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The Ballad of Little Joe

Tim Hodge


David Pitts


Robert G. Lee

Music by

Kurt Heinecke


Warner Home Video
(Mass market)
Word Entertainment
(Christian market)


August 5th, 2003


38 minutes

Previous episode

The Wonderful World
of Auto-Tainment!

Next episode

An Easter Carol

The Ballad of Little Joe is the twentieth episode of VeggieTales. It was released on August 5, 2003.

This story is a retelling of Joseph with the American Western theme.


Countertop Intro

Bob and Larry get a letter from Pete McGuinness, who is depressed because all of his buddies are in one teacher's class, but he's in a different one's class. So, Pete wonders if God loves him, why do bad things happen to him?  Bob then tells Pete that he knows of a Bible story that can help a lot, but Larry quickly stops him, telling him that he thought that they were going to do a western. Bob is confused, before Larry tells him that promised that they'd do one, right before Larry went to Cowboy Camp. Bob then tells Larry that what Pete needs is a Bible story, but Larry tells Bob that he promised, which Bob is still confused. Because of that, an argument ensues between Bob and Larry about whether to tell a bible or a western story. They eventually settled and Bob then explains that after a bit of discussion, they've decided that what Pete needs is a western bible story, which Larry is happy to hear.

The Ballad of Little Joe

Bob narrates that a long time ago, way out in the West somewhere, there lived a group of cowboy brothers on a ranch known as the Okie-Dokie corral. One of the brothers named Reuben greets the viewers with "'Allo, little doggies!" After that, the rest of the brothers were introduced, who are all named Simeon, Levi, Izzy, Zeb, Gad, Ash, Dan, Natty, and Jude. There was also Baby Ben, but "he was too little to come outside". There was also one more brother, named Little Joe (played by Larry the Cucumber). Little Joe then comes out from the ranchhouse, to which Jude says, "Look who finally decided to get up." Joe then tells his brothers to hear about the dream that he had last night, but Jude tells him to be quiet because they are working. Little Joe understands, before Bob narrates that Little Joe was a little different than his brothers, because aside from talking differently, God gave him great organizational abilities, to which Jude quips, "You should see his sock drawer."

Little Joe then asks his brothers what kind of work they're doing, Reuben answers that they must count their sheep, but every time they do, they fall asleep, which some of the brothers do. Little Joe then suggests that they put the sheep in groups of five or ten, so that it wouldn't be so boring, so that they can count the groups. Of course, Reuben and Jude think that this idea is ridiculous, before Jude turns to the other brothers and quietly tells them to put the sheep in groups of ten. Before Little Joe can tell his brothers about his dream, the breakfast bell starts ringing, courtesy of their father (played by Pa Grape), who announces to "come and get it!" The brothers then quickly rush back into the ranchhouse, leaving the sheep that are still stacked in groups of ten. At the breakfast table, the brothers are ready to chow down, when Pa comes into the room, telling the brothers that today is Little Joe's birthday. Little Joe is feeding Baby Ben, when he hears this news, before the family's servant (played by Mr. Lunt) hops into the room while carrying a birthday cake.

Soon, Pa then has the brothers sing a Westernized birthday song for Little Joe, though they do it rather reluctantly. After the song ends, Little Joe tells them that they shouldn't have, before Pa gives him a special gift, which is a vest of many colors. This makes the brothers even more sour, since the only gifts they've been receiving on their birthdays were mittens, which they've been tossing onto the old moose head hanging up over the fireplace. After blowing out the candle on the cake, Little Joe then proceeds to tell his brothers and Pa about the dream that he had last night, explaining in song that there were a dozen cacti that stood underneath the desert sky, where eleven of the cacti (which represented Little Joe's brothers) bowed before the twelfth cactus (which represented Little Joe himself). After Little Joe finishes explaining his dream, Jude angrily asks Joe if it means that he'll rule over them like a king, before Pa says that it's just a dream and that it won't really happen, before telling Joe to lay off the bratwurst before bedtime. Bob then narrates that Joe's dreams didn't make his brothers like him any better.

Later, Jude, Reuben, and the other brothers then lead Little Joe to an abandoned mine shaft, before Jude tells him that it's where they hid his birthday present. Little Joe then states that that's very creative, before Jude tells him that it's time for him to get what's coming to him. Little Joe then peers down into the mine shaft, but he doesn't see anything, before Jude tells him that he's not looking hard enough. Little Joe still doesn't see anything in the mine shaft, before his brothers suddenly push him in, which causes him to fall into the mine shaft. After picking himself up, Joe then says that a goat must have bumped him or something before asking his brothers to help him up. Jude then says, "We'd love to, but we're busy bowing down before you", before he and the other brothers start laughing. Little Joe says that it isn't funny, with Jude saying that it made him laugh, before a bandit walks up next to the brothers, with Joe asking who this mysterious person is. A rope then falls down in front of Joe, before a mysterious person tells him to tie the rope around his waist. Joe then climbs up the rope, before seeing that the ones who threw the rope down to him were a pair of bandits (played by Scallions # 2 and 3). The bandits then pull Little Joe forward before tying him up and gagging him, before throwing him onto their horse and taking him away, while Jude and the other brothers bid him happy trails.

One year later, in a town called Dodgeball City, at a place called the Rootin' Tootin' Pizza Place, a bunch of voices are heard singing about Little Joe, ever since his arrival. Inside the pizza place, Little Joe is now serving as the waiter of the restaurant, serving pizzas and root beer to all of the carrot cowboys that attend the place, while the proprietor of the restaurant, Mr. McPotiphar (played by Scooter Carrot) sings about how a year ago, his restaurant was losing money and how he thought he'd go insane, before Little Joe came along and turned the ship right. The carrot cowboys then praise Little Joe for all that he's done for the restaurant. After the song ends, Mr. McPotiphar tells Joe that it looks like a record month, before music starts playing, to which Little Joe has to serve peanuts to the customers during the dinner show. The restaurant's performer, Miss Kitty (played by Madame Blueberry), starts singing about how she's so blue, but she keeps getting interrupted several times by Little Joe serving peanuts to the customers, which causes her to storm away in a huff. Little Joe then gives Mr. McPotiphar the money that the customers had given, before telling him that the peanuts make the customers really thirsty and to serve them a lot of root beer. Mr. McPotiphar then tells Little Joe that he's a natural, before telling him that he's earned the position of Employee of the Month, which Little Joe is elated to hear.

Of course, Miss Kitty is rather bitter when she sees that she's been usurped from Employee of the Month. Because of this, she then goes to talk with Little Joe, telling him to take the money and get out of here, but Little Joe tells her "Why would I do that?", before hopping off. Miss Kitty then tells Little Joe that with the money she's trying to offer him, he can get back home, but Joe tells her that stealing is wrong, and that if he took the money, he'd be disobeying God, and that he would probably lose his status as Employee of the Month. This only angers Miss Kitty even more, just as Little Joe hops back to the counter. Miss Kitty then approaches Little Joe, telling him that since there's no hard feelings, she made some alterations to the cow head that Joe wears while working. Little Joe is happy that Miss Kitty would do something for him, but admits that he wasn't aware of his costume needing alterations, before Miss Kitty then forces the cow head onto his head, which Little Joe discovers is a little bit heavier than usual before he falls over. Miss Kitty then says that she put some extra stuffing in it, before yelling that there's a thief in the restaurant, which alerts all of the carrot cowboys in the restaurant. At that moment, Sheriff Bob (played by Bob the Tomato) shows up, asking what all the trouble is, before Miss Kitty tells him that Little Joe has been stealing from Mr. McPotiphar ever since he arrived. When Sheriff Bob is confused about this, Miss Kitty then removes the cow head from Little Joe's head, revealing a huge pile of coins, surprising everyone in the restaurant, especially Mr. McPotiphar, who then reinstates Miss Kitty as Employee of the Month. Because of that, Little Joe is then imprisoned in jail after that.

Another year has passed, and Little Joe was still in jail with two more inmates who have also been imprisoned; the Baker and the Blacksmith (played by Jimmy and Jerry Gourd). The Baker and the Blacksmith then sing about how Little Joe put more stuffing in their cots, taught them to respect themselves, and how to quilt as well. Sheriff Bob then sings that before Little Joe's arrest, his jail was bursting at the seams, but then he came along and taught them all a trade, as well as the fact that he also got a new stetson. Little Joe then sings about how Miss Kitty got him thrown into jail a year ago, even though he hadn't done a thing and that he's stuck without bail, but his belief that God is good helps overcome frustration, and that he'll keep doing what is right even in spite of incarceration. After the song ends, Sheriff Bob then tells Joe that he has the best attitude of any prisoner, to which Joe replies that God is good, wondering what he has to be down about. Sheriff Bob asks Joe that if God is good, then why is all that stuff happening to him? Joe then admits that he doesn't know that yet, but he will when it's time, and that he needs to keep doing what is right. Sheriff Bob seems to understand, before telling all three inmates that it's lights out because there's another day of quilting ahead, before he turns off the oil lamp after that.

That night, the Baker and the Blacksmith are asleep, before they are suddenly plagued by troubling dreams that cause them to wake up screaming. Outside of Dodgeball City, the screams are so loud that they cause an avalanche of dodgeballs to rain down on top of an old hobo (played by Charlie Pincher) who is attempting to roast a hot dog over the fire. The Baker and the Blacksmith then tell Little Joe about the dreams they had and want to know what they mean. Little Joe then tells them that there's good news and bad news, telling the Baker that he's going back to work, before telling the Blacksmith that he's going up the river. Seconds later, two men then enter the jailhouse after that. A bailiff (played by Archibald Asparagus) has come to tell the Baker that he's going to resume his job again, while a slave master (played by Scallion # 1) tells the Blacksmith that he'll be joining his chain gang up the river, which the Blacksmith is absolutely terrified about. After all four men have left, Sheriff Bob then asks Little Joe how he did that, Little Joe answers that he's always had this thing for dreams. After Sheriff Bob turns out the light again, Joe then asks God what's going on, saying that he tells people what their dreams mean and that they always come true. Joe then says that he's trying to do what's right, before telling God to be with Pa and most of his brothers, before adamantly adding "And Jude too."

The next morning, there is a town meeting at the town hall, but the Mayor of Dodgeball City (played by Mr. Nezzer) is sound asleep, while the bailiff is trying to tell the people that the cash reserves are down 25%, due to the fact that the bank is robbed. Outside the town hall, a bandit has robbed the bank, with Sheriff Bob trying to stop him, but he ends up getting hit with a dodgeball for his troubles. The Baker then attempts to serve pizza rolls to a couple of carrot cowboys, before the Mayor is then heard mumbling in his sleep, before he wakes up screaming as well. Just like before, the scream is loud enough to cause an avalanche of dodgeballs to fall on top of the hobo once again. Back in Dodgeball City, the Mayor then says that his dream was so horrible before asking what it means. The Baker is able to tell the Mayor that he knows someone who might be able to help. Soon, Little Joe has been brought before the Mayor, who then says that the Baker tells him that he can interpret dreams. Little Joe says that he can't, which shocks the Mayor, just as the Baker hides behind Sheriff Bob, before Little Joe says that he can't interpret dreams but God can. The Mayor then says that he better, or else he'll put Joe back in jail and that he'll never get out.

Soon, the Mayor then tells in song about a dream that he had about seven fat cows that stood on a hill, before seven skinny cows came along and ate the fat cows. After that, the Mayor then says that he had a dream where he was standing in his underwear, wondering what that means, before he notices that he's standing in his underwear before he hides. When the Mayor tells Joe to interpret the dream, Joe explains that the seven fat cows means that there will be seven years of plenty of food for everyone and that the seven skinny cows mean that there will be seven years of famine following after that. The Mayor then asks what they'll do, before Joe answers that during the seven good years, they should store up plenty of food to give back to the people during the seven bad years. Little Joe then says that they'll need someone with great organizational abilities, before the Mayor asks the bailiff what the state of his sock drawer was, to which the bailiff answers that it's disorganized, before the Mayor tells Joe that he's in charge, which Joe is confused about, the Mayor then asks Joe what he's doing standing around and that he has a city to save. Everyone then starts cheering for Joe after that.

Soon, Joe has been made in charge of storing food during the seven good years, as well as having been given some spiffy Western duds. Soon, the people then start singing for Joe after that, just as everyone is hard at work, storing as much food as they can into a silo to be saved for when the seven bad years come. Once a lot of the food had been stored, Sheriff Bob then tells Joe that they're ready for anything, which Joe says that he hopes that they are. Soon, a sandstorm then blows up as everyone in Dodgeball City runs for shelter, just as the sandstorm then quiets down after that, with Mr. McPotiphar saying that nothing will grow in that soil for years. The Mayor then congratulates Little Joe for saving the town, which Joe feels rather downhearted about, hoping that his family is alright. Back at the Okie-Dokie Corral, the drought has also affected the ranch of Joe's family, with his brothers saying "We are doomed!" Joe's younger brother Benjamin (played by Junior Asparagus) tries to assure his brothers that everything will be just fine, but the brothers still repeat the same statement after that.

Back in Dodgeball City, a lot of townspeople have come to Little Joe in order to acquire some food from the silo, so that they can get by during the drought. However, Little Joe then looks ahead to see his brothers start to approach Dodgeball City, before he quickly disguises himself and his voice so that they won't recognize him. Little Joe then approaches his brothers, greeting them and telling them that he runs the town, before asking them what he can do for them. Jude answers that he and his brothers heard that he has some food stored up so they were wondering if they could buy some from him. When Little Joe asks how many there are in their family, Jude also answers that there's just the eleven of them, because one of their brothers "got ate up in a wild gopher accident", and that they've regretted every day since then, with Benjamin saying that he was his closest brother and that he barely remembered him. Little Joe then asks them where their pa is, before Jude answers that Pa could not make the trip, with Reuben adding that his heart is broken. Little Joe then tells them to see the Sheriff, before he hops off after that. Little Joe then tells Sheriff Bob to give them what they need and not to let them go until he says so, before Sheriff Bob asks him if he's okay. Little Joe answers that he's fine but tells Sheriff Bob not to use his name around them, which Sheriff Bob is confused about but complies with. Once Jude, Reuben, and the others have collected enough food that they need, Little Joe is curious to know if his brothers have changed, so he decides to do a test, as he winks at Sheriff Bob, who then winks back after that, before Sheriff Bob then whispers to a carrot cowboy after that. Little Joe then approaches his brothers, asking them if they're ready to go, which Jude answers with "I reckon so. Your men gave us everything we need." When Jude explains that they tried to pay but were unable to, Little Joe nonchalantly wonders why they wouldn't take money "from a bunch of lowdown dirty thieves", which surprises the brothers, with Jude retorting back that they are not thieves, and that they came to buy some food. Little Joe then picks up a pizza that Benjamin is holding, opens up the box, and says, "Them ain't pepperonis, partners!" Little Joe then throws the pizza back down, revealing that there are a bunch of quarters on the pizza.

As a result, Benjamin is arrested, thanks to Sheriff Bob, with Jude protesting that there's been a mistake, to which Little Joe retorts back with, "You bet there's been a mistake! Your brother tried to steal from me, and we don't take kindly to stealing around these here parts!" Jude then tells Joe to keep him prisoner and to let Benjamin go free, as he enters the jail cell with Benjamin, before the other brothers also enter the jail cell as well with Jude and Benjamin, as Sheriff Bob tells them to get out of there, before telling Little Joe that they've got a problem, realizing that he inadvertently used Joe's name in front of Jude and the others. Joe then asks his brothers if they are willing to sacrifice themselves for Benjamin, to which they answer that they are, before Joe then removes his disguise, revealing his true identity in front of his brothers. Jude, Reuben, and the others are surprised to see that Little Joe is still alive and well, before Little Joe also enters the jail cell with them. Jude then tells Joe that he and the others are sorry for what they did to him, telling him to punish him but to let his brothers go. Joe then tells Jude that what he did was wrong, but what he intended for harm, God used for good, to save them and to save everyone. Jude and the others are surprised that Joe forgives them for what they did to him, before they start cheering happily. However, Pa then enters the jail cell, telling his sons that they forgot their mittens, before he becomes surprised when he sees Little Joe, before he also happily reunites with Little Joe once again as well. Once the entire family has been reunited, everyone starts cheering happily, the cheers being so loud that they cause an avalanche of dodgeballs to fall on the two bandits that have tied up the hobo, sparing the hobo's roast hot dog.



Fun Facts


  • Bratwurst is a sausage made of either beef or pork. It's similar to a hotdog, but bigger.
  • "Flav, Gerk, Flav!" is Danish for "Fly, pickle, fly!".


  • The script was finalized on September 5th, 2002, nearly a year before this episode was released.
  • This is the second episode in which Bob and Larry argue. The first was in the previous episode which is The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!.
  • This was the first episode for several things:
    • The first episode where a different variation of the "What Have We Learned" song was used. (Unless one counts the versions sung by Larry, Jimmy and Jerry.)
    • The first appearance of Boyz in the Sink.
    • The first episode to use the revamped audio for the theme song.
    • The first episode to use the 2001-2003 logo, and not the logo and intro from 1998 to 2000, just like the original logo and intro from 1993 to 1997.
    • However, just like the original said in the 1998-2000 logo, a prototype VHS cover for the episode as sketched by Joe Spadaford shows the 1993 logo.
    • This is the first episode Robert G. Lee wrote.
  • This was the last episode for several things:
    • The last episode with the countertop segments, and the Silly Song, animated at Big Idea.
    • The last episode Mike Sage voiced Scallion 3.
    • The last speaking appearance of Mr. Lunt to be done at Big Idea.
    • The last episode Daniel López Muñoz worked on.
    • The last episode to use the VeggieTales intro from 2001-2003.
    • The last half-hour episode.
  • There were a few differences between the pre-production and the final version.
    • The script made a reference from both King George and the Ducky and Lyle the Kindly Viking, which both Bob and Larry stated no one else will take over from those stressful events and promised there'll be no conflicts.
    • After Little Joe wakes up, he asks his brothers why they speak French, and replied back that they had different mothers.
    • Extra dialogue between Joe, Jude, and Reuben before Pa tells everyone to come for breakfast was cut.
    • After Little Joe was taken away by the desperadoes, Jude and the other brothers shredded the color coat and told Pa that he got into gopher accident. This results Pa crying.
    • The concept art shows Penelope, although she never appear in the episode.
    • It also showed Miss Kitty wore the cow hat.
    • There was a scene where two other characters (the Banker and possibly Penelope) try to interpret the Mayor's dream, but ultimately have nothing and they fell through a trapdoor. Tim Hodge stated this was cut due to time. That scene is later storyboarded as an Easter Egg for the Trivia Questions.
    • Little Joe shaves his mustache instead of pulling it off.
    • Tim stated in the commentary they thought on using a train, but it never came through. Brian Roberts suggested the same thing for the episode sequel.
    • According to Tim Hodge, he and the crew were debating if the story should be about perseverance or faith. They went for the latter, and used the perseverance lesson for a later episode.
    • Boyz in the Sink and their debut single "Belly Button" were originally going to debut in A Snoodle's Tale, due to the fact that it fits the lesson of having nothing to hide, but for some reason, the song was pushed forward into this episode.
      • If Belly Button had made its way to A Snoodle's Tale, the Silly Song that would've debuted in this episode would most probably have been Sport Utility Vehicle.
  • The map showing Lango Lake is a reference to animator Keith Lango
  • The wanted posters in the jail bulletin board are references to David Pitts, Joseph Sapulich, Chuck Vollmer, Tim Lannon, and Michael Spooner. On a similar note, the Honcho Villa Poster from The Legend of Galaxy Gus is shown as well as the Wanted Poster from The Star of Christmas.
  • The TBN brodcast version edits a few things (for time compressing):
    • The intro scene of Dodge Ball City was cut, and immediately went to the song.
    • The silly song was cut. As such, the "One Year Later" card was added in between where the Silly Song was normally in.
    • The story fades out at the ending, before the avalanche of dodgeballs happening.
  • The way international versions dub Bob and Larry's argument over a Western or a Bible story is not always the same between every dub.
    • The Brazilian, Latin Spanish, and German dubs are the only international dubs that actually translate the argument, although the Brazilian dub adds an announcer over it.
    • The Croatian dub simply has an announcer translate the "technical difficulties" text; the only thing heard after that is the music.
    • The Slovenian dub uses whispering sounds as an excuse for not translating the dialogue.
  • This episode's lesson was originally meant to be "Cowpunchin'," as seen on three prototype covers. Later, this was changed to "Trusting God," before finally getting changed to "Facing Hardship."


  • Little Joe's brothers didn't recognize him when Sheriff Bob said his name.
  • The storage tower vanished during the final scenes of the story.
  • The back of the DVD and features menu states there was a how-to-draw on McPotiphar.
  • In the original Bible story, the Pharaoh's servant was freed and the baker was cursed. However, for some unknown reason, it's the other way around in this version.


  • There are a few instances where the characters' pupils clip through their eyelids. These include:
    • Baker when he screams with Blacksmith.
    • Little Joe when his eyes are in close-up.
  • The tumbleweeds are shown flying in one shot.
  • One shadow suddenly disappears.
  • As you'll noticed in some shots, you can see some buzzing in the textures.
  • Jude's eyes are stretched when he passes the other brothers.
  • When Miss Kitty shouts "Thief!", Little Joe's Employee of the month can be seen on the wall, and then vanishes in the next shot. It reappears in the following shot.
  • Sheriff Bob's eyes are detached from his nose in one shot.
  • There's an inconsistent background shot when the mayor says "Come on, start interpreting."
  • One shadow renders too late.
  • When Scallion #2 is running from Sheriff Bob, he has Scallion #3's laugh.
  • When Sheriff Bob says "Hey!", his eyes clip through his eyelids.
  • When Jude says "That's been a mistake", Sheriff Bob loses his mouth.
  • One shot shows Little Joe's vest clips through his body.
  • Blacksmith in one shot is shown with no mouth.
  • The shadows are missing after the other brothers are going to the jail cell.
  • In the first version of the original 2003 VHS release, during the end credits, when you switch the VHS audio settings to MONO, the amplification of the acoustic instrument in the reprise for Oh Little Joe III (Instrumental) are lower in volume. This was corrected in later re-issues of the episode.
  • The back of the video incorrectly states that Little Joe had eleven older French Pea brothers.
  • In the Croatian dub, the voice actors do not have a specific pronunciation for Jude's name. While Bob and other deep voiced characters pronounce his name as "Džud" (which is the correct pronunciation), high voiced characters pronounce it letter by letter (for Croatian speakers to correctly pronounce his name, the "j" is supposed to make a "dž" sound, and the "e" is supposed to be silent).

Inside References

Real World References

  • The episode's title is based after 1993's "The Ballad of Little Jo", which came out ten years before.
  • The map burning is a reference to the intro of NBC's Bonanza.
  • When the French Peas called out "Hey Jude!" is a reference to the Beatles song with the same name.
  • When Little Joe is taken by bandits, he says, "Desperadoes! You'd better come to your senses!" This is a reference to the Eagles song Desperado, which contains similar lyrics.

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Episode Transcript



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