Chapter 5 starts out with Jethro's mother, Ellen, having a headache. It's a result of her body becoming dependent on caffeine from coffee. She is going through withdrawal symptoms. Jethro is sent to borrow some coffee from Nancy. Ellen drinks the coffee and feels better, but Ellen and Matt decide to send Jethro into town to buy more coffee and a few other supplies.
Jetho is very excited to be given this responsibility. He wakes up early the next morning, loads the wagon, hitches the horses, etc. He gets instructions and money from Ellen and Matt and is on his way.
While on the way, an old man asks Jethro to stop for a moment. The man knows some of Jethro's family members and asks Jethro to buy him a newspaper while in town. A bit later in the conversation, the old man asks Jethro about his brother Bill. The man wants to know whether Bill decided to fight for the north or the south in the war. Jethro tells the old man that he doesn't know and continues on to town.