December 10th, 1994 :: episode #56

The First Christmas

The Frankels, a Jewish family including father Itzhak, mother Zara, 10-year-old son Aaron and baby Gisela, drive their wagon into town one day as townsfolk are assembled to decorate the town Christmas tree. Though Brian befriends Aaron, Itzhak and Zara are, except for Mike, Sully and the Cooper kids' extended hands, initially met only by unfriendly suspicion. Later, however, when it looks like the Jewish peddler may prove to be a commercial competitor to the General Store, Loren takes action by whipping Jake and other townsmen into a harassment campaign culminating in Ithak's peddler's cart being overturned on him in front of his family during Hanukkah.

The next day we find that some of Itzhak's ribs are broken, and, discouraged, he and Zara want to leave town, despite the fact that it's the last night of Hanukkah. Mike, however, by providing example as well as persuasion, convinces the townsfolk to help the Frankels get back on their feet and the Frankel's to give the town another chance. That Christmas Eve, the abashed townsfolk gather at the clinic, where the Frankels are staying, and offer friendship and support to the grateful family.

This episode has a cute scene where Mike and Sully are walking hand-in-hand down the street, discussing the differences between cultures. Sully tells her the same applies for Indians, how they don't cater to inter-marriages. Mike then poses the question of her being Arapaho and him being Cheyenne, and he finishes her thought saying, "We couldn't get married." He swings her into his arms, saying, "I'd have to carry you off in the night," and then they share a kiss.