Little House on the Prairie: Season 2, Episode 16

The Runaway Caboose (11 Feb. 1976)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Family | Romance
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 34 users  
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While on a trip to Springfield, Carl Edwards accidentally releases the brake on a caboose that he, Mary and Laura are exploring, sending the lone car and the terrified trio hurtling down the tracks towards an oncoming express train.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Caroline Ingalls (credit only)
Carrie Ingalls (credit only)
Carrie Ingalls (credit only)
Sean McClory ...
Sandy Nelson
Don Collier ...
Brian Part ...
J.W. Diamond
Larry J. Blake ...
Asa Dunn
Paul Bryar ...


While on a trip to Springfield, Carl Edwards accidentally releases the brake on a caboose that he, Mary and Laura are exploring, sending the lone car and the terrified trio hurtling down the tracks towards an oncoming express train.

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Release Date:

11 February 1976 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During a long shot of the train traveling from Nancato, you can see the outline of a car driving on a road, halfway up the shot. See more »


Carl Sanderson Edwards: Your Pa going to Springfield next week?
Laura Ingalls: Sure. He's going with your Pa.
Carl Sanderson Edwards: I wish we could go. I wouldn't be able to get on the train, but at least I'd be able to see it up close.
Mary Ingalls: Why don't you ask him?
Carl Sanderson Edwards: It wouldn't do no good. It would be a school day.
Mary Ingalls: But we're studying railroads. It would just be some extra special homework.
Carl Sanderson Edwards: Yeah.
Laura Ingalls: Mary can ask our Pa.
Mary Ingalls: Why me?
Laura Ingalls: Because you can put your glasses on and look serious, if you ask him. If I ask him, he'd just think I want to go for fun.
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User Reviews

Running into trouble
23 March 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another one of my favorites! In this episode, we never see Caroline or Carrie. It focuses mostly on Laura, Mary, and Carl. The three do a bit of conniving to get their fathers to let them go to see the train when they go to pick up supplies next week. Laura flat-out lies, though she assures Mary and Carl that she wasn't really lying (but she was, of course). But then Willie gives Carl a firecracker, which he set off in the barn. Isaiah thinks it's kind of funny, but Grace is very angry at Carl first, then at Isaiah. She yells at Carl, then she yells at Isaiah and accuses him of being too soft on the kids. So Isaiah decides to prove her wrong and tells Carl he can't go with him and Charles to the train.

After Grace and Charles convince him that he was too hard on Carl, he lets him go. But kids are curious. And when kids are curious, they get themselves into trouble. Carl starts yanking and pulling, and before you know it, they are on a ride of their lives on a runaway caboose.

What happens then is both comical and a bit dramatic. It seems nobody is where they are supposed to be. The Sleepy Eye special is about to leave, yet communication is down between the train in Springfield and Sleepy Eye. The Springfield train starts to catch their caboose, but it breaks down and can't go. The man at one of the relay stations is busy doing laundry. Charles has to ride all the way to another station to stop the special, but he gets there just a bit too late. Then he throws a man off his horse in order to catch the train and stop it.

I won't go into anymore detail, but I will assure you that the three children live to tell about their adventure. All's well that Ends well...

By the way, for years we got to watch Michael Landon (Little Joe Cartwright) ride a horse, but we don't see it often enough in this show. But in this episode, we get to see his awesome horseman skills again. Kinda takes you back to when he was Little Joe, doesn't it?

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