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  • In this adaptation of the Prodigal Son, Jamie - who is struggling to adjust to life on the Ponderosa and at his new school - damages Ben's valuable rifle. Refusing to take responsibility, he runs away.

  • Ben enrolls Jamie at the Virginia City School to get an education. Due to his previous lack of studies, 13-year-old Jamie is assigned to sit with the school's younger students, which makes him the butt of ridicule by a bully named Frank. Things become worse when Jamie fails miserably at a school spelling bee. Tired of constantly being beaten up and shown no respect, Jamie takes Ben's gold-plated rifle (which is against the rules) and shows it off to Frank. However, Frank attempts to steal the rifle and Jamie tries to run away, but in the process, the gun is dropped in a nearby lake and damaged. Jamie makes it home and tries to replace the rifle in its cabinet in such a way that nobody would notice it. Ben and Hoss don't see anything amiss, but Joe immediately spots the damage and suggests that Jamie must have taken the rifle. Ben's questioning results in a denial, so Joe tries to prod Jamie's conscience. After another tough day at school, Jamie snaps at Ben and says he damaged the rifle. Ben tries to assign extra chores as punishment, but Jamie announces he's going to run away. Ben eventually tracks Jamie down and - after going easy doesn't work - gives him a tough love speech. He then tells Jamie that, unlike his sons, he picked Jamie to live with them and invites him to come home. Eventually, Jamie (much like the Prodigal Son) does come home and learns to accept the consequences.


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