Television Series

Lassie (1954)

Episode 01x01 - Inheritance

Original Air Date: September 12th, 1954

Ellen calls Jeff and tells him that they're late. He doesn't want to wear a tie because it chokes him, but Ellen insists.

Jeff and Ellen arrive at the Carey home and enter as Caleb Brown is reading Homer Carey's will. Ellen apologizes for being late. Caleb tells here that they just got through the legal rigmarole. Caleb introduces everyone:

Matt Willis - Homer Carey's hired hand

Mr. and Mrs. Finch - Homer's cousins from Leesburg

Mr. and Mrs. Emmitt Carey - Homer's nephew, his wife, and their son Edgar Carey

Caleb continues to read the will:

Firstly I appoint Caleb C. Brown as my sole executor and charge him to administer my estate and execute whatever bequests are made herein. To my hired man Matt Willis I leave the sum of $50, although he has probably stolen ten times that much. To my neighbor Ellen Miller I leave all the furnishings in my house. To young Jeff Miller I leave the best thing I've got ... my dog Lassie.

There's a pause in the reading of the will. Jeff is shocked that Lassie was left to him. He goes over and hugs Lassie, partially laying on top of her. Caleb tells Jeff he can take Lassie outside. Jeff tries, but Lassie refuses to move. Matt says she's been like that since the old man died, and offers to take her out. He carries Lassie outside as Jeff pleads with him not to hurt her.

Outside Lassie wants nothing to do with Jeff, which Jeff can't understand. He tries to get Lassie to fetch a stick, and she ignores him. Edgar Carey comes out and starts putting Lassie down. He dares Jeff to make Lassie do a trick. When she ignores Jeff again Edgar calls her a dopey dog and he and Jeff get into a fight. Their parents come out and break them up. Lassie ran back inside as soon as the door was opened. Matt goes back in to get Lassie. As he ties a rope around her neck Emmett Carey is talking to Caleb Brown. When Emmett visited his uncle in April his uncle mentioned that he had better than $2,000 in cash. Caleb tells Emmett that they only found $197. Matt brings Lassie out and the Millers head for home.

When the Millers get home Jeff excitedly tells Gramps about getting Lassie. When he opens the car door to let her out she runs down the driveway. Jeff calls after her. She stops at the end of the driveway and looks back at them a couple of times, then takes off down the road. Jeff wants to go after her. Gramps tells him, "Look boy, there's one thing you got to understand. The Lord made animals free, just like human beings. And you can't force 'em to love 'ya. They got to do the decidin'." Then, Gramps and Jeff go after Lassie.

They find Lassie back at the Carey home, lying on the hearth. When Jeff goes to Lassie she growls at him. Then Matt Willis shows up. He tells the miller that he's about to lock up the place and lave and that if Lassie comes back again that she'll starve. He suggests that they tie her up in their barn. Jeff protests saying that the barn gets too cold at night. Matt starts to lead Lassie outside by the rope that's still around her neck. As Lassie snarls and growls at him Matt starts to get rough with her. Gramps quickly takes the rope from Matt and leads Lassie out.

The next scene opens with Jeff in bed. He wakes up and reaches down beside the bed to discover Lassie is no longer there. He looks out the window and sees her heading down the driveway. There appears to be a temporal anomaly in this scene. It's nighttime in Jeff's room. But, when he looks out the window and sees Lassie heading down the driveway, it appears to be daytime outside. I suspect they reused the footage of Lassie heading down the driveway from earlier in the episode.

When Lassie arrives at the Carey home, it's night again. She arrives just in time to chase off Matt Willis, who is prowling around with a flashlight. She once again settles down on the hearth.

The next morning Jeff sneaks out of the house, but accidentally lets the screen door slam. On his way to the Carey house he's spotted by Mr. Peeves, the postman, who gives him a lift. He drops Jeff of at the Carey home and says he'll be back in about fifteen minutes to pick him up.

Jeff brought some water and lamb chops to Lassie. As she eats Jeff sits on the hearth and leans on a lose brick. Under the brick he finds Homer Carey's hidden money. Matt Willis enters and takes the money from Jeff. Lassie attacks him, but he shoves her and gets away, locking them in the living room. Why would a living room have a door that locks from the outside? Jeff yells for help and Lassie jumps through a window as Mr. Peeves arrives. Lassie chases Matt. Jeff climbs out the window Lassie broke. He tells Mr. Peeves that Lassie is after the hired man who stole Mr. Carey's money, and they rush to help Lassie. Lassie tackles Matt Willis and starts fighting him. He pick Lassie up and throws her over a bush, just as help arrives. Matt gets into a small boat at a nearby lake and is putting the oars in place as Lassie arrives. With a flying leap Lassie knocks Matt into the lake. As they fight Matt tries to drown Lassie. Mr. Peeves rushes to assist Lassie. Seeing him coming Matt lets Lassie go and head for shore. Lassie head to Jeff on shore. Mr. Peeves meets Matt as he gets to shore. Matt takes a swing at Mr. Peeves with a large branch. Mr. Peeves ducks, then knocks Matt cold with a single punch, and recovers the stolen money.

The next scene opens in the Miller kitchen with Gramps saying, "I can't get over that boy waking up at the crack of dawn to feed that dog, and bring back $2,000 with him." Jeff calls Gramps and Ellen outside to show them the tricks Lassie is now willing to do for him. Jeff has Lassie sit, lie down, roll on her site, put her head down, and play a dead dog. He then throws a stick for her to fetch. She runs and picks it up, looks back at the Millers, then starts to head down the road. She looks back and forth to the Millers and down the road a couple of times, then runs back to the Millers with the stick Jeff threw. Jeff asks Gramps if Lassie is his dog now. Gramps replies, "Yes, boy, she's all yours now. She's done her decidin'."

Note: In a couple of scenes in this episode, and a few scenes of the other pilot episode The Well, there's a window to the left of the back door that's not there in other episodes.

Cast

Tommy Rettig as Jeff Miller

Jan Clayton as Ellen Miller

George Cleveland as George 'Gramps' Miller

Pal as Lassie

Lee Erickson as Caleb Brown

Jim Hayward as Mr. Peeves

Myron Healey as Matt Willis

Crew

Directed by Leslie Goodwins

Associate Producer - Rudy E. Abel

Original Screenplay by Claire Kennedy

Photographed by Harold Stine, A.S.C.

Edited by Otho Lovering, A.C.E.

Assistant Director - James Casey

Musical Supervision - Raoul Kraushaar

Produced by Robert Maxwell

Video Releases

Front Cover Lassie - 50th Anniversary TV Collection (DVD)
Front Cover Lassie 50th Anniversary Collectors Series: The Inheritance / Lassie's Pups / The Lion (VHS)
Front Cover Lassie: Best of Jeff's Collie (DVD)
Front Cover The Lassie Collection: Inheritance / Lassie's Pups (VHS)
Front Cover TV Favorites: The Lassie Collection - Volume 1 (DVD)