.
Jim Bob (still reading): I had walled the monster up within the tomb.
Everyone: Goodnight, Jim Bob....
Jim Bob: Sweet dreams.



Sam and Jeb are members of team number one, while Erin and Mary Ellen each wear number two.

Ben maintains checkpoint number one, Ike is located at checkpoint number two, and Jim Bob volunteers to man checkpoint number three, located at the dead oak tree near Hardware Creek.

At checkpoint number one: horse/rider number six arrives first, followed by horse/rider number one (Jeb) and horse/rider number two (Erin).

At checkpoint number two: horse/rider number six arrives first, followed by horse/rider number one (Sam), runner number six, horse/rider number two (Mary Ellen), runner number one (Jeb), and runner number two (Erin).

At checkpoint number three: horse/rider number six arrives first, followed by horse/rider number one (Jeb), horse/rider number two (Erin), runner number six, and runner number two (Mary Ellen).

The members of team number 6 win the race. The team is composed of Joe and Al.

Elizabeth announces that Jim Bob's book report for her will be 'The Collected Stories of Edgar Allen Poe'.

Lyrics and information about America the Beautiful appear at: http://www.usa-people-search.com/content-from-sea-to-shining-sea-america-the-beautiful.aspx.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Rose (Peggy Rae); Serena (Martha Nix); Jeffrey (Keith Mitchell), Jeb Sanders (Jonathan Banks), Sam Barker (Mitch Carter), J.D. Pickett (Lewis Arquette), Feed Store Clerk (Jerry Hoffman), Jessica Marlowe (Cathy Worthington).