Quantum Leap

Season 1 Episode 5

How the Tess Was Won

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Apr 14, 1989 on NBC
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Episode Summary

August 5, 1956: As a veterinarian in rural Texas, Sam's mission appears to be winning the love of an heiress to a large ranch. Sabotaged by another suitor, Sam fails and finds that his true goal was to save the life of a sick piglet, and to help an unnamed cohort with a task he's performing.moreless

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Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell

Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula

Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • According to this episode, Sam influences Buddy Holly to change the lyrics from "piggy, suey" to "Peggy Sue," thus setting up Buddy's future hit song. However, this is not the origin of the song's name.

      The song's name was originally Cindy Lou, named after Holly's niece, and was later changed to Peggy Sue upon request of Crickets drummer Jerry Allison. Jerry wanted the song to be named after his girlfriend Peggy Sue Gerron to make up for a recent fight. The two later married.

    • Although Sam is not wearing glasses when he looks the mirror, Doc Daniel Young's reflection is.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Sam: (Looking up at the sky) Couldn't you give them name tags?

    • Buddy: (singing) ...Oh, Piggy. My piggy suey.
      Sam: Buddy?
      Buddy: Yeah, Doc?
      Sam: Uh, why don't you try Peggy Sue? It might sound a little better.
      Buddy: Alright. (singing) Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue...

  • NOTES (2)

    • This is the first time that we see Al using Ziggy to determine Sam's mission.

    • This episode's "kiss with history": Buddy Holly. Not knowing his name, Sam uses nicknames for the guitar-playing youth, such as 'Pal', until he hears him strumming a song suspiciously similar to Peggy Sue, and settles on 'Buddy'.


    • Sam: Bonanza was never like this.
      Referencing the Bonanza TV series (1959-1973). Bonanza chronicled the adventures of the Cartwright family who owned a large ranch, the Ponderosa, in Nevada, in the 1860s.

    • The character "Buddy" in this episode turns out to be Buddy Holly, and his song 'Peggy Sue' becomes one of his greatest hits.

    • Episode Title: How The Tess Was Won
      The title of this episode is a reference to the 1962 movie, "How The West Was Won" starring Henry Fonda.