Laura finds an injured baby raccoon, and the normally sane Pa and Ma Ingalls make the unwise decision to let Laura keep him. One day, the raccoon (Jasper) decides he's had enough of being caged and walked on a leash and bites Laura and Jack; he then runs off into the woods. Pa and Ma know Jack was bitten, but they don't know about Laura's bite. Mary, the only witness, is sworn to secrecy by her sister. That very night a raccoon tears up the hen house (Laura had been giving Jasper eggs every day). Pa shoots the offending animal, only to discover it was rabid. Jack must be quarantined. When Mary finds out that rabies is fatal if contracted, she has a mini-breakdown and tells Pa about Laura's bite. For days the family agonizes over whether the disease will manifest itself or not. Of course, it doesn't, and the series continues for nine more years. Actually, in the end, as Charles prepares to shoot a constantly-barking Jack, a raccoon pops out of the barn and covers its eyes--a trick Laura had taught Jasper. The one in the henhouse wasn't her pet after all. A fine episode centering on strength in times of crisis, and genuinely tense, especially as Charles approaches the barn, 12-guage in hand.
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