To Kill a Ladybird is the sixty-ninth episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on December 12, 1999. The episode was written by Norm Hiscock, and directed by Wes Archer. The title is a play on the Harper Lee novel "To Kill A Mockingbird".
While taking out the trash, Bobby spots a raccoon rooting through the trash. He gives the raccoon food and dubs it "Bandit". Bobby begins feeding scraps and sheltering in a screened-in hole of the house. One day, Hank enters the garage and discovers tools and paint scattered on the floor with Bandit on top of the workbench. Enraged, Hank prepares to kill Bandit, but he escapes. As Hank talks about his encounter at dinner, Bobby admits to taking care of Bandit. Hank tells Bobby to give up his "pet", but Bobby berates Ladybird, calling her old and useless, much to Hank's dismay. Bobby feels like Bandit is more of a pet to him than Ladybird, who is elderly and will only listen to Hank.
The next day, Hank talks about the incident with the guys until Dale claims he could easily "get rid of" Bandit. As Dale prepares to hunt down Bandit, Bobby overhears and grows concerned that Dale will kill Bandit. Bandit is tracked to the hole in the house and as Dale enters, he tells Hank to prevent Bandit from escaping by covering up the hole with Dale inside (which is incredibly dangerous). Dale makes Hank promise that no matter how bad it gets, or how much Dale begs, Hank is to not open the screen. Hank seals off the entrance and mere seconds later, Dale is attacked and pleads Hank to let him out. Hank obliges, and Bandit escapes, preparing to attack until Ladybird gets in the way and the two fight. Ladybird's collar is ripped off and she chases Bandit down the street in front of a mortified Hank.
As Hank grows fretful of Ladybird, Bobby mourns for Bandit. Hank tells Bobby it was Bandit's fault, but he refuses to listen. Hank and Dale go to the shelter to ask about Ladybird, but the manager claims that Ladybird may not be found. He also warns them of rabies and how it could spread to humans. Dale foolishly does not tell about his wounds. After Nancy tells him the symptoms (which Dale suddenly obtains after Nancy lists them) and the treatment- which is several painful shots, Dale begins to believe he has rabies because of him believing he has the symptoms and he is horrified of getting shots. Crazed, Dale hops the fence and dashes into the woods. After a meeting and a break-in by Dale, Hank, Bobby and the guys go to hunt down Dale. Hank is also growing upset that he might have to shoot Ladybird since Dale seems to be rabid, which means Ladybird is most likely rabid. He feels that he must be the one to put Ladybird down, rather than Animal Control doing it.
In the woods, Hank and Bobby discover a path of dead, stick-impaled animals and are attacked by Dale. It is shown Dale has been in eating what appears to be magic mushrooms, adding to his paranoia. He also plans to kill Hank and swap his clean blood with his. As Bill and Boomhauer are too busy swimming to help, Hank pretends to go along with the plan by using the knife to cut the ropes, but is found out by Dale. Suddenly, Ladybird appears and Bobby and Hank break loose. Ladybird starts to growl and approaches Hank. Bobby grabs the gun and prepares to shoot Ladybird to Dale's urging. He appears to shoot, but misses Ladybird, much to Hank's joy- as Ladybird is not rabid and kisses Hank, showing she is still herself. Bobby sadly claims he didn't miss, his true target was Bandit, who looked like he was going to attack Hank. Dale prepares to fly away off a tree, but expectedly falls to the ground. At a makeshift funeral for Bandit, Hank tells his son that Bandit did not have rabies. Bobby asks to say a few words to Bandit, which turn out to be raccoon-sounding chitters. As the father, son, and dog make their way to the truck, Hank tells Bobby that when Ladybird does die, he could choose the next pet. Bobby recommends exotic pets such as a possum, or an ostrich, much to Hank's displeasure. Hank tells Bobby that he has been thinking of a more traditional pet, like another dog. Bobby suggests a poodle, and Hank immediately says no.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Nancy Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- John Redcorn
Dale Gribble: "So long, suckers!"
- The episode title is a parody of the novel and film To Kill a Mockingbird.
- When Dale goes in the crawlspace to get Bandit, you can hear the sound of a scrab of a creature from the Oddworld series.
- This episode's story is also a parody of the 1957 film Old Yeller
- Dale states that he is a bounty hunter. This was revealed in the episode "Pregnant Paws" in which Dale became a bounty hunter after passing a course.