Whilst playing outside, Mary accidently breaks Laura's china doll. Both girls are devastated, particularly when it is realised that the cost of a new head for the doll is way beyond their budget.
Trying to make her sister feel better, Mary brings home a baby raccoon who is extremely cute. Laura falls instantly in love with the animal and names him 'Jasper'. Charles is worried about keeping a wild animal but tells Laura it can stay temporarily. Delighted, Laura begins to teach him several delightful tricks. The only 'person' not impressed is the family dog, Jack, who barks at the raccoon and chases him as often as possible.
After a cage is made from which Jasper escapes, Laura is heartbroken, but she doesn't tell her father that Jasper bit both her and the dog in recent days. When an obviously rabid Jasper comes back, Charles has to kill him as the family wait to see if either Jack and Laura have rabies.
One night, when a tied up Jack is making a ruccus, Charles realises that he is indeed rabid and goes to the barn to shoot him while Caroline and the girls sob in the house. Just as he is about to raise the gun and shoot the dog whilst dealing with his own grief, he sees ... Jasper! He is not rabid at all which means that Charles killed a different raccoon and that neither Laura nor Jack have anything to worry about!
This one is a REAL tearjerker. A superb performance by Michael Landon as he contemplates the fact that his beloved daughter may have rabies and that he will have to destroy the family pet. Great work. Great episode!