Pioneer Women

Pioneer Women – I Love Lucy episode 25, originally aired 3/31/1952

Pioneer Women - Fred and Ricky

Pioneer Women begins with Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her best friend Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) in the kitchen doing dishes. They’re talking about their application to a high-society group, the Society Matron’s League. And that leads them to talking about their dishpan hands, and the thousands of dishes that they’ve washed since they’ve been married.

Pioneer Women - Lucy and Ethel

After Lucy and Ethel demand dishwashers, their husbands Ricky and Fred (Desi Arnaz and William Frawley) argue that they’re ‘too soft’ and bet the girls that they can’t ‘rough it’ like in pioneer days. The bet is on, with Ricky and Fred having to shave without electric razors, and a funny bit with Lucy making Ricky’s breakfast the old-fashioned way. The stage is set when Fred and Ricky insist that Ethel and Lucy churn butter and make their own bread instead of buying it from the store.

Things soon escalate, with Ricky riding a horse to and from work, and Lucy trying to bake old-fashioned bread gets an eight-foot loaf of bread attacking her out of her oven when she put in thirteen…  cakes of yeast instead of three … That loaf of bread is probably the reason that so many people remember this episode so visually.

That night, the surprise committee from the Society Matron’s league arrives, as everyone is dressed in old-style clothes, and Ricky gallantly tries to cover for them by explaining that they’re preparing a routine for his club. However, the society matrons have a bias against show business people. And Lucy throws them out! Ricky is so proud that he calls off the bet and pays the girls the promised $50.

Pioneer Women is a very funny episode, available on the season 1 I Love Lucy DVD collection.

I Love Lucy Quotes

Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Do you think those high society men will try to kiss our hands?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): If they do, they’ll get dish pan lips.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Ricky.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Fred.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): We’re revolting.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): No more than usual.

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): And my grandmother baked her own bread.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Baked? Like I bake a cake?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) : I hope not.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [to Ricky, who’s cut himself shaving] What will you have for breakfast – coffee? Toast? A transfusion?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Listen, your grandmothers didn’t have any of these modern electrical conveniences, and they not only washed the dishes but they swept the floor, they churned the butter, they baked the bread, they did the laundry and they made their own clothes!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Sure, where are those women today?  Dead.

Fred Mertz (William Frawley): What are you wearing that bustle for? You don’t need it.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Pay no attention to him. You leave it on.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): I’m not wearing a bustle.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [talking about the yeast] Gee, I must have hurt this some way.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): What do you mean?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): It’s all swollen.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I had to go to three or four stores before I could get enough yeast though.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Why? How much did you need?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Thirteen cakes.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Thirteen cakes! That seems like an awful lot.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Well here’s the recipe right here. [hands Ethel the book]
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Lucy.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance):  Three cakes.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Oh really. Oh well. They’re small, it won’t make much difference.

I Love Lucy Trivia

  • Desilu’s special effect department’s estimate for a replica of the 8-foot long loaf of bread was too expensive for the cost-conscious Desi Arnaz, and so he contacted a local bakery, who made an actual loaf of rye bread of the proper length.  After shooting the scene, the loaf was cut and divided among the cast and crew.
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