Purified La Crosse virions in vitro were found to transcribe their negative polarity (-)RNA genomes. This polymerase activity was stimulated by oligonucleotides such as (A)nG, cap analogs such as m7GpppAm, and natural mRNAs such as alfalfa mosaic virus RNA 4. For (A)nG- and alfalfa mosaic virus RNA 4-stimulated reactions, evidence is presented that these RNAs stimulate activity by acting as primers for viral transcription. The cap analogs appear to stimulate activity via an alternative mechanism. Purified La Crosse virions were also found to contain an endonuclease which specifically cleaves alfalfa mosaic virus RNA 4 when this RNA contains a methylated cap group.