This story, like several others in the series, takes enormous liberties with the geography of this part of Minnesota. In reality, it is only about 10 miles from Springfield to Sleepy Eye and the land is completely flat, so the map which is shown of the railway line connecting them is a total fiction.
Why wouldn't Carl's siblings John and Alicia go on the trip, also? If Mary, Laura and Carl got to miss school for the day and join their fathers on the trip, it seems unfair that the other two would be excluded.
The locomotive used on this episode was Sierra Railroad #3, which appeared in many TV shows and movies. One of its more famous appearances was on the series Petticoat Junction as part of the "Hooterville Cannonball".
Carl: (about going on the trip with Charles and Mr. Edwards) I wish we could go. I couldn't actually go on the train, but I could at least see it up close.
Mary: Why don't you ask your Pa?
Carl: It wouldn't do no good.
Laura: But we're studying railroads. It would just be like some extra special homework.
Laura: Mary can ask our Pa.
Mary: Why me?
Laura: Because you can put your glasses on and look serious. If I ask him, he'll think I just want to go for fun.
Mary: It's all my fault. If I had only jumped when you told me to!
Carl: It's not your fault. It's mine. I'm the one who got you on this thing in the first place.
Mary: I'm the oldest. I shouldn't have let you do it.
Carl: You couldn't have stopped me. You're a girl.
Mary: Well, what's that got to do with it?
Carl: A lot, that's what!
Mary: Well, what?
Carl: Never mind.
Mary: There, you see? It was my fault.
Carl: It was not!
Laura: It was both of your faults! You feel better now?
Mary: We thought we'd go with you and Mr. Edwards to Springfield and learn all about trains. You always say there's nothing better than seeing things first-hand.
Charles: Hey, now hold on. You'd be missing school.
Laura: Not really, Pa. It would be just like school, only different.
Mary: We could learn a lot.
Charles: Well, you can learn just as much by going to school. You can learn everything you have to know.
Laura: But Mr. Edwards is letting Carl go.
Charles: Oh, he is?
Laura: Yeah. I guess he'll be the only one getting extra credit.
Charles: Carl, what did your Ma say about that?
Laura: She didn't say anything.
Charles: Hmm. Well, if Grace thinks it'll all right, I guess I shouldn't stand in the way of higher education. You can go.
Laura and Mary: Thanks, Pa!
(the kids leave)
Mary: You shouldn't have lied.
Laura: I didn't yet.
Mary: What do you mean you didn't? You said Mr. Edwards said he could go, and that his Ma didn't say anything about it.
Laura: Well, all we have to do is ask him if Carl can go. Your Ma didn't say anything, did she, Carl?
Carl: Of course not! She doesn't even know yet!
Laura: There. You see? All we have to do is get him to say yes.
"The Runaway Caboose" is Brian Part's (Carl Edwards-Sanderson) favorite episode.
Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley, with Sierra portions filmed at Railtown State Park, Jamestown and Sierra Railway vicinity, Red Hills, Chinese Camp and Cooperstown, Tuolumne and Stanislaus Counties, California, and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.
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