When their wheat crop is ravaged by a hailstorm, the discouraged Walnut Grove men leave town to search for work. During his long walk, Charles meets Jack Peters 'powder monkey', a flamboyant hard rock miner who recommends Charles for the well-paying but dangerous job, part of a 2-man hole drilling team needed to hand-set blasting charges in a rock quarry. Meanwhile, back in Walnut Grove, Caroline organizes the women to try to salvage what they can of the damaged wheat. In the end, though separated by distance and circumstance, the pioneer families work together to meet the challenge of unpredictable prairie life.
- Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) is very satisfied because the wheat harvest is going to take place soon, and it will be good. He buys a horse and will buy himself new boots. However, the night before harvesting, a hailstorm destroys everything. Caroline is afraid that winter they are going to feel hunger, so Charles leaves for work with completely ragged boots. .
Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassle) decides to do her bit: she convinces all the farmer wives to pick up the loose shafts of corn and wheat which have survived the hailstorm. The rest are not convinced, but they finally start working on the plan. Laura and Mary (Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson) help their mother, learning what hard work is first hand.
Charles finds two friends on his way. One of them, Jack Peters (Don Knight), a flamboyant hard rock miner, recommends the other two men to apply for the well-paid but dangerous job of 'powder monkey', part of a 2-man hole drilling team needed to hand-set blasting charges in a rock quarry. The quarry is far away, but it's the only place where they can find a job. They are accepted, because they work hard, although Charles will get sore and blistered hands because of the job.
Teams will compete for a miner competition and the money prize. Charles and his team-mate win the money. When they are celebrating, Jack, who had introduced them to the job is blasted to oblivion by a dynamite explosion. Charles will give the money of the price to Jack's wife and son Danny (Lance Kerwin) on his way back home, where all remaining wheat has been picked up, and the risk of hunger and starving themselves is over.