List of Little House on the Prairie episodes

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The following is a list of episodes for the television show Little House on the Prairie, an American Western drama about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show is an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's series of Little House books.

The regular series was preceded by the two-hour pilot movie, which first aired on March 30, 1974. The series began on the NBC network on September 11, 1974, and ended on May 10, 1982.

The majority of the episodes run approximately 50 minutes (not counting commercials, they have since been edited for syndication to accommodate more commercial time). Expanded episodes (90 minutes to two hours) have been indicated as such; many of these may not currently be shown in determined areas due to their length.

Pilot movie[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
Pilot Special #1 Little House on the Prairie Michael Landon Blanche Hanalis & Jack Hanrahan March 30, 1974 n/a

Charles and Caroline Ingalls move with their three young daughters, Mary, Laura, and Carrie from the big woods of Wisconsin to the open prairies of Kansas. Their closest neighbor, Isaiah Edwards, helps them settle on the prairie as they encounter fierce storms, destructive fires, and hostile Native American tribes. Ultimately, the government forces the family off the land in Kansas.


Note: The events in this pilot are based on the true story recorded by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her Little House series of books. The dramatic portrayals by the actors in the dynamics between Charles and Caroline are romanticized and modernized, but the personalities of Laura and Mary are exactly as they were in life, and the line where Mary wanted to save her peppermint candy (brought to her from Santa Claus by Mr. Edwards) while Laura bit into hers right away was directly from Wilder's writing.

Season 1 (1974–1975)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
1 1 "A Harvest of Friends" Michael Landon Teleplay by John Hawkins & William Putman
Story by John Hawkins
September 11, 1974 1002
The Ingalls family move to the banks of Plum Creek, near Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and Charles works at Hanson's mill for the lumber to build the 'Little House'. Then, needing a plough and wheat seed to make a crop, he has a disappointing first encounter with the Olesons, and makes a tough deal with the feed and seed merchant, O'Neil. Despite the long hours of arduous work on top of his own farm work, Charles copes until a family picnic leads to a serious setback. When O'Neil wants to strictly enforce the terms of their deal, threatening the Ingalls' prospects, the businessmen of Walnut Grove, who have seen Charles' willingness to work, come to his aid. At the end, Laura reminisces about her father claiming to have reaped a harvest he did not expect: a harvest of friends.
2 2 "Country Girls" William F. Claxton Juanita Bartlett September 18, 1974 1001

Mary and Laura begin school at Walnut Grove and meet their schoolmistress, Miss Beadle (Charlotte Stewart). While Caroline has to learn how to deal with Harriet Oleson (Katherine MacGregor), the rich part-owner of Oleson's Mercantile, Laura learns how to deal with the Olesons' daughter, Nellie (Alison Arngrim). Then Laura encounters an even greater problem, when all the children have to write an essay for Parents' Day, but when the day comes, she creatively rises to the occasion.


Note: There is a similar story in "On the Banks of Plum Creek". In fact, neither version is exactly true to life, as Mary and Laura began going to the Barry Corner School before they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin for Minnesota in 1874.
3 3 "100 Mile Walk" William F. Claxton Ward Hawkins September 25, 1974 1003

Anticipating a bumper return from his wheat crop, Charles is devastated when a hail-storm flattens all the crops in the area. So he has to travel away from home to find work and make some money, and meets up with Jack (Don Knight) and Jacob. Jack has a job as a powder monkey in a quarry, and enables Charles and Jacob to get work there too, where the hard and dangerous work is well paid. Meanwhile, with the men away, Caroline organizes the local wives and children to salvage what they can of the wheat, using only their manual labour.


Note: This is a reference to the 100-mile walk in the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek". In the books, however, it was locusts that ruined a crop and it led to them moving on, unlike the television series where the Ingalls and the Wilder families stay in Walnut Grove through most of the series.
4 4 "Mr. Edwards' Homecoming" Michael Landon Joel Murcott October 2, 1974 1004

While in Mankato, Charles encounters a drunken Mr. Edwards in the midst of a bar fight and takes him back to Walnut Grove. To encourage him to stay, Charles gets him a job at Hanson's Mill, while Caroline quietly sets him up with widow Grace Snider (Bonnie Bartlett). Their relationship appears to be blooming, until they have a serious difference of opinion.


Note: This is the first appearance of Bonnie Bartlett as Grace Snider.
5 5 "The Love of Johnny Johnson" William F. Claxton Gerry Day October 9, 1974 1005

Laura has a crush on a new boy in school named Johnny Johnson (Mitch Vogel) but Johnny only wants to be her friend, while he is attracted to Mary who has no interest in him. Laura's jealousy leads to her accusing Mary of deliberately encouraging Johnny and they fall out. Caroline and Charles both have quiet talks with Laura to restore harmony in the family.


Note: In "On the Banks of Plum Creek," Johnny Johnson is the name of the Norwegian, barefoot cattle-herder who works near their first home in Plum Creek.
6 6 "If I Should Wake Before I Die" Victor French Harold Swanton October 23, 1974 1006
After the death of her dear friend, Miss Amy (Josephine Hutchinson) feels lonely for her family who never visit her. At the funeral, Laura declares that it is not fair for loved ones to ignore a birthday but show up for a funeral, so Miss Amy decides to have her funeral wake before she dies, and she enlists the help of Doctor Hiram Baker (Kevin Hagen) and Charles and Caroline.
7 7 "Town Party, Country Party" Alf Kjellin Juanita Bartlett October 30, 1974 1007

At a party at Nellie Oleson's, Nellie pushes Laura and hurts her ankle. This leads to Laura becoming friends with Olga (Kim Richards), a friendly girl with a birth defect causing one leg to be shorter than the other. Charles has an idea for a way to help Olga, despite her embittered father's lack of support. Then, when the Ingalls girls have their own party, Laura exacts her revenge on Nellie.


Note: In "On the Banks of Plum Creek", a chapter by the same name has a similar story.
8 8 "Ma's Holiday" Leo Penn Dale Eunson November 6, 1974 1010
Charles decides to surprise Caroline with a romantic holiday in Mankato for just the two of them. When Grace Snider falls ill, Laura and Mary persuade Mr. Edwards to stay and look after the girls, but he discovers that they, and especially Carrie, can sometimes be hard work. Meanwhile, despite Charles' best efforts, Caroline cannot stop thinking about the children.
9 9 "School Mom" William F. Claxton Teleplay by Ward Hawkins
Story by Jean Rouverol
November 13, 1974 1011
When Miss Beadle is injured and ordered to rest by Doc Baker, Caroline is invited by the school board to take over as substitute teacher of the Walnut Grove School. One of the older students, Abel McKay (Dirk Blocker), is teased by the other children because he is still illiterate, and when Caroline's attempts to help him are undermined by Mrs. Oleson's meddling, he runs out. Caroline then also leaves and vows not to return to the school until she can convince Abel to try again.
10 10 "The Raccoon" William F. Claxton Joseph Bonaduce November 20, 1974 1013
Mary finds an orphaned baby raccoon and takes it home, where Laura takes to it. Initially against it, Charles is persuaded by the girls and Caroline to let them keep it and Laura names him Jasper. However, its wild instincts surface and Jasper bites Laura and Jack, and runs away. The girls keep it a secret, but when Charles has to deal with a racoon raiding the chickens and everyone assumes that it was Jasper, it gives rise to a frightening possibility for Laura and Jack. The family are overjoyed when Jasper later returns.
11 11 "The Voice of Tinker Jones" Leo Penn Tony Kayden & Michael Russnow December 4, 1974 1012

When Reverend Alden (Dabbs Greer) asks for donations for a bell for the church building, Mrs. Oleson announces that she and her husband will donate a large bell, along with a plaque with their names on. This divides opinions in the town, with strong feelings on both sides, causing Reverend Alden to feel he is to blame and so he decides he should leave. The situation is saved by a popular mute coppersmith, 'Tinker' Jones (Chuck McCann), who enlists the help of the local children in making their own bell.


Note: Sean Penn appears as an extra (his father, Leo Penn, directed the episode).
12 12 "The Award" William F. Claxton Michael Landon December 11, 1974 1014

While Charles and Mr. Edwards are away for three weeks on a delivery trip for Mr. Hanson, Mary is enthralled by the prize to be awarded for the best score in an extra-credit examination, a Webster's Dictionary. However, her late-night studying causes a fire in the barn, resulting in Caroline forbidding her to take the examination, but Mary decides to take the test anyway. When Caroline finds out the truth, she prepares for a showdown with Mary, but there is another surprise in the offing for her, and mother and daughter are reconciled.


Note: Michael Landon does not appear in this episode.
13/14 13/14 "The Lord is My Shepherd" Michael Landon Michael Landon December 18, 1974 1008/1009

The Ingalls family is delighted by the birth of a baby boy, Charles Frederick Ingalls, but Laura becomes jealous about the attention he receives from Charles and refuses to pray for her new brother's good health. When the baby dies soon afterwards, Laura is crushed with guilt, and Reverend Alden advises that she needs to get closer to God. So Laura runs away from home and climbs a mountain, where she prays to God that she should take the place in Heaven of her baby brother so that the baby may come back to life. As Charles and Mr. Edwards search for Laura, she is looked after by a heaven-sent stranger (Ernest Borgnine) who helps her realize how much she really means to her father.


Note: Originally aired as a 93-minute episode (excluding commercials), in syndication, it is shown in two parts.
15 15 "Christmas at Plum Creek" William F. Claxton Arthur Heinemann December 25, 1974 1015

When Christmas comes around, all the Ingalls are caught up in the secrecy and excitement. Charles and Mary take jobs to obtain gifts for their loved ones, but Laura cannot think of what to give or how to raise money, until she realizes she has something of value in her horse, Bunny, which Nels Oleson (Richard Bull) wants to buy for Nellie. Christmas Day brings some surprises, and Carrie learns the meaning of Christmas.


Note: This is the first episode involving the horse named Bunny, which will figure in a story arc in season three.
16 16 "Family Quarrel" William F. Claxton Ward Hawkins January 8, 1975 1016
Nels and Harriet Oleson both go a bit too far in what they say during one of their squabbles, and they decide to separate, with Harriet taking the children back east. The Ingalls and other townspeople make various attempts to get them to settle their differences.
17 17 "Doctor's Lady" Lewis Allen Teleplay by: Arthur Heinemann
Story by: Arthur Heinemann and Ann Beckett
January 15, 1975 1017
When Harriet Oleson's niece, Kate (Anne Archer), comes to visit, she and Doc Baker fall in love, but Kate has to give him lots of encouragement to court her. Influenced by the opinions of townspeople, Doc gives a lot of thought to the age difference between them, and wavers between his love for Kate and his concern for what is best for her. When Kate accompanies him on a visit to deliver a baby to a woman whose own birth he had attended, it brings their situation into sharp focus for both of them and leads to the Doc making a difficult decision.
18 18 "Plague" William F. Claxton Teleplay by: Michael Landon
Story by: William Keys and Michael Landon
January 29, 1975 1018

A typhus outbreak hits the Walnut Grove area, so Doc Baker advises everyone to stay in isolation in their homes. While out hunting, Charles finds some more victims, so, having been exposed, he joins Doc Baker and Reverend Alden, quarantined in the church, which is set up as a makeshift hospital. Later, Charles is devastated to see his dear friend Mr. Edwards sick with the typhus, but something Edwards says helps Charles and the Doc find the source of the disease.


Note: Leslie Landon, Michael Landon's daughter, makes her first appearance of the series, playing a typhus victim. [She also appears in season three's "The Election", as a school girl, season six's "The Third Miracle", playing the other woman in the stagecoach, season eight's "A Wiser Heart", as a dishwasher, and in season nine ("A New Beginning"), she joins the cast as schoolteacher Miss Etta Plum.]
19 19 "Circus Man" Victor French Teleplay by: Ward Hawkins
Story by: Preston Wood and Ward Hawkins
February 5, 1975 1019
A travelling circus man, O'Hara (Red Buttons), with the gift of blarney and sleight of hand skills, persuades Charles to allow him to stay at the farm, where he charms Laura and Mary with his tricks and his animals. But when some of the townspeople prefer his 'miracle powders' to Doc Baker's medical treatment, the Doc gets Charles to send O'Hara on his way. Then their dog, Jack, is injured, and Laura is convinced that only O'Hara can heal him, so Charles fetches him back to tell Laura the truth.
20 20 "Child of Pain" Victor French John Meston February 12, 1975 1020
Miss Beadle and Doc Baker discover that a boy in school gets beatings from his alcoholic father (Harris Yulin), but only when Charles angrily confronts him does the father admit he has a problem and ask for help. The boy stays with the Ingalls family, while Charles undertakes to help rehabilitate his father and break him from his dangerous habit.
21 21 "Money Crop" Leo Penn Teleplay by: Ward Hawkins
Story by: John Meston
February 19, 1975 1021
A university-educated farmer named Joseph Coulter (Alan Fudge) convinces the farmers to buy new hybrid corn. During his return trip with the crop, Coulter's horses bolt, which caused his wagon to veer down a steep hill, trapping the farmer beneath and exposing the precious seed to hungry crows. The residents of Walnut Grove fear that they may have been cheated and take their frustrations out on his wife with harsh accusations, causing her to become sick, almost losing her unborn baby. Charles is convinced something is wrong and hurries to look for him. Later, when Joseph and his family prepare to leave, he sees the men arriving with plows, apparently making up for their misjudgment.
22 22 "Survival" William F. Claxton Teleplay by: John Hawkins
Story by: John Hawkins & Preston Wood
February 26, 1975 1022
While returning from a family trip, the Ingalls receive a twofold warning from a Federal Marshal (Jack Ging): a blizzard is coming, and a dangerous Indian fugitive is on the loose. He says that the Indian's crime was being born an Indian. When they are caught in the blizzard, the family take shelter in an abandoned cabin. Charles nearly freezes to death while out hunting for food, but he is rescued by the Indian fugitive, Jack Lame Horse (Robert Tessier). When the same Marshal shows up again, Charles returns the favour by saving the fugitive's life.
23 23 "To See the World" Michael Landon Gerry Day March 5, 1975 1023
After Johnny Johnson has an argument with his father, he decides to leave "to see the world." Mr. Edwards accompanies him while on his way to purchase an expensive hunting rifle. When Johnny refuses to be swayed, Mr. Edwards relies on his money, his card-playing buddies and the wily charms of a young woman to send the young boy home.
24 24 "Founder's Day" William F. Claxton Teleplay by: Ward Hawkins and John Hawkins
Story by: Byron Twiggs & Ward Hawkins
May 7, 1975 1024
Founder's Day comes to Walnut Grove, and everybody is looking forward to the exciting competitions. While Laura and Mary try to outdo the Olesons, Charles is challenged to a logging contest by an aging lumberjack (Forrest Tucker). While Charles wants to gain respect from the stubborn old man, his opponent hopes to prove that he is still the "Bull of the Woods" despite the constant urging of his wife (Ann Doran). The excitement reaches a boiling point with the final competition—the logging contest—and Charles proves himself in quite an unexpected way.

Season 2 (1975–1976)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
25 1 "The Richest Man in Walnut Grove" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 10, 1975 2001
Hanson's Mill closes when a major customer declares bankruptcy, leaving Lars unable to pay Charles two months' back pay. The Ingalls have a large tab at the Mercantile, forcing the family into a spirit of cooperation and sacrifice to pay off the bill. The whole family pitches in: Mary sews to earn money, Caroline helps with the farm work, and Charles finds work digging a well. On the day Charles presents the funds due, Nels remarks how mightily impressed he is by the family's resolve.
26 2 "Four Eyes" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur September 17, 1975 2002
Miss Beadle is concerned about Mary's faltering performance in school, until it is recognized that there is a problem with her eyesight. Mary is excited to get a pair of brand-new glasses, but her excitement fades when other students tease her, even after Miss Beadle points out her own pair of glasses. Mary decides to 'lose' her glasses, until Miss Beadle unwittingly shows her that she does not need to worry about her glasses making her look unattractive.
27 3 "Haunted House" Victor French Teleplay by Ray Goldrup & John Hawkins & B. W. Sandefur
Story by Ray Goldrup
September 24, 1975 2003
Laura meets Mr. Pike (John Anderson), a grumpy old man everyone in town is afraid of. She is undeterred by his gruff manner, and he tells her that he is waiting for his beloved wife, an actress, to return home. Laura excitedly volunteers to help in fixing up his house. Then, on a trip to Mankato, she learns that his wife is dead, so Laura must help him overcome his denial and grieve for his lost love.
28 4 "In The Big Inning" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur October 1, 1975 2008
It is Walnut Grove vs. Sleepy Eye in the annual baseball battle. Star pitcher Mumford appears to be an ace up Walnut Grove's sleeve, until his wife discovers the townspeople are betting heavily on the game's outcome. To put a stop to the madness, she benches him, leaving Caroline to persuade Mrs. Mumford to allow him to play. The troubles of the Walnut Grove team are not over, however, with arguments of the rightful name of the team and Sleepy Eye's Green Stockings' win-at-any-cost attitude. The battle for the game is fought in quite an unorthodox manner. With the score 8 to 5 in favor of Sleepy Eye in the bottom of the final inning and the bases loaded with two outs, Charles Ingalls comes through with a game-winning, inside-the-park, grand slam after a collision at the plate caused a benches-clearing brawl on the final play of the game. After the brawl was over, the man who guarding home plate with the ball no longer has the ball, so Charles is safe and Walnut Grove wins 9–8.
33 5 "The Campout" William F. Claxton Teleplay by Gerry Day
Story by Joseph Bonaduce
October 8, 1975 2006
Mrs. Oleson invites herself along on the Ingalls family campout after she concludes that Laura and Mary will have the upper hand collecting leaves for a school project. The Ingalls and Olesons do not get along throughout the trip. After learning a "scratching" good lesson about poison ivy, Laura and Nellie fall into a river and become trapped in the raging current when Laura learns that Nellie can't swim, but although she saves Nellie, Nellie later ungratefully accuses Laura of having pushed her into the river.
30 6 "The Spring Dance" William F. Claxton Gerry Day October 29, 1975 2004
Laura wants to go to the annual Spring Dance with Henry Henderson, while Grace Snider hopes Mr. Edwards will ask her out. But both men, young and old, are too shy to ask the girls. Caroline decides to teach them a technique she used on Charles to make him jealous. While the two girls shamelessly deceive their beaus, Charles reminds Caroline about the exact circumstances that occurred when she tried it on him.
31 7 "Remember Me (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon November 5, 1975 2009
A widowed mother named Julia Sanderson (Patricia Neal) learns she has a terminal illness and has no close relatives willing to care for her three children, John Jr., Carl and Alicia. Charles promises Mrs. Sanderson the children will find a new home. Meanwhile, the relationship between Mr. Edwards and Grace Snider begins to really blossom.
32 8 "Remember Me (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon November 12, 1975 2010
Charles has a difficult time finding someone who will adopt all three Sanderson children. At one point, Mrs. Oleson's aunt hopes to adopt Alicia only, while John Jr. and Carl are considered to be potential farming hands to another. While the kids try to show their bravery, Alicia breaks down in tears not wanting to leave her brothers and current guardian Grace Snider. At the very last minute, Mr. Edwards makes a monumental decision: he marries Grace Snider and adopts all three of the Sanderson children.
29 9 "Ebenezer Sprague" Victor French Hindi Brooks November 19, 1975 2007
Charles wants to seed a new field and asks for a loan from the new bank in town. It is owned by Ebenezer Sprague, a cold, hard businessman, and Charles is turned down because he cannot offer any collateral. Laura unwittingly befriends Mr. Sprague at the fishing hole, where they both enjoy spending time. Their friendship comes to an abrupt end when he learns her name and accuses her of only befriending him to help her father get his loan. Charles angrily confronts Sprague for unjustly accusing Laura and upsetting her, when she thought he was her friend. The banker finally realizes that he was wrong to assume the worst, and his attitude softens as he finds he can become a valued member of the community.
34 10 "At The End of the Rainbow" Michael Landon Arthur Heinemann December 10, 1975 2005
While fishing in a stream, Laura and her friend Jonah find pyrite and mistake it for gold. Laura spends her days amassing the "gold dust" and begins fantasizing about her family being very, very rich...and the Olesons being dirt-poor. The secrecy starts to lead to squabbling and hasty action from the nosy Oleson children. In the end, the truth becomes a disappointment to the two excited children.
35 11 "The Gift" William F. Claxton Rocci Chatfield December 17, 1975 2013
The children of Walnut Grove pool their money to buy Reverend Alden a new Bible and entrust Mary with the cash. Mary and Laura decide to invest their money in medicines that, upon their sale, could easily double their money and thus allow them to buy one really great gift for their beloved minister. After much scheming to follow through with their project, they realize that miracle medicines are really not truly needed, and they must tell the truth to Reverend Alden, who decides to keep the medicine box. At church, Mary's fears are eased when the Reverend is happy that Mary and the rest of the Sunday School class gave him a perfect present: a case to keep his favorite Bible in.
36 12 "His Father's Son" Michael Landon Michael Landon January 7, 1976 2015
Mr. Edwards and John Jr. feel estranged from each other, and an upset Mr. Edwards tries to make his son join him in his backwoods way of life. Mr. Edwards also offers to take John Jr. on a hunting trip, to his dismay. John Jr. writes a heartfelt letter which Mr. Edwards apparently disregards, leaving his son with no choice but to go with him. During the trip, a frightening encounter helps Mr. Edwards understand his son, and John discovers that his father does care for him, but he couldn't read the note he wrote for him.
37 13 "The Talking Machine" Victor French Harold Swanton January 14, 1976 2012
Laura and Nellie vie for the affections of a new schoolboy named Jason (Eric Shea), who is very adept with new contraptions. While Laura accompanies Jason in all his experiments, Nellie tries to use a brand new "talking machine" to gain his affection. When Nellie is unable to get Jason to choose her over Laura, she decides to get even with Laura. She tricks Laura into confessing her feelings for Jason to her while Willie hides and records Laura on the talking machine, which Nellie demonstrates in class, humiliating Laura and which angers Nels. When Miss Beadle sees a love drawing about Jason and Laura on the chalkboard, Jason admits he did it.
38 14 "The Pride of Walnut Grove" William F. Claxton Arthur Heinemann January 28, 1976 2014
Mary enters a statewide math competition, but Charles can't afford to pay the travel expenses necessary for her to compete. The entire town council foots the bill with great pride in her. This causes Mary to worry she will let them down. Her return to Walnut Grove shows her that the town is proud of her whether or not she comes first. Although this does not happen, she does get very close, finishing in second place. When she returns to Walnut Grove, Mr. Hanson and the whole town are very proud of her anyway, and Mr. Hanson states how happy he is for Mary putting Walnut Grove on the map of Minnesota.
39 15 "A Matter of Faith" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur February 4, 1976 2011

Charles and the girls go on a camping trip, with Caroline planning to join them later. Caroline scratches herself on a piece of baling wire, and the minor scratch soon turns into a serious infection. Just when she is about to succumb to her illness, Caroline opens her Bible to a passage where she decides to perform a painful procedure, which impresses even Doc Baker.


Note: The Bonanza episode, "A Matter Of Circumstance", uses a similar theme to this episode.
40 16 "The Runaway Caboose" William F. Claxton Ernie Durham February 11, 1976 2016
At a train station, Mary, Laura, and Carl wander into a caboose. Without warning, the caboose begins to move, and it soon is on a crash course with an oncoming train. Charles and Mr. Edwards go on a race against time to try to warn the locomotive operator, who manages to stop the runaway caboose successfully.
41 17 "Troublemaker" Victor French John Hawkins February 25, 1976 2019
Miss Beadle is relieved of her duties as schoolmarm when the misbehavior of several of the older students becomes too much. In her stead is Hannibal Applewood (Richard Basehart), a strict disciplinarian whom students call "Mr. Crabapple" in disdain. Acting on a false tip from Mrs. Oleson, Mr. Applewood quickly singles out Laura as the class troublemaker, unfairly punishing her for infraction, and even expelling her when test papers become damaged. Though she is later allowed to return, things soon get out of control, so Charles decides to step in and figure out just how Mr. Applewood obtained his lengthy resume. After the matter is taken up at an emergency meeting, Mr. Applewood quietly resigns and Miss Beadle returns.
42 18 "The Long Road Home" Michael Landon John Hawkins March 3, 1976 2017
During a recession, Charles and Mr. Edwards take a job handling highly explosive liquid dynamite along a rough and dangerously winding road. Also on the same job is an experienced negro (Louis Gossett, Jr.) with a tolerant attitude and a prejudiced young man who refuses to accept his partner. Through rough detours, bandits, and prejudice, Charles and Mr. Edwards must work hard on the long road home.
43 19 "For My Lady" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur March 10, 1976 2020
To buy Caroline a new set of china, Charles secretly takes a woodworking job for an attractive young widow (Mariette Hartley). The problem is, Mrs. Oleson plants a suggestion in Caroline's mind that there is more going on than woodworking behind closed doors. Laura and Mary soon decide they need to try to "win Pa back" with plans of their own.
44 20 "Centennial" William F. Claxton John Hawkins March 17, 1976 2018

Walnut Grove prepares to celebrate the nation's centennial, but the party is threatened with cancellation when their taxes go up. A Russian immigrant, Yuli Pyatakov, gives an impassioned speech about what it is like to live in America, and that he loves his new land despite its faults. The townsfolk are inspired to resume the celebration.


Guest stars: Theodore Bikel, Ike Eisenmann
45 21 "Soldier's Return" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur March 24, 1976 2022
Mrs. Whipple's son, Granville (Richard Mulligan), returns to Walnut Grove to resume his career as a music teacher. He becomes close to Mary Ingalls, who offers to copy music in exchange for lessons. His new life takes a turn for the worse when a young boy, whose father he abandoned, reminds him of his past with the help of a haunting bugle. He relapses into morphine addiction, which contributes to his eventual suicide.
46 22 "Going Home" Michael Landon Michael Landon March 31, 1976 2021
The Ingalls family's crops and farm lie in ruin, due to a devastating tornado that sweeps through Hero Township. A despondent Charles sees no opportunity ahead, so he decides to move his family back home to Wisconsin and sells his farm. Meanwhile, Mary and John worry about their blossoming relationship, which leads to Mary's first kiss and talking about marriage. A crushed Laura prays for Charles to have strength, a prayer that is answered in the form of the previous owners of the farm, who want to buy it back.

Season 3 (1976–1977)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
47 1 "The Collection" Michael Landon Arthur Heinemann September 27, 1976 3008

Reverend Alden gets sick while collecting donations, and Caleb Hodgekiss, an ex-convict, helps by giving him a place to stay and volunteering to get the donations from Walnut Grove. Initially, Caleb has every intention of disappearing with the towns-people's donations, but has a change of heart when he discovers their kindness.


Guest stars: Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash
48 2 "Bunny" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 4, 1976 3001

Nellie has been mis-treating Bunny, who was Laura's horse until she sold it to Mr. Oleson (in "Christmas at Plum Creek"). Then Nellie falls off the horse and appears to be seriously injured. A distressed Mrs. Oleson blames Laura and wants Bunny to be destroyed, so Laura takes Bunny and hides him at the farm. Eventually, Laura finds out that Nellie has been faking her injuries, and so she takes Nellie out in her wheelchair and pushes her into the pond. Nellie's father is so angry at what Nellie has done that he gives Bunny back to Laura.


Guest star: Eric Shea
49 3 "The Race" William F. Claxton John V. Hanrahan October 11, 1976 3005

Laura and her horse Bunny are favored to win an upcoming race in Walnut Grove. Mrs. Oleson wants the victory to go to Nellie and so she purchases a thoroughbred for her. Now confident of Nellie's success, Mrs. Oleson even puts up a family heirloom as a trophy for the winner. However, Nellie cannot be bothered to prepare for the race, while Laura works hard to get Bunny in top shape. Laura and Bunny narrowly win the race, but Laura returns the trophy to an abashed Mrs. Oleson.


Note: On the Lionsgate/NBC DVD set, this episode is placed before "Bunny". However, this results in the changes in ownership of Bunny not following their correct sequence, and to make the overall storyline coherent these two episodes should be watched in the order shown here.
50 4 "Little Girl Lost" Michael Landon Paul W. Cooper October 18, 1976 3006
Laura and Mary must collect insects for a school project. Carrie goes along with them and then lets Mary's bugs escape. Angry and frustrated, Mary instructs Carrie to wait for them and to stay out of trouble, but Carrie wanders off and falls into a deserted mine shaft.
51 5 "The Monster of Walnut Grove" William F. Claxton John Hawkins November 1, 1976 3007
Laura's imagination runs wild on Halloween when she sees what she believes to be Nels cutting off Mrs. Oleson's head. The Olesons have some fun at Laura's expense.
52 6 "Journey in the Spring (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon November 15, 1976 3011

Charles' mother passes away after a long illness, and he travels back to Wisconsin to handle the funeral arrangements. His father, Lansford Ingalls (Arthur Hill), becomes very despondent and after an argument with Charles, he tries to kill himself by setting his house on fire. Charles saves Lansford and talks him into going with him to Walnut Grove to sort out his emotions. While staying with his son's family, Lansford begins to form a special relationship with Laura, and it is revealed that Laura was named after her grandmother, Lansford's wife.


Note: This is the first appearances of Matthew Laborteaux and Hersha Paraday. Here (through flashbacks), Laborteaux plays young Charles Ingalls, and Paraday plays Eliza Anne Ingalls, Charles' sister-in-law. Ms. Paraday will join the cast in season four, playing Alice Garvey.
53 7 "Journey in the Spring (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon November 22, 1976 3012
Laura continues to remind her grandfather, Lansford, of his deceased wife with fond memories and their relationship continues to grow, but it falls into jeopardy when Bunny, Laura's beloved horse, is injured. Lansford tells Laura he will try to nurse the horse back to health, but Charles sees the horse is too badly hurt and must be put down. Laura is angry when Lansford realizes his son did the right thing, and he shouldn't have made a promise he couldn't keep. Lansford wants to leave, but that causes a repentant Laura to go all-out in getting him to stay for as long as he wants.
54 8 "Fred" William F. Claxton Robert Vincent Wright November 29, 1976 3002
Laura is tricked into adopting a "unique" billy goat, named Fred, but he quickly becomes unpopular when he helps himself to the Ingalls family's crops. Laura is instructed to get rid of her new pet, but that proves to be difficult.
55 9 "The Bully Boys" Victor French B.W. Sandefur December 6, 1976 3009
The Galender brothers settle in Walnut Grove, causing trouble for the entire community by intimidating and terrorizing the inhabitants. When Caroline becomes one of their victims, Charles decides to take action.
56 10 "The Hunters" Michael Landon Harold Swanton December 20, 1976 3003

Charles is seriously injured while on a hunting trip with Laura. The only person she can find to help her is Sam (Burl Ives), who is almost blind, but still able to find his way in the forest. Together, they manage to get Charles to Sam's cabin and then they go out to find medical help.


Note: Originally shown as a 90-minute episode, in syndication, it is shown in two parts.
57 11 "Blizzard" William F. Claxton Paul W. Cooper December 27, 1976 3013
When a serious snowstorm threatens to strand the children in the schoolhouse on the last day before Christmas vacation, Miss Beadle dismisses the children early. Unfortunately, many are unable to get home and the men of Walnut Grove must organize a search party. But for one particular family, it will not be a merry Christmas.
58 12 "I'll Ride the Wind" William F. Claxton Paul W. Cooper January 10, 1977 3010
John is offered a scholarship in Chicago that will allow him to live his dream of becoming a writer. This causes Mary and John much heartache, as they must decide whether to remain together or risk a separation for the sake of John's career.
59 13 "Quarantine" Victor French John Hawkins January 17, 1977 3015
Mr. Edwards and Doc Baker provide help to a nearby town during a mountain fever epidemic. When Mr. Edwards returns, Walnut Grove is placed under quarantine and Alicia, Mr. Edward's adopted daughter, becomes ill with the disease. Laura, unaware of the danger, visits the Edwards' home and helps nurse her friend back to health.
60 14 "Little Women" William F. Claxton Dale Eunson January 24, 1977 3014
While Laura and Mary prepare a play for school with Ginny Clark, they learn that Ginny wants her mother, who is a single parent, to date again. Ginny decides to use the play to help her mom gain the confidence necessary to meet new people.
61 15 "Injun Kid" Victor French Arthur Heinemann January 31, 1977 3004

Joseph Strokes, the half-breed son of a Sioux Indian and a white woman, moves to Walnut Grove with his widowed mother to live with her father, Jeremy. The old man rejects Joseph because he feels ashamed that his daughter married an Indian. Joseph's encounter with school bullies causes his grandfather to have a change of heart.


Guest star: Willie Aames
62 16 "To Live with Fear (Part 1)" William F. Claxton B.W. Sandefur February 14, 1977 3016

Mary is severely injured when a horse kicks her in the stomach while she is putting him away in the barn. When her condition deteriorates, it becomes clear she needs an expensive surgery to save her life. Charles and Mr. Edwards are forced to take dynamiting jobs for the railroad to fund the surgery.


Guest star: James B. Sikking
63 17 "To Live with Fear (Part 2)" William F. Claxton John Hawkins February 21, 1977 3017
Mary needs more surgery, something that weighs heavily on Charles' mind as he feverishly works to earn enough money for his daughter's surgery. Eventually, a fatigued Charles causes an accident that traps him and a co-worker inside. Mr. Edwards leads a harried but courageous effort to save the two men's lives.
64 18 "The Wisdom of Solomon" William F. Claxton Scott Swanton March 7, 1977 3019
Solomon Henry (Todd Bridges), an 11-year-old black boy, runs away from his family because he is tired of being treated differently. He lives with the Ingalls family for a while and during his stay is pleased to be able to attend school.
65 19 "The Music Box" Michael Landon Robert Janes March 14, 1977 3020
Nellie discovers that Laura has "borrowed" a music box from her room and decides to blackmail her. In order to stay quiet about Laura's crime, Nellie demands that Laura abandon her new friend Anna (Katy Kurtzman), who has a stutter, and join her new club. Eventually, Charles discovers what happens and teaches Laura a lesson about lying. In the end, Nellie gets her comeuppance, as well.
66 20 "The Election" Victor French B.W. Sandefur March 21, 1977 3018

The school holds an election for school president. Mary, Nellie and Elmer, an unpopular boy amongst the children, are in the running. Mary drops out of the race when she realizes Elmer is the best person for the job.


Notes: This is Leslie Landon's second appearance in the series. In this episode, she plays "Kate", a student who votes for Nellie Oleson. (She also appears in season one's "Plague", season six's "The Third Miracle", and joins the cast in season nine, as Etta Plum.) Landon's real-life son Michael Landon, Jr. also appears, as student "Jim", the blonde boy who votes for Mary Ingalls.
67 21 "Gold Country" Michael Landon John Hawkins & B.W. Sandefur April 4, 1977 3021

When heavy rains make it impossible to plant their crops, the Ingalls and Edwards families head west to pan for gold. The promise of becoming rich is realized by only a lucky few, which leads to ill-feeling, lawlessness and even deaths. Laura and Carl come across an ex-miner who has seen the ill-effects of the search for gold and lives like a hermit. Eventually, seeing the bad effect it is having on others, Charles and Mr. Edwards realize that they have riches enough, in the shape of their loving families, and they decide to go home.


Notes: Originally aired as a two-hour episode, in syndication, it is shown in two parts. This is the last appearance of Victor French until he makes a guest appearance in season six. This is the final appearance of Brian Part as Carl Edwards; the character returns for "A Promise to Keep" in season eight, but is played by a different actor.

Season 4 (1977–1978)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
68 1 "Castoffs" Michael Landon Tony Kayden September 12, 1977 4003

Caroline orders Laura to care for her dog, Jack, before going to town to greet a newcomer, Kezia Horn (Hermione Baddeley), who lives in a house without walls. Laura becomes frustrated at Jack and gives up trying to take the foxtails out of his ears. Mary, Laura, Nellie and Willie go to visit Kezia and find out what a unique yet kind person she is. When Laura arrives home, she finds old Jack dead in the barn. In tears, she and her family bury him in the meadow. Later, Charles brings home a stray dog (Bandit) that followed him home from Mankato, but Laura refuses to bond with the dog. Kezia speaks to Laura about how the dog only wants to love her, and how she also wants to love others but hasn't been accepted. Guilt-ridden Laura runs to find Bandit and bonds with him. Reverend Alden speaks with Kezia, who decides to leave Walnut Grove because no one is accepting of her, and it is up to Laura to get everyone to change their minds before it is too late. In the end, Kezia stays, as well as Bandit.


Note: This is the first appearance of Merlin Olsen as Jonathan Garvey.
69 2 "Times of Change" William F. Claxton Carole & Michael Raschella September 19, 1977 4002

Charles takes Mary to Chicago, where he is attending the Grange Convention. There, Mary meets up with John Jr., who has started a job as a cub reporter for a newspaper. Former lovebirds John and Mary soon find their lives headed in separate directions, especially for John Jr., who has a new girlfriend. Meanwhile Charles has problems with the corruption he witnesses at the Grange meetings.


Note: Mike Lookinland (of The Brady Bunch) appears on the train at the end of the episode. He states that he will be going to school in Walnut Grove, but is not seen after this episode. (Melissa Sue Anderson also appeared on The Brady Bunch as Bobby Brady's friend Millicent during the last season of that show.)
70 3 "My Ellen" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 26, 1977 4007

When Laura and Mary go skinny-dipping with their friend, Ellen Taylor, some boys come by to get a glimpse. The girls hide underwater until they go away. Laura and Mary come back up, but Ellen becomes trapped under the surface and drowns. Ellen's grief-stricken mother blames Laura for the tragedy and rebuffs the efforts of several people to cheer her up. Later, when Laura pays a visit to Mrs. Taylor, she traps Laura in the basement, because in her grief she imagines that Laura is Ellen. Then Laura's things are found outside the house of Busby, a mentally challenged man whom Charles had warned his daughters to stay away from, and suspicion falls on him. While the hunt is on for Busby, Laura must rely on her wits to escape Mrs. Taylor's clutches and help her come to terms with Ellen's death, which she is finally able to accomplish. The men realize that they were wrong about Busby, and Laura later gives Busby a picture book.


Note: Corinne Michaels, who plays Mrs. Taylor, appears in season eight's "A Promise to Keep" as Grace Snider Edwards, replacing Bonnie Bartlett.
71 4 "The Handyman" William F. Claxton Arthur Heinemann October 3, 1977 4004

After Caroline complains about the small size of her kitchen, Charles decides to build an addition onto the house, but after starting the work he has to leave to take a rush delivery to Mankato. Caroline hires a handsome young handyman named Chris Nelson (Gil Gerard) to complete the job. Chris stays with the Ingalls family and unwittingly becomes head of the household in Charles' absence, prompting Carrie to mistakenly call the man "Uncle Chris". Mary soon becomes convinced that her Ma and Chris are becoming romantically involved, and she freely expresses her opinions. Nellie and Mrs. Oleson don't help matters when they share Mary's suspicions. Eventually, Mary confronts Chris with her suspicions and tells him he must leave, only to find out later it was a misunderstanding. Charles later returns and finishes the new kitchen.


Special Appearance by: Hermione Baddeley as Kezia
72 5 "The Wolves" Michael Landon Lawrence M. Konner October 17, 1977 4005

Laura and her new friend, Andy Garvey, find an injured mother wolf trying to tend to her pack of baby pups. Andy takes the wolf and her babies home to care for them. He decides to move them to the Ingalls family barn when he learns Larabee wants to shoot them, believing that they are the ones responsible for killing several of his sheep. Things turn deadly when a pack of feral dogs advance on the barn, trapping Andy, Laura, Mary, Carrie and Bandit inside, leaving them to rely on Jonathan, and even more so, Bandit and the mother wolf, to save them from being mauled.


Note: This is the first appearance of Patrick Laborteaux as Andy Garvey.
73 6 "The Creeper of Walnut Grove" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan October 24, 1977 4006
Laura and Andy become detectives to solve a series of burglaries in Walnut Grove. After an incident at the Olesons', Charles becomes very angry with Laura. Things get worse when Laura sets some traps to catch the culprit, but winds up catching Charles instead (at one point, causing him to be doused with green paint). Eventually, it is discovered that a boy named Timothy Ferrel was the burglar all along, stealing to support himself and his ill father.
74 7 "To Run and Hide" Michael Landon John T. Dugan October 31, 1977 4001

When Dr. Baker is unable to save a patient, he feels it was due to his incompetence and resigns as Walnut Grove's doctor. While he tries his hand out at farming, a new physician, Dr. Logan, accepts a call to replace him. However, Dr. Logan proves to be ill-tempered and has no compassion for his patients, prompting Charles to go all-out to convince Dr. Baker that he really is a good doctor and that the people of Hero Township need him.


Notes: Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode. This is the final appearance of Queenie Smith as Mrs. Amanda 'May' Whipple.
75 8 "The Aftermath" William F. Claxton Don Balluck November 7, 1977 4008
Outlaws Frank and Jesse James bring their trail of treachery to Walnut Grove. They stake out the town and take aliases while trying to blend into the background, even hiring Mary to do their work. Their cover is soon blown when a posse arrives to arrest the James brothers, causing them to take Mary hostage.
76 9 "The High Cost of Being Right" Michael Landon Don Balluck November 14, 1977 4009
When the Garveys' barn burns down and they lose their entire harvest, Alice wants to take a job at the post office to bring in some money, but Jonathan believes that it is a man's role to support his family and so he forbids it. Their disagreement grows to the point where they intend to get a divorce. However, as they appear before the judge, Charles helps them realize that their love for each other is more important than their differences, and they are reconciled.
77 10 "The Fighter" Michael Landon Lawrence Konner November 21, 1977 4011

When boxer Joe Kagan's career seems to be going nowhere, he chooses to continue boxing rather than keep his family with him. Unable to compete in the professional circuit, he travels to small towns and takes challengers for money. While he is stricken with medical problems, a fight with Charles Ingalls ends his career. After being nursed back to health by Charles, Joe decides to stay in Walnut Grove and make a new living as a farmer. He then finds that his own estranged son is now trying to become a boxer. Now, Joe's biggest challenge is to figure out how to keep his son from making the same mistake he did.


Notes: Originally a 90-minute episode, in syndication it is shown in two parts. Moses Gunn plays the title role of Joe Kagan. Ketty Lester appears as Joe's wife in an introductory flashback; she will later join the cast as Hester Sue in season five's "Blind Journey" (part 2).
78 11 "Meet Me at the Fair" William F. Claxton Bradley Berwick, Ray Berwick & Arthur Heinemann November 28, 1977 4012
The Oleson and Ingalls families travel to a fair, where Mary hopes to spend time with a boy, Patrick. Instead, she falls for the flattery of Cass, a balloonist and Patrick's wordly employer. Elsewhere, Caroline and Mrs Oleson find they are rivals, Nels and Charles join forces to enter a donkey-riding contest, and Laura quickly loses all her spending money and then has trouble trying to stay with both Carrie and Bandit. Carrie wanders off, falls asleep inside a hot-air balloon basket and wakes up to find herself flying. Patrick helps to rescue her, and Mary finally chooses him over Cass.
79 12 "Here Come the Brides" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan & Robert F. Metzler December 5, 1977 4010

When Adam Simms (Joshua Bryant) and his son Luke move to town, Adam instantly takes a liking to Miss Eva Beadle, while Luke and Nellie fall in love. After Nellie talks with Miss Beadle, she and Luke run away to have a very short-lived marriage (about 10 minutes). In the end, Adam and Eva get married themselves. (This episode features one of the first looks at the softer side of Nellie's personality.)


Note: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle do not appear in this episode.
80 13 "Freedom Flight" December 12, 1977 4013
An Indian tribe comes to Walnut Grove asking for medical help for their sick chief. Doc Baker agrees to help and Charles goes with him, but they are opposed by a group of citizens who have memories of relatives and neighbours who were killed by Indians and want to take revenge and attack them. However, the tribe moves on, except that Charles hides the tribe leader at his farm while he recovers. When their secret is discovered, Charles and the Doc help the chief and his family rejoin their tribe and make good their escape.
81 14 "The Rivals" January 9, 1978 4014

Charles and Jonathan compete against another team to win a freighting contract. Laura feels the first stirrings of attraction to a boy named Jimmy Hill (Chris Petersen) with whom she has previously enjoyed playing baseball and going fishing, but he does not respond in the same way. When a new girl arrives in school who looks like a rival, Laura decides she must compete for him by giving up her 'tom-boy' behaviour and becoming more like Nellie. Charles and Jonathan unexpectedly win the freighting contract, but, as they celebrate and make big plans, they realize that it would involve them not seeing their families for long stretches of time, so they refuse the contract. When Laura's new strategy does not work, her Ma persuades her that she should be true to her real self. Eventually, Jimmy does notice her as a girl, and Laura has her first kiss with a boy.


Note: Michael Landon appears with a pronounced limp and a dressing on his left foot. Charles refers to his "busted foot" but there is no explanation of how it happened.
82 15 "Whisper Country" January 16, 1978 4015

Mary gets her first teaching job in the backwoods community of Willow Prairie, but she is met with stern opposition from Miss Peel, an elderly woman who has thwarted a previous attempt to establish a school and justifies her actions with a flawed understanding of the Bible. The husband in the family which gives Mary accommodation has the same harsh beliefs and is also hostile towards Mary. After one of Mary's students tries to kiss her and she hits him to stop him, Miss Peel accuses Mary of being a 'Jezebel', and, feeling outnumbered, Mary retreats home. However, after a talk with her father, she goes back with Charles, and at a church meeting Mary takes on her opponents, and it emerges that Miss Peel cannot read, which is why she misquotes the Bible. As they all sing a hymn, Miss Peel accepts the hand of friendship that Mary offers to her.


Note: Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode.
83 16 "I Remember, I Remember" January 23, 1978 4016

On Charles' and Caroline's anniversary, Charles is stuck on the road in the rain with a broken wagon wheel, making him late home for their celebration meal. While they are waiting, Caroline tells the children the story of how she and Charles met, eventually revealing that she learned that he always has a good reason for keeping her waiting. In flashback: the day they met, Charles' troubles in school, and their first dance.


Notes: This is Matthew Laborteaux's second appearance playing young Charles Ingalls. Laborteaux joins the cast in season five, playing Albert. Sorrell Booke, (Boss Hogg on The Dukes Of Hazzard), appears as Mr. Watson, the teacher.
84 17 "Be My Friend" January 30, 1978 4017

While out fishing, Laura finds a bottle in the creek with a note inside that reads "Be my friend". She eventually persuades Charles to help her look for the writer of the note, but instead they find an abandoned baby. Laura looks after the baby, who she names Grace, while Charles tries to find the parents. Charles first locates the young father, Bobbie, and together they find the mother who is his beloved, Anna. They had wanted to marry but she was taken away by her strictly religious father who is deeply embittered because his wife went off with another man. Fearing his reaction, Anna had managed to keep secret that she was pregnant and even that she had given birth, but then realized that she could not keep the baby while staying with her father. Bobbie takes Anna back with him, while her father chooses to stay alone in the woods. Anna is reunited with her baby, telling Laura she will keep the name Grace.


Note: Originally a 90-minute episode, in syndication, it is shown in two parts.
85 18 "The Inheritance" February 6, 1978 4018
A lawyer visits to tell Charles that he is the heir to the extensive estate of his late Uncle Ned, who owned a business - Ingalls Carriage Company - and a large house in St Louis. Mrs. Oleson is suddenly keen to socialize with them, but other people treat them differently. Charles and Caroline uncharacteristically run up a large debt at the Oleson Mercantile. When the lawyer returns after winding up the estate, he explains to Charles that, because of Uncle Ned's eccentric and profligate lifestyle, his whole estate was eaten up by debts and legal costs, and all that is left is a box containing worthless Confederate banknotes. Mrs. Oleson immediately forecloses on the Ingalls farm, but their friends in town come up with a plan to help them keep it. Meanwhile, Laura and Andy use the Confederate money to decorate the inside walls of their new clubhouse.
86 19 "The Stranger" February 13, 1978 4019
Nels' cousin sends his 12-year-old son, Peter, to Walnut Grove after the boy's behavior grows unmanageable. Mrs. Oleson babies the boy, prompting a frustrated Nels to turn to Charles for assistance in rehabilitating Peter, which leads to a reconciliation between Peter and his father.
87 20 "A Most Precious Gift" February 27, 1978 4020
Charles has always wanted a son, and has another chance to get one when Caroline announces she's pregnant. But Caroline fears how Charles will react if the baby is a girl, especially after Mrs. Beadle-Simms has a boy herself. Eventually, it's all for naught, as Charles loves his baby Grace just the same.
88 21 "I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away (Part 1)" March 6, 1978 4021
Just as Mary falls in love with newcomer Seth Barton, her eyesight begins to worsen. Charles takes her to an optometrist, but the news is not good: Mary's vision cannot be saved and she will soon go blind. In denial, Charles does not tell his daughter until the day before she wakes up and finds to her horror she is completely blind. Mary becomes very bitter over her predicament and having to rely on others for basic needs.
89 22 "I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away (Part 2)" March 13, 1978 4022

Mary is sent to a blind school in Iowa, where she meets Adam Kendall. Mary refuses to accept Adam's help at first, but he eventually helps her learn to deal with her blindness and a relationship blossoms between the two. When Adam encourages Mary before her return to Walnut Grove, he says a key line that serves as the title of this episode. Meanwhile, Charles and Caroline have another problem as the whole of the township of Walnut Grove is threatened by an escalation of the dispute between The Grange and the railroads. When the school is closed, the teacher, Mrs. Beadle-Simms, and her husband join those who are moving out.


Notes: This marks the first appearance of Linwood Boomer as Adam Kendall, and the final appearance of Charlotte Stewart as Mrs. Beadle-Simms.

Season 5 (1978–1979)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
90 1 "As Long as We're Together (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 11, 1978 5001

Picking up where the previous season left off, the Ingalls, Oleson and Garvey families settle in the town of Winoka, where they are met by a cruel local businessman, Miles Standish.


Note: This episode marks the introduction of Matthew Laborteaux as Albert, the lovable orphan who is eventually taken in by the Ingalls family.
91 2 "As Long as We're Together (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 18, 1978 5002
The former Walnut Grove residents continue to adjust to life in the city of Winoka. Charles and Caroline are managing The Dakota Hotel; Nels, Harriet and Jonathan Garvey are working in the saloon; and Alice Garvey begins teaching school for the poor children of town in a stable since the only other school in town is an expensive private academy. The second part of this episode is mainly Charles and Caroline trying to get enough money to buy a present for Mary's 16th birthday. Laura writes a card in braille, and Charles sells his fiddle to get enough money, which Caroline sees in the window shop and buys back as Mary's "present." At Mary's surprise birthday party, Mary says that the best birthday present she could get is hearing Pa play the fiddle, and she expresses her feelings for Laura when she reads the card. When it's time to make a wish and blow out the candles, everyone is brought to tears when she says, "I have nothing to wish for! I have everything in the world right here in this room!"
92 3 "The Winoka Warriors" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan September 25, 1978 5003

Charles convinces Albert to attend the livery school. With Jonathan as coach, Albert and the livery school's football team challenge the undefeated private academy's football team. Both sides attempt to unbalance the game in their own favor. When it seems all is lost for the livery school, help comes from an unexpected place...in the form of one of Adam's blind students.


Note: Andy Garvey's statement about his father, "My pa doesn't know anything about football", is an inside joke on Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey), who played for the NFL for 15 years, all with the then-Los Angeles Rams.
93 4 "The Man Inside" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 2, 1978 5004
Laura makes friends with a shy classmate, but winds up jeopardizing the friendship when she makes fun of an obese man, not knowing he is the girl's father. Hearing that his daughter is ashamed of him, the man gets a job and lives at the blind school, while telling his family that he got a job that would take him away from their town. The man's double life is exposed once he is seriously injured at the school.
94 5 "There's No Place Like Home (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 9, 1978 5007
After Laura is blamed for doing something to Miles Standish's son, Charles begins to dislike the city of Winoka. Caroline sees this, but Charles says that he does not want to have "my children scattered all over the world." As a result of this and a happy-go-lucky man, Toby Noe (Ray Bolger), gambling away all his winnings, the Ingalls family (except for Mary) are convinced to move back to Walnut Grove along with the Olesons and the Garveys.
95 6 "There's No Place Like Home (Part 2)" William F. Claxton Michael Landon October 16, 1978 5008

The Ingalls family and friends return home to Walnut Grove (along with Albert, who wanted to go as well), only to find the town in disrepair and a disgruntled and disabled Lars Hanson, who had been crippled by a stroke. It is up to the townspeople to rebuild Walnut Grove and to rekindle the spirit of both the town and Mr. Hanson.


Notes: 90-minute episode. This episode marked the final appearance of Karl Swenson as Lars Hanson. (Swenson died a short time after this episode was filmed. His character also died, as explained in an epilogue by Laura.)
96 7 "Fagin" Michael Landon Carole Raschella & Michael Raschella October 23, 1978 5010
Charles buys Albert a calf for the upcoming county fair, which Albert names Fagin. Laura grows jealous when Charles starts giving more attention to Albert. When Nellie teases Laura about having Albert as a brother, Laura punches Nellie in the eye. After Albert overhears Charles and Caroline talking about Laura's jealousy, Albert runs away, leaving Laura to take care of Fagin for the fair. When Fagin wins, Laura gets the ribbon, but then says that she wants to give it to "my brother Albert", which brings him to tears.
97 8 "Harriet's Happenings" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan October 30, 1978 5009

Mrs. Oleson's cousin, Sterling Murdoch, comes to Walnut Grove to start the town's first newspaper, The Pen and the Plow. Mrs. Oleson writes a column for the fledgling newspaper, and soon writes scandalous stories about the residents of Hero Township. When she learns that a German student Erich Schiller beat Nellie in the school spelling bee, Mrs. Oleson claims that the lad's German immigrant parents are illiterate. Charles confronts Murdoch about his newspaper, but his complaints fall on deaf ears. Laura and Albert temporarily get back at Mrs. Oleson, but she responds by writing a story suggesting Charles fathered Albert outside his marriage. Charles has enough and exposes the work of Murdoch and Mrs. Oleson in church on Sunday, clearing up the lie about the Schiller family (they could read German), then chastises the rest of the town for reading the newspaper.


Guest Stars: Ike Eisenmann, John Hillerman
98 9 "The Wedding" Michael Landon Arthur Heinemann November 6, 1978 5013
Adam proposes to Mary, and she accepts. Charles and Caroline travel to Winoka for the wedding (without the children because it would be too much to pay for the train tickets). Mary starts to have doubts after hearing how hard it was for Charles and Caroline to take care of her when she was younger and how hard it would be for her and Adam to care for a baby when they are blind. When one of the students is caught in a sandstorm, Mary winds up saving her and she finds out that she may be a good mother. In the end, the wedding goes on.
99 10 "Men Will Be Boys" William F. Claxton Arthur Heinemann November 13, 1978 5005
When Albert and Andy boast they can become self-sufficient, Charles and Jonathan decide to take them on a camping trip to put that claim to rest. But Albert and Andy prove their worth, and their fathers wind up... well, not so well off.
100 11 "The Cheaters" William F. Claxton Don Balluck November 20, 1978 5014
The Walnut Grove school children take a series of routine tests to prepare them for the next grade, but after Andy Garvey shows failing grades, his parents enlist Nellie Oleson to help him with his studies. Nellie shows him an even "better" way to succeed by cheating. Meanwhile, Charles gives Albert a different lesson in cheating...cheating within the heart, as he is trying to fail in school to be more popular.
101 12 "Blind Journey (Part 1)" William F. Claxton Teleplay by John T. Dugan; Story by Carole & Michael Raschella & John T. Dugan November 27, 1978 5011
The church council in Walnut Grove finally vote to accept Joe Kagan as a member, against Mrs. Oleson's wishes. The late Mr. Hanson has willed his large house to the church in Walnut Grove, and, after the school for the blind in Winoka has to close, the congregation in Walnut Grove agree to the Reverend's suggestion that the house become a new school for the blind. When Mrs. Oleson makes a large cash donation, they also agree to name the school after her. Charles and Joe travel to Winoka to help with the move, and they are astonished when Mrs. Oleson arrives to accompany them and thereby impress someone named Mrs. Terhune.
102 13 "Blind Journey (Part 2)" William F. Claxton Teleplay by John T. Dugan; Written by Carole & Michael Raschella December 4, 1978 5012
Mrs. Oleson is disappointed when she discovers that Mrs. Terhune is not an elite society lady from St. Louis, as she had thought, but rather Hester Sue Terhune (Ketty Lester), the African-American caretaker of the blind school that has merged with the one run by the Kendalls. During the journey back to Walnut Grove, Mrs. Oleson begins to question her racist behaviour and Adam must overcome his fear of water. When they arrive in Walnut Grove, Nels is pleasantly surprised to see the change in his wife....for now.
103 14 "The Godsister" Michael Landon Don Balluck December 18, 1978 5006

Carrie becomes heartsick for her Pa when Charles and Jonathan take jobs on a telephone crew and must be away for weeks. When nobody has time for her, Carrie creates an imaginary friend named Alyssa, and the two have wonderful adventures together.


Notes: Originally a 90-minute episode, in syndication it is shown in two parts. Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush appear on-screen together in the roles of Carrie Ingalls and her imaginary friend, Alyssa.
104 15 "The Craftsman" Michael Landon Paul Wolff January 8, 1979 5018
Albert takes a job as apprentice for a Jewish coffin maker, who is the target of deep prejudice in the community, particularly Harriet Oleson and Judd Larrabee and his sons.
105 16 "Blind Man's Bluff" William F. Claxton Arthur Heinemann January 15, 1979 5016
Laura's schoolmate and friend, Jordan (Ronnie Scribner), has dreams of one day working in a circus, but is troubled by his quarreling parents, who announce that they are planning to divorce. After an accident causes temporary blindness and brings his parents close again in their concern for him, Jordan says nothing when his sight returns. Laura finds out and struggles with whether she should tell everyone. Then Jordan has another fall and the outcome leaves Laura wondering.
106 17 "Dance with Me" Michael Landon Paul Wolff January 22, 1979 5015

Ray Bolger returns as the happy-go-lucky-who-turned-bankrupt Toby Noe. He is staying with the Ingalls family, eating them out of house and home, when the spirited spinster Amanda Cooper catches his eye. Toby sets out to win her heart, but she is determined to keep him at arm's length. Meanwhile, Laura has a crush on schoolmate Jason and, with Albert's counsel, tries to get him to notice her.
Guest stars: Ray Bolger (The Wizard of Oz), Eileen Heckart

Note: Originally a 90-minute episode, in syndication it is shown in two parts.
107 18 "The Sound of Children" William F. Claxton Carole & Michael Raschella February 5, 1979 5019
Mary and Adam discover they are having a baby. Adam's father visits Walnut Grove upon learning the news, and convinces Adam and Mary to move to New York City so that Adam can attend law school and eventually become a partner in his father's law firm. After Mary suffers a miscarriage, Adam decides to stay in Walnut Grove with Mary. When Mary hears this, she says that it is what she wanted all along.
108 19 "The Lake Kezia Monster" Michael Landon John T. Dugan February 12, 1979 5020
Mrs. Oleson attempts to evict Kezia (Hermione Baddeley) from her house by the lake. She, Willie, and Nellie move in and force Kezia to serve as their maid, but Laura, Albert, and Andy Garvey hatch a plan to drive the Olesons away: they get Kezia to concoct a story about a monster that inhabits the lake and then dress up as the monster. The plan works, the Olesons run away screaming, and Kezia keeps her house.
109 20 "Barn Burner" Michael Landon Don Balluck February 19, 1979 5021

After agreeing to join all the other farmers in insisting on what they believe is a fair price from the mill-owners for their wheat, Judd Larabee breaks his promise and makes a separate deal at a lower price, mainly because of his racist antagonism against black farmer Joe Kagan. Outraged by his betrayal, Jonathan Garvey confronts Larabee in front of his family. A vengeful Larabee goes to the Garveys house with a shotgun, but Andy is the only one home and Larabee lashes out at him. When the Garveys return home, they find their barn in flames, and Larabee is fingered as the likely culprit. At his trial, there are several surprising developments, which culminate in the judge ordering Larabee to recompense Jonathan for the value of his lost wheat crop. Larabee's wife takes their sons and leaves him.


Notes: This is Don "Red" Barry's sixth and final appearance as Judd Larrabee. Melissa Gilbert appears briefly but has no speaking lines.
110 21 "The Enchanted Cottage" William F. Claxton Don Balluck February 26, 1979 5022
Mary suddenly thinks she is able to see light, and everybody has hopes that she might soon recover her sight. She and Charles travel to visit the eye doctor for tests, while Adam struggles with the possibility of Mary regaining her vision and what that might mean for their future. An excited Laura recruits Albert to help her fix up Mr. Edward's old shack for Mary and Adam to live in. However, the eye doctor discovers that Mary is only experiencing a rare condition in which her senses perceive the heat in sunlight as light [now known as synesthesia]. Charles helps Mary come to terms with the shattering of her hopes, and when they are back in Walnut Grove Mary bravely does the same for a despondent Laura.
111 22 "Someone Please Love Me" William F. Claxton Michael Landon March 5, 1979 5017

During a horse-buying trip to Sleepy Eye, Charles meets up with Brett Harper, one of the state's best horse breeders. Harper's alcoholism has taken a deep toll on the family, which is coming apart because of the lack of a strong head of the household. Charles temporarily takes the role as the family man while he tries to sober Harper up, but his touch may have worked too well: Harper's wife and children like Charles better than drunken Brett (who had become that way after his son had died). Charles manages to convince his family that Brett is a good person, but needs to be sober to be so.


Note: An episode of Bonanza, titled "A Dream to Dream", had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Both episodes were written by Michael Landon. Michael Landon is the only member of the regular cast to appear.
112 23 "Mortal Mission" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan March 12, 1979 5023
When many Walnut Grove townsfolk, including Laura, Albert and Adam, become seriously ill after eating anthrax-infected mutton, the Blind School is turned into a makeshift hospital and morgue. Charles and Jonathan, among the few who have not fallen sick, rush to get Dr. Baker's urgently needed medical supplies from the railhead at Springfield, but after collecting them they are held up at gunpoint and robbed. As their families and friends in Walnut Grove become increasingly anxious, they set out to track down the thief and recover the vital medicines.
113 24 "The Odyssey" Michael Landon Carole & Michael Raschella March 19, 1979 5024
Laura and Albert's friend Dylan has a dream: to one day see the ocean, which he loves to paint pictures of. When Dylan discovers he is terminally ill, he sets out in pursuit of his dream, and Laura and Albert join him. The trio begin the journey west by jumping a ride on a train, but their problems are only just beginning. Charles manages to catch up with them, but the children persuade him to help Dylan realize his dream of seeing the ocean before he dies. In San Francisco, William Randolph Hearst, the famous American newspaper magnate, helps them get to the coast, and to get home.

Season 6 (1979–1980)[edit]

23 episodes, including a special (#123) format from three episodes

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
114 1 "Back to School (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 17, 1979 6001

A new school year in Walnut Grove begins with a brand-new teacher, Miss Eliza Jane Wilder, and with Nellie graduating. Laura also meets Eliza's brother Almanzo, who has a remarkable effect upon her, and she is overjoyed when Almanzo tells her they should have nicknames just for each other: "Manly" and "Beth". Nellie and her mother also have eyes on the handsome young farmer and hope that Nellie's new restaurant and hotel will attract his attention. Charles is badly injured in an accident at the mill and has to take time off work while he recovers, so Caroline takes the post of cook at Nellie's restaurant, where Nellie has refused to do the cooking. Later, Almanzo reluctantly has dinner with Nellie, who serves his favourite cinnamon chicken, but stand-in cook Laura has mischievously laced it with lots of cayenne pepper.


Note: The Wilders make their first appearances in this episode, with Dean Butler as Almanzo, and Lucy Lee Flippin as Eliza Jane.
115 2 "Back to School (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 24, 1979 6002
Caroline makes Laura apologize to Nellie and Almanzo. Deciding she wants to speed up becoming an adult, Laura tells her Pa to stop calling her 'Half-Pint', and asks to take her graduation exam early. Nellie gives Laura some bad advice and she fails the exam miserably. When Laura and Nellie end up fighting in a muddy pond, Almanzo takes Laura back to his place to clean up but he leaves Nellie in the mud, much to her annoyance. Nellie's misleading story leads to Charles punching Almanzo and Laura running off, before Charles finds out what really happened. After Laura talks with Caroline, who understands that she is in love with Almanzo, Laura makes up with her Pa and tells him he can still call her "Half-Pint".
116 3 "The Family Tree" William F. Claxton Vince Gutierrez October 1, 1979 6006
The school's latest project is to create a "family tree" documenting the history of the pupils' families, which causes Albert to remember his own dark past. He has become so attached to the Ingalls family that he asks Charles to adopt him. But first, they must face Albert's real father, Jeremiah Quinn, who wants a son who can help him on his farm. When they attend the court offices, Albert meets Mr. Quinn alone and feigns blindness in front of him. This causes Quinn to tell him he can stay with the Ingalls, which confirms to Albert that his father does not love him as Charles does.
117 4 "The Third Miracle" Michael Landon Kenneth Hunter October 8, 1979 6005

Laura and Albert work hard to harvest honey from a beehive after making a deal with Mr. Oleson, who said he would buy it at 30 cents a pound. Meanwhile, Adam wins a teaching award and must travel to Minneapolis to receive it, but they do not have enough money for the trip. Laura and Albert offer to sacrifice their earnings from selling the honey to cover most of the cost. Mr. Oleson is out of town on a buying trip, and Mrs. Oleson attempts to swindle the children by only offering them 15 cents a pound. Albert cleverly offers Mrs. Oleson their main beehive for the full amount promised, and she accepts. En route to Minneapolis, Mary, Adam and another woman are involved in a serious stagecoach accident due to a faulty wagon wheel. Mary is the only one who is able to seek help, since Adam is injured and the other lady in the stagecoach is pregnant and about to go into labor. While she is climbing up a hillside, her old glasses fall out of her pocket and the lenses magnify the sunlight and soon start a fire, which acts as a signal for Charles and Jonathan, who are searching for them. Meanwhile, Laura and Albert get Mrs. Oleson and Nellie to come pick up the hive (just a small nearby log full of bees), not telling them they're actually doing it during the time the bees are the most active and mean, causing them to get attacked on the way home.


Note: Leslie Landon appears in this episode as the other woman in the stagecoach. (She also appears in season one's "Plague", season three's "The Election", season eight's "A Wiser Heart", and joins the cast in season nine, as Etta Plum).
118 5 "Annabelle" William F. Claxton Del Reisman October 15, 1979 6003

When the circus comes to town, Nels discovers that his estranged obese sister, Annabelle, whom he was always ashamed of when they were kids, is the Fat Lady, and seeks to avoid anyone knowing this. When Annabelle visits the Blind School, Nels' shame is still apparent. Meanwhile, Laura becomes depressed when she goes to ask Almanzo to the circus, only to find out that he is already taking a rude, snobby and snooty young woman named Christie, for whom she has been mending a dress. When she delivers the dress five minutes late, Christie refuses to pay her the full amount, and Laura seeks revenge on the girl when she becomes a guest clown for the circus. Later at the circus, Nels announces [as the ring master] to all in attendance that Annabelle is his sister and how proud he is of her.


Guest star: Billy Barty
119 6 "The Preacher Takes A Wife" October 22, 1979 6007

Rev. Alden falls in love with a member of his congregation and marries her, but almost comes at a cost when Mrs. Oleson attempts to tear their relationship apart, distressing the Reverend to illness. Mrs. Oleson reports Rev. Alden to church leadership, but the tables turn when the minister representative (William Schallert) turns out to be her former fiancé, who broke their engagement when unable to commit to serving "both God and marriage".


Note: This would be the only episode showing Alden's married life as his wife would not appear in another series episode, leaving that plot hole ambiguous. She is mentioned in a later story ("The Faith Healer").
120 7 "The Halloween Dream" October 29, 1979 6011
Before going to a Halloween party at Nellie's dressed up as Indians, Albert and Laura take a nap because they will be staying up late. Albert has a dream in which they are mistaken for real Indians and taken to the camp of a tribe which believes Albert is the son of an Indian chief.
121 8 "The Return of Mr. Edwards" November 5, 1979 6004

Mr. Edwards has become prosperous owning a logging business. After Alicia brings him lunch, she is endangered by a falling tree, and although Edwards saves her, he is hit by the tree, badly injuring one of his legs. Having to use a crutch and fearing he is crippled for life and will be a burden to his family, he falls into severe depression. Grace writes to the Ingalls asking for their help. Charles and Laura travel to visit, and after Laura seems to revive Edwards' old spirit, he suggests a hunting trip for the three. However, it soon transpires that Edwards has other plans, and twice Charles has to stop Edwards from trying to commit suicide. In desperation, Charles pretends to have been injured in a gun accident, and Edwards has to walk out for help, shocking him back to his old, irascible self.


Notes: This is Victor French's first appearance on the show in two years (due to his commitment to his previous series, Carter Country). He will not appear on the show again until season eight. This is also Bonnie Bartlett's final appearance as Grace Snider Edwards. The character appears in season eight's "A Promise to Keep", but is played by Corinne Michaels.
122 9 "The King Is Dead" November 12, 1979 6010

An unscrupulous professional wrestling promoter persuades Jonathan to compete for a large money prize in his shady wrestling competition in Mankato. After Jonathan wins a rigged preliminary bout, many of the residents of Walnut Grove bet on Jonathan to win the final, including Mrs. Oleson who risks the money entrusted to her as treasurer for the church.


Note: Melissa Gilbert does not appear.
- Special #2 "The Little House Years" November 15, 1979 6680

In this three-hour special, the Ingalls family spends Thanksgiving reminiscing their past years in Walnut Grove (via clips from previous episodes).


Notes: Originally shown as a three-hour TV movie, depicting memorable episodes from the series, in syndication it is shown in three parts. This episode is not numbered as it was originally shown independently from the series. In the flashforward, Michael Landon's daughter Shawna Landon is the little girl running into the public library to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's third book, Little House on the Prairie.
123 10 "The Faith Healer" Maury Dexter Don Balluck November 19, 1979 6009
A traveling minister, Jacob Danforth, comes to Walnut Grove on a 'healing' crusade and attracts a large attendance at his meetings where some people make miraculous recoveries. Despite the death of a young local boy whom he had treated, Danforth is asked to replace Reverend Alden who prepares to leave. Then, on a business trip to Sleepy Eye, Charles discovers the truth about Danforth's methods, and Reverend Alden is persuaded to stay on.
124 11 "Author! Author!" William F. Claxton Carole and Michael Raschella November 26, 1979 6013

Caroline hears that her mother and father are coming for a visit, but her mother passes away during the train journey. Caroline's father, Frederick, is inconsolably distraught, until the family—enjoying his tales of when Caroline was young—persuade him to write his autobiography. Then Charles has the idea of trying to get it published. Meanwhile, Mary is heavily pregnant, and soon gives birth to Charles' and Caroline's first grandson, Adam Charles Holbrook Kendall.


Note: Laura's voice-over during the final scene relates that "Grandpa Holbrook" passed on two years later.
125 12 "Crossed Connections" Michael Landon Don Balluck December 10, 1979 6008
The telephone comes to Walnut Grove when Harriet Oleson buys the local franchise, and, as the switchboard operator, Harriet listens in on all the phone conversations. Jonathan Garvey has recently inherited some money and has a phone installed as a surprise for his wife. However, Harriet overhears a secret from Alice Garvey's past and broadcasts it, which causes problems for the Garveys and sends Jonathan on a quest to Minneapolis. Albert and Laura get the help of the bank manager, Mr. Anderson, in teaching Harriet an expensive lesson, which includes Harriet giving her share of Olsen's Mercantile to Nels, making him the sole owner.
126 13 "The Angry Heart" William F. Claxton Del Reisman December 17, 1979 6012
A teenage boy, Tod Dortmunder, comes to Walnut Grove from Chicago to live with his grandparents when his mother can no longer tolerate his ill-tempered behavior. After he steals Charles' pocket watch and strikes his grandfather, Charles offers to help reform Tod by having him work on his farm. When Tod has repaid his debt and prepares to leave for San Francisco, Charles gives him a gift for his hard work: a blue shirt; but it triggers his horrible memories of abuse from his father and he angrily rips it up. Charles helps Tod face and then let go of his past, and he comes to realize the importance of needing someone in his life and he makes peace with his grandparents.
127 14 "The Werewolf of Walnut Grove" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan January 7, 1980 6014
A new pupil, Bart, bullies Miss Wilder, the schoolteacher, and the other children, especially Albert. When the school board fails to back her, Miss Wilder fears she will have to leave, and Almanzo tells Laura he will be leaving with his sister. So Laura helps the resourceful Albert in an attempt to bring down the bully by creating a papier-mâché werewolf costume, and it nearly succeeds until Carrie unwittingly exposes their prank. Now desperate to prevent Almanzo leaving, Laura rallies all the children to act together to gang up on Bart and fight back when he next picks on one of them. Bruised, Bart apologizes to Miss Wilder and promises to change his ways. Laura is happy that Almanzo will also be staying.
128 15 "What Ever Happened to The Class of '56?" Michael Landon John T. Dugan January 14, 1980 6015

Charles is elected to represent the farmers of Hero Township at a Grange convention in Milwaukee to consider a proposal that farming machinery should be bought directly from manufacturers, saving money for the farmers. At the same time, Caroline gets an invitation to the 25th Reunion Party of her school class of 1856 in the same city, so Charles and Caroline travel there together. They find that some of their old classmates have become financially prosperous, and are on the other side of the proposal by the Grange. However, they are saddened by the state of some of the marriages of their old friends. When they return home, they agree that they are the ones who are really successful and prosperous, with their family in their 'Little House'.


Note: Caroline's former classmates refer to her as "Caroline Quiner", as they knew her at school. Frederick Holbrook, who was seen in the episode 'Author! Author!' and referred to as her father, was actually her step-father, after her father died when she was five.
129 16 "Darkness Is My Friend" Michael Landon Vince R. Gutierrez January 21, 1980 6016
Adam travels with Hester-Sue, Caroline and Harriet to Redwood Falls to apply for state funding for the blind school. As they will be away overnight, Laura goes to stay with Mary. During the night, Laura and Mary are taken hostage by a trio of escaped convicts, one of whom has a gunshot wound sustained during their escape. When Laura is sent to get a doctor, she goes home and tells her Pa what has happened. Charles goes to the school and poses as Doc Baker, and he manages to overcome the villains. When Adam returns, saying they were refused the funding, Charles finds a good use for the reward money he has received for the recapture of the convicts.
130 17 "Silent Promises" Maury Dexter Carole and Michael Raschella January 28, 1980 6017
Laura offers to teach sign language to a deaf boy, Daniel, and his father. Daniel makes good progress, and then he suddenly tells Laura he loves her. She does not feel the same but, when she sees Almanzo with yet another lady-friend, she considers seeking consolation with Daniel. A talk with her Pa helps her to decide that honesty will be best for both her and Daniel. Meanwhile, Albert builds a doghouse for Bandit, who seems not to understand its purpose.
131 18 "May We Make Them Proud" Michael Landon Michael Landon February 4, 1980 6018

The 1st Annual Charity Picnic is held at The Harriet Oleson Institute for the Advancement of Blind Children to raise funds to extend the building. Albert and a friend named Clay experiment with smoking a pipe in the basement and accidentally start a fire, which destroys the building and claims the lives of Alice Garvey and Adam Jr. Afterwards, Mary is in deep shock and denial that her baby has gone, so Adam goes to New York to find specialist help for her and to look for a new teaching post. Albert struggles with feelings of guilt, while Jonathan Garvey starts to drink alcohol, blaming God for his wife's death. Later, a gift from Albert to Mary awakens her memory of the fire and the loss of her baby, and her screams frighten Albert into running away. Charles and Jonathan set out to discover the truth about the fire and to track down Albert, and it is Jonathan who convinces Albert that it wasn't his fault that the two had died. Adam returns from New York to announce that his father has offered to finance the rebuilding of the school, and has insisted that it be named "The Alice Garvey and Adam Kendall Jr. School for The Blind". As they unveil the plaque, Adam says "May we make them proud."


Notes: Originally shown as a two-hour episode, in syndication, it is shown over two episodes. This is the final appearance of Hersha Parady as Alice Garvey.
132 19 "Wilder and Wilder" Maury Dexter John T. Dugan February 11, 1980 6020
Almanzo's wandering younger brother, Perley Day, comes to stay, and Charles hopes Laura's feelings will shift to him, until it emerges that he is a troublemaker. But Laura's dreams are still firmly focussed on Almanzo, whom Charles begins to see in a new light. Meanwhile, Albert falls for a new girl in town, but she only has eyes for Andy.
133 20 "Second Spring" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan February 18, 1980 6021
Charles is in trouble with Caroline after forgetting their wedding anniversary. Nels decides he has had enough of his henpecked family life and begins selling Mercantile wares on the road. Along the way, he takes lodgings in Tracy and meets a beautiful Irish woman named Molly. The two begin a wonderful friendship, and they learn they have real feelings for each other. Nels finds himself fighting temptation and infidelity, complicated by Charles accidentally catching him kissing a woman who is not his wife. Eventually, Nels tells Molly he is married and that they cannot see each other anymore. Nels goes home where he and Harriet make up.
134 21 "Sweet Sixteen" Michael Landon John T. Dugan February 25, 1980 6022
The school district's superintendent comes to Walnut Grove, looking for someone who can replace a teacher who has fallen and broken her leg. Eliza Jane recommends Laura, despite her being two weeks short of the minimum age of 16, and she passes her teacher's exam and is given her teacher's certificate and the position. Almanzo drives her to the town where she will teach and stay with the injured teacher. When Almanzo sees her after her first week, he begins to think he may have romantic feelings for Laura, which confuses him. So he invites Laura to a church social and is taken aback when she says she'll think about it. Later, through a misunderstanding, he punches one of her pupils and then thinks that Laura won't like him anymore. But Charles explains to Laura that Almanzo acted out of jealousy, which means that he is now returning her feelings for him. So Laura seeks him out at the church social, and they share their first kiss on her 16th birthday.
135 22 "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon May 5, 1980 6023

Almanzo proposes to Laura, who accepts, but Charles insists that they should not marry until Laura is eighteen. Almanzo refuses to accept this, and tells Laura he plans to leave Walnut Grove and asks her to defy her father and go with him, but she refuses. The Olesons hire Percival Dalton to improve the operation of Nellie's failing restaurant and hotel but, even when it is temporarily renamed "Caroline's Restaurant and Hotel", Nellie stubbornly refuses to learn. Only when Percival tells her she is pretty does she soften and start to cooperate. As construction of the new school for the blind is progressing, Adam gets the news that his father has died, and when he and Laura go to New York they learn that his father's entire estate has been wiped out by his heavy debts and cannot now finance the new school building. However, as they return through Sleepy Eye, Laura spots an old courthouse building available for rent. Having learned that Almanzo is working in Sleepy Eye, Caroline suggests Laura go there to help set up the new blind school.


Note: This is the first appearance of Percival Dalton (Steve Tracy) and Houston Lamb (Dub Taylor).
136 23 "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon May 12, 1980 6024
Laura goes to Sleepy Eye to help Mary and Adam get the new blind school ready. Almanzo visits her, but their talk turns into another argument. However, Almanzo takes a second job so that he can secretly pay the shortfall of rent for the blind school, persuading Houston the caretaker to tell Laura that the landlord has reduced the rent. Then Laura sees Almanzo in town with a saloon girl and thinks he has found a new girlfriend. Later, through working two jobs, Almanzo becomes gravely ill with pneumonia. Charles finds out the whole story and tells Laura. She goes to care for Almanzo and, with the matter of the 'other woman' cleared up, they make up. After Almanzo's recovery, Charles tells him and Laura they must wait one year [rather than two] before they get married. Meanwhile, under Percival's tutelage, Nellie learns to cook and be pleasant to her customers, and when he is about to leave she tells Percival she loves him. After her earlier insults, it is what Percival has been waiting for, and they get married the next day.

Season 7 (1980–1981)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
137 1 "Laura Ingalls Wilder (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 22, 1980 7052

Six months before their planned wedding, Almanzo buys land from a Mr. Gray for a farm for him and Laura, but he agrees to a harsh deal that he must pay off the mortgage by a deadline or lose the title. When there is a drought, Gray, who owns the neighbouring farm, dams the stream which also waters Almanzo's land, thereby threatening Almanzo's crop and his ability to meet the deal. Eliza Jane falls in love with Harve Miller (James Cromwell), a friend of Almanzo's who has come to live in Walnut Grove. Laura begins teaching at the Walnut Grove school, but Almanzo strongly objects to the idea of her teaching after they are married, insisting that he will provide for them and will not want her to go out to work. Nellie finds out that she is pregnant, which comes as a shock to her mother.


Notes: "Steve Tracy as Percival Dalton" now appears in the opening credits, but they still show "Nellie Oleson" despite her marriage which made her Mrs. Percival Dalton. The Victrola record player seen in the Wilders' house was actually not marketed until 1906, over twenty years after Laura was married.
138 2 "Laura Ingalls Wilder (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon September 29, 1980 7053

When the drought continues, Almanzo loses his crop and the land. Laura suggests she take the teaching position in Radnor to help them earn money for a new farm, but Almanzo still objects and postpones the wedding. After another argument, Laura breaks their engagement. The relationship of Eliza Jane and Harve seems to blossom, but when she tells him she loves him, he reveals he is in love with someone else. The loss of her dream incites Eliza Jane to strike out for a new life elsewhere and to bring Laura and Almanzo back together by allowing Laura to take the teaching job in Walnut Grove, along with the house which goes with it. Almanzo agrees, and he and Laura are married at the Blind School in Sleepy Eye.


Note: In real life, Laura and Almanzo were married August 25, 1885 in DeSmet, South Dakota when she was 18 and he was 28. Grace was then 8 years old, but is only 3 here, and Carrie was 15, but is only about 10 here. The real Laura's teaching career ended when she married.
139 3 "A New Beginning" William F. Claxton John T. Dugan October 6, 1980 7054

Trying to start a new life after Alice's death, Jonathan moves to Sleepy Eye and buys a freight business. Jonathan helps Andy resolve his feeling that Mary and Adam are to blame for his mother's death. The fledgling business quickly becomes the target of robbers, and Jonathan becomes a deputy to support the sheriff in dealing with the villains. With help from Charles, Jonathan catches the ringleaders, but then Andy is beaten up by the gang, and the repercussions lead to a violent and tragic outcome.


Note: Melissa Gilbert and Karen Grassle do not appear.
140 4 "Fight Team Fight!" Michael Landon Don Balluck October 13, 1980 7056
Former college football star Pete Ellerbee comes to Walnut Grove to coach the town's football team and to encourage his son in being a footballer. Albert joins the team and is inspired by Ellerbee's stirring pep-talks about teamwork, responsibility and doing your best. Ellerbee's real goal is just to win, which for him proves manhood and pride, but his demands upon the boys' time leads him to a confrontation with Laura as their teacher. Soon, Albert and the others find football is not so much fun, and when Ellerbee's single-mindedness endangers Albert's well-being, Charles has to step in. Albert then decides that his priority is his studies and that for him football should be for fun.
141 5 "The Silent Cry" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 20, 1980 7051

Houston, the cantankerous caretaker at the Blind School, tries to help two orphaned boys. The younger one, Josh (David Faustino), has not spoken since his arrival at the orphanage in Sleepy Eye, making him unappealing to a potential adoptive couple, but his older brother, Michael, refuses to be separated from him, so they run away, and Jonathan, as deputy, spends much time searching for them. Houston hides the boys, and they become attached to him and he wants to adopt them, but is told that would not be possible for him. However, his impassioned intervention on behalf of the boys produces a change in Josh which changes the minds of the couple previously wanting to adopt only Michael, and they agree to take Josh too.


Notes: An episode of Bonanza, titled "The Sound of Sadness", had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Both episodes were written by Michael Landon. Melissa Gilbert and Karen Grassle do not appear.
142 6 "Portrait of Love" William F. Claxton Michael Landon October 27, 1980 7055

A young, talented painter named Annie Crane (Madeleine Stowe) is the talk of the town for her talent, despite having lost her sight in early childhood. An art exhibitor is impressed by Annie's work and arranges for her pictures to be publicized. Annie's birth mother realizes who she is and tries to arrange a meeting, but Annie refuses, embittered by memories of being abandoned by her as a child. Caroline intervenes to bring about a reconciliation. Meanwhile, with Nellie's permission, Percival confronts his mother-in-law over her interference in their lives by her over-protectiveness of Nellie.


Note: Melissa Gilbert appears briefly but has no speaking part.
143 7 "Divorce, Walnut Grove Style" Michael Landon Don Balluck November 10, 1980 7057

Laura and Almanzo clash again over their different aspirations for their marriage, and this is aggravated when Laura comes to believe that Almanzo is having an affair with one of his former girlfriends, Brenda Sue. Laura returns to her family, saying she wants to leave Almanzo, and even picks a fight with Brenda Sue. Mrs. Oleson seems to enjoy spreading the bad news, but Charles and Caroline help to bring Laura and Almanzo back together. Meanwhile, Charles has his own problems with Laura as he tries to fit a new picture window in the house.


Note: The episode title is a play on the 1970s series Love, American Style.
144 8 "Dearest Albert, I'll Miss You" Michael Landon Michael Landon November 17, 1980 7059

As part of a school project, Albert becomes pen pals with a girl in Minneapolis named Leslie [Suzy Gilstrap]. Both of them fabricate stories about themselves to appear more attractive to the other: Albert postures as a tall athlete, while Leslie portrays herself as a ballerina and hides her paraplegia which confines her to a wheelchair. When Albert falls in love with her, he determines to see her by accompanying Charles when he travels to a Grange meeting in Minneapolis but, when his father refuses, Albert resorts to desperate measures.


Note: Suzy Gilstrap (age 14 at the time of filming) is a real-life paraplegic (as a result of a tree branch falling on her and breaking her back at the age of 11 as she was crouched down feeding some ducks).
145 9 "The In-laws" William F. Claxton Don Balluck November 24, 1980 7058
At the suggestion of Jonathan Garvey, who has more business than he can cope with, Charles and Almanzo agree to start their own freight business from Walnut Grove to Sleepy Eye, and they decide to call it 'Ingalls and Wilder'. However, they disagree when Almanzo suggests that there might be a shortcut to get to Sleepy Eye more quickly than the usual route, so the two decide to have a race to see who is right.
146 10 "To See the Light (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon December 1, 1980 7060
After being caught in an explosion at Jonathan Garvey's freight warehouse, Adam regains his sight and revives his ambition to be a lawyer like his father. When he gets the opportunity to take the entrance test for law school, Adam studies with such commitment that he neglects his teaching duties, and is unaware of Mary's misgivings. This worries Mary, who starts to believe Adam will not want to stay with a blind wife now that he has rejoined the world of the sighted. Meanwhile, Nels and Percival are both concerned about their wives' eating habits.
147 11 "To See the Light (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon December 8, 1980 7061

Adam eventually travels to Minneapolis to take the entrance examinations for law school, but late one night he is assaulted and robbed by hoodlums. Although he recovers temporarily, he then falls seriously ill, causing him to miss the final examinations. Fortunately, a friend he has made allows him to stay at his house and be attended by his doctor. When they hear, Mary and Charles travel to see Adam, and Mary, trying to make up for her previous lack of support for Adam's ambition, persuades the college professor to allow him to complete his examinations, and Adam wins a scholarship to study law.


Historical note: The west-coast feed of this episode was interrupted near its end by an NBC news bulletin which announced John Lennon had been shot.
148 12 "Oleson Versus Oleson" William F. Claxton Chris Abbott January 5, 1981 7062

A female campaigner for the equal rights of married women comes to Walnut Grove, looking for signatures on a petition to be submitted to the state legislature. The men are all reluctant to sign, including Nels, who is in the middle of another big disagreement with Harriet. Charles and Almanzo also oppose it, even though they believe in equality and joint ownership in their own marriages. So Caroline moves out of the house and organizes other wives in a mass 'walk out' from their matrimonial duties. Eventually, the husbands, led by Charles, decide that they can support the petition, and marital peace and harmony is restored.

Notes: The opening credits, which have previously continued to describe the now-married Mrs. Nellie Dalton as "Nellie Oleson", now simply refer to her as "Nellie". The campaigner is called Elizabeth Smith, which was also the name of a real-life advocate and financial supporter of the women's rights movement in the nineteenth century. Also in reality, the state of Minnesota passed a law to allow married women to own property in their own name in 1869, and after 1874 they could own a trade license.
149 13 "Come, Let Us Reason Together" Michael Landon Carole & Michael Raschella January 12, 1981 7063

When Percival's parents visit Walnut Grove for the birth of Nellie's baby, Percival reveals that his real name is Isaac Cohen, much to Harriet's consternation. Percival's father, Benjamin, is passionately and devoutly Jewish, which brings him into conflict with Harriet and her Christian beliefs, especially over the question of which religion the new baby will be raised in. Nels brokers a truce between Benjamin and Harriet with the suggestion that a boy should be raised in the Jewish faith and a girl should be raised as a Christian. When Nellie gives birth, she unexpectedly has twins, a girl and a boy, so Nellie and Percival agree to raise their son Benjamin as Jewish and their daughter Jennifer as a Christian.


Notes: The episode title comes from Isaiah 1:18 of the Bible. Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert do not appear in this episode.
150 14 "The Nephews" William F. Claxton Chris Abbott January 19, 1981 7064

Almanzo's elder brother Royal (Woody Eney) and his wife Millie visit Walnut Grove, and they leave their two young sons in the care of Almanzo and Laura, while Royal and his wife go away on a vacation. Royal's wife believes a parent should never say 'No' to a child, and their boys' constant mischief tries the patience of Almanzo and Laura, who are determined to adopt a different parenting style with their own children.


Notes: This is the first appearance of Royal Wilder. His wife announces that she is pregnant, and the child, Jenny, appears in season nine ("...A New Beginning"). Karen Grassle does not appear in this episode.
151 15 "Make a Joyful Noise" William F. Claxton Kathleen McGhee-Anderson January 26, 1981 7065

Joe Kagen gives up his farm and moves to Sleepy Eye to work with Jonathan Garvey in his freight business and hoping to persuade Hester-Sue to marry him. However, although she has feelings for Joe, he reminds her of her shiftless and unfaithful ex-husband, and she has plans to marry a successful local businessman. Joe starts doing odd jobs at the blind school, and he befriends and helps a blind boy called Timothy (Keith Mitchell) who has failed to respond to Hester-Sue. When she sees the change in Timothy, she calls off her wedding, and tells Joe there might be a chance for them yet.


Notes: The episode title comes from Psalm 66 of the Bible. Melissa Gilbert and Karen Grassle do not appear in this episode.
152 16 "Goodbye, Mrs. Wilder" William F. Claxton Don Balluck February 2, 1981 7066
An official from the Board of Education visits to assess the Walnut Grove school for state funding and he suggests that the curriculum should be extended. At a subsequent town meeting, Laura clashes with Mrs. Oleson over what changes should be made and, when Mr. Oleson abstains and the meeting votes against her, Laura resigns and challenges Mrs. Oleson to take over the teaching, a task she gleefully accepts. She introduces lessons in French and art appreciation, and also a dress code, to the consternation of most pupils and many parents. Albert organizes a class rebellion against the innovations, but Laura admonishes them and surprises Mrs. Oleson by speaking up in her favour. However, when the state official returns, he says the funding will only be provided if the new curriculum subjects are those Laura wanted, so Mrs. Oleson steps down and Laura is reinstated as the teacher.
153 17 "Sylvia (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon February 9, 1981 7067
A new girl in town, petite but buxom Sylvia Webb (Olivia Barash), gets some unwelcome attention from the older boys at school, but her father and Mrs. Oleson both accuse her of leading the boys on. Albert spends lots of time with her and they fall in love. Then Sylvia is sexually assaulted in the woods by a masked assailant, but Mr. Webb, fearful of the townspeople's reaction, insists she keep it a secret. Later, Sylvia collapses at school, and Albert and Laura take her to Doc Baker who discovers that she is pregnant. When Sylvia and her father refuse to explain, Albert comes under suspicion.
154 18 "Sylvia (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon February 16, 1981 7068
Sylvia's father decides that they must leave Walnut Grove. Mrs. Oleson spreads the news around the town, suggesting that Albert is the father. Sylvia and Albert meet secretly and make plans to run away and get married. To raise money, Albert gets a job with the town's blacksmith (Richard Jaeckel). When Mr. Webb finds out that Sylvia is still seeing Albert, he grabs his shotgun and goes to the Ingalls' house. They manage to convince him that Albert did not make Sylvia pregnant, but Sylvia has run off. As they search for her, Mr. Webb shoots and kills the mystery rapist when he attacks Albert, but Sylvia suffers a bad fall, and she later dies in the arms of a distraught, heartbroken Albert.
155 19 "Blind Justice" Maury Dexter Carole & Michael Raschella February 23, 1981 7069

Adam returns to Sleepy Eye, having completed his studies and become a lawyer, but a promised job at a local law firm falls through. Adam and Mary decide to leave the blind school in the care of Hester-Sue, and they return to Walnut Grove, where Adam opens a law firm of his own. He takes on as his first client a man accused of fraud, after the failure of a land investment deal resulted in many of the citizens of Walnut Grove losing their money. The initially angry and violent reaction from the townsfolk changes when the full story emerges at his trial.


Note: Adam passed his entrance examination for law school in "To See the Light (Part 2)".
156 20 "I Do, Again" William F. Claxton Don Balluck March 2, 1981 7070

When Laura announces that she is expecting a baby, Caroline says that she is also. Later, she finds out from Doc Baker that she is not expecting but is experiencing an early menopause and cannot have any more children. She falls into depression, so Charles, himself heartbroken upon learning that he will never have the chance of another natural son, takes Caroline on a trip to Wisconsin for the wedding of the son of an old friend, and there they decide to renew their own wedding vows.


Note: Laura and Almanzo now have a telephone in their house.
157 21 "The Lost Ones (Part 1)" Michael Landon Don Balluck May 4, 1981 7071

Charles and Albert go on a delivery run for Jonathan Garvey, and they travel with the Cooper family (parents Alvin and Sarah, 11-years-old James and 8-years-old Cassandra) who are on their way to join Alvin's Uncle Jed on a gold claim. Encountering a steep hill, Charles and Albert (with James and Cassandra in the back of their wagon) descend safely, but Alvin loses control of his wagon which overturns, killing him and Sarah instantly. When the children's Uncle Jed (E.J. Andre) tells Charles he is too old to take care of them, Charles feels he has a responsibility to find a new home for them. After exploring various possibilities, Charles is persuaded by Albert to take the children back to Walnut Grove to search for a foster family there.


Notes: Jason Bateman and Missy Francis join the cast as James and Cassandra Cooper. This is the final appearance of Jonathan Garvey (Merlin Olsen and Andy Garvey Patrick Laborteaux). Melissa Gilbert and Karen Grassle do not appear in this episode.
158 22 "The Lost Ones (Part 2)" Michael Landon Don Balluck May 11, 1981 7072

James and Cassandra settle in happily with the Ingalls family. Then Rev. Alden finds a family who agree to take in the orphans, but the husband, Isaiah Tompkins, is a harsh man who works the children to exhaustion, resulting in Laura warning them that they are failing at school. Also, the Tompkins' own son bitterly resents their arrival and sets up James for an unjust whipping. Eventually, James and Cassandra run away, and after Mr. Tompkins declines to help in searching for them, Charles sets off with Almanzo and Adam. When he finds James and Cassandra, he tells them that they will be going home with him, and they joyfully agree.

Notes: The film Love's Unending Legacy—co-executive produced by Michael Landon, Jr.—uses a similar theme from this episode. This is the final appearance for Steve Tracy as Percival Dalton. Alison Arngrim as Nellie does not appear again until "The Return of Nellie" in season nine.

Season 8 (1981–1982)[edit]

This is Michael Landon and Karen Grassle's final season, and also Victor French's return season.

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
160 1 "The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 5, 1981 8402

Nellie and Percival move to New York City to run Percival's family's store after the death of his father. Then Adam and Mary also move there when Adam takes a position at his late father's law firm. The blind school in Sleepy Eye has been taken under the control of the state, so Hester Sue moves to Walnut Grove to help Caroline run the restaurant and hotel. Harriet becomes very depressed, and Doc Baker suggests she and Nels adopt, but it takes a visit from Cassandra to revive Harriet's spirits. At the orphanage in Sleepy Eye, Harriet's wish is realized when she finds a young girl named Nancy who reminds her of Nellie and of Harriet herself as a child. Nancy quickly causes trouble at the school in Walnut Grove, but Laura has already worked out that Nancy is another Nellie.


Note: This is the first appearance of Allison Balson as Nancy Oleson.
161 2 "The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 12, 1981 8403
Nancy tricks her new brother Willie into locking a classroom rival in the ice-house all night. She convinces Doc Baker and the Olesons that she was not responsible, but Albert and Willie work out the truth and foil her plot. Later, the adults learn that Nancy's account that she had been recently abandoned by her mother was untrue, and that her mother actually died while giving birth to Nancy, and she had since been moved from orphanage to orphanage because of her incorrigible behavior. Eventually, Laura and the other school-children scheme together to play a trick on Nancy at the school's charity bazaar and seem to succeed in teaching her a lesson.
162 3 "Growin' Pains" Maury Dexter Larry Bischof October 19, 1981 8401
Charles and Caroline are finding life stressful trying to bring up five children in their crowded house, and Albert is not enjoying being an older brother to James who is having problems trying to fit into the family. After James is caught out in a lie and having stolen from the Mercantile, he runs away from home. Albert goes after him and, using some reverse psychology, tells him that he is running away too. During a severe thunderstorm, the two take refuge in an old house where they receive an unexpected welcome, and they settle their differences and return home.
163 4 "Dark Sage" Maury Dexter Vince Gutierrez October 26, 1981 8405

Doc Baker hires a highly qualified doctor named Caleb Ledoux, but is disconcerted to discover that he is black. Despite a friendly welcome from the Ingalls, other citizens are diffident or openly hostile, while Doc Baker gives his new assistant only menial tasks. Eventually, when Doc Baker is unavailable for a call, Charles has to resort to desperate measures to enable Dr. Ledoux to attend to a pregnant mother experiencing complications during childbirth. Ledoux safely delivers the baby, but angrily decides he will never be accepted in the town and plans to leave. When Doc Baker makes an impassioned plea at the next church service and is supported by the congregation, Dr. Ledoux decides to stay.


Note: Melissa Gilbert appears briefly but has no speaking role.
164 5 "A Wiser Heart" Michael Landon Chris Abbott November 2, 1981 8404

Laura is invited by Eliza Jane to attend a college class on 'Great American Writers' in Arizona, and on the train she meets a man, Mort, who is going to the same class and who takes a liking to Eliza Jane. However, she only has eyes for their class professor, but he causes problems between the two women when he propositions Laura. To pay her way, Laura has to work long hours as a dishwasher. Later, Eliza Jane is dismayed when she finds out the truth about the professor, but when Mort stands up for Laura against the professor, Eliza Jane says she will support Mort's application for a vacant teaching post at her school in Minneapolis, and they leave together on the train.
Guest star: Leslie Landon as Pam, the other dishwasher.

Note: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle do not appear.
165 6 "Gambini the Great" Michael Landon Jeri Taylor November 9, 1981 8406
Most of the people of Walnut Grove, including Harriet Oleson, are excited by the arrival of Gambini the Great (Jack Kruschen), an aging circus daredevil, but when Albert and Willie try to replicate some of his stunts, Charles and Nels are not impressed. Albert starts to spend all his spare time training with Gambini, but is brought down to earth when one of the daredevil's most dangerous stunts goes wrong.
166 7 "The Legend of Black Jake" Michael Landon Chris Abbott November 16, 1981 8407
This is a comedy episode, in which Nels is kidnapped by a pair of bumbling criminals who demand a $100 ransom, which Harriet refuses to pay. Nels then plots his own escape and his revenge upon Harriet, which gets out of hand when it leads to several other members of the community also being kidnapped.
167 8 "Chicago" Michael Landon John Hawkins & B.W. Sandefur November 23, 1981 8411

Charles visits grief-stricken Mr. Edwards in Chicago after his adopted son John Jr. dies in an apparent street accident. Working with Callahan (M. Emmet Walsh), deputy editor of the newspaper John Jr. was working for, their enquiries rouse their suspicions over the circumstances of his death, and lead them to uncover political and business corruption which John Jr. was investigating. It becomes clear that John Jr. was murdered, and Charles and Edwards and Callahan bring the villains to justice.


Guest star: Ernie Hudson as a ditch worker
168 9 "For the Love of Nancy" Maury Dexter Chris Abbott November 30, 1981 8408

When Mrs. Oleson leaves town for a week on a buying trip for the Mercantile, Nancy again feels that everybody hates her so she gets in being nasty first, including fighting with Cassandra. Then an obesely overweight boy, Elmer, joins the school and is teased by his classmates, but he is a bright student and Nancy exploits his attraction to her. Albert and Willie see what she is doing and get her into trouble with Laura, but Nancy blames Elmer who decides to quit school, so the boys have to put things right.


Note: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle do not appear in this episode.
169 10 "Wave of the Future" Maury Dexter Jeri Taylor December 7, 1981 8409

With Caroline and Hester Sue run off their feet at the restaurant, Harriet signs up with a franchise which promises greater efficiency and more profit, and the restaurant is renamed "Mrs. Sullivan's Kitchen". Unfortunately, Harriet has not read the small print in the contract, and the onerous conditions result in everyone's life becoming even more busy. When Charles reluctantly has to take over the cooking at home, he gets together with Nels to work on a plan to release Harriet from her contract and get things back to normal.


Note: The character in a white suit and hat in the final scene (credited as "Bearded Man") making a "business proposition" to Harriet is clearly a humorous allusion to Harlan "Colonel" Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. (While clearly meant as a joke, technically this is an anachronism as Colonel Sanders was not born until 1890, and Kentucky Fried Chicken would not be founded until midway through the next century.)
170 11 "A Christmas They Never Forgot" Michael Landon Don Balluck December 21, 1981 8410

Adam and Mary make a surprise visit to Walnut Grove for Christmas. They arrive with Hester Sue and join the family with Laura and Almanzo. Soon after, a fierce blizzard snows them in, and they all have to stay the night. Caroline, Almanzo, Laura and Hester Sue recall Christmas memories from when they were children.


Note: Melissa Sue Anderson and Linwood Boomer make their final appearances. Victor French's "special guest" appearance is an excerpt from the original 1974 pilot film.
171 12 "No Beast So Fierce" Michael Landon Carole and Michael Raschella January 4, 1982 8412
James makes friends with Gideon (Peter Billingsley), a new young boy in school who stutters, but then Gideon catches James joining in the laughter at Willie's pretend stutter, and a distraught Gideon runs away from home. While the townspeople search for him, Charles takes James along on a shipping trip to Minneapolis. A feral wolfdog takes a liking to James and tags along throughout their journey. Caroline finds Gideon and persuades him to go home, and the wolfdog plays a key role in resolving the rift between James and Gideon.
172 13 "Stone Soup" Maury Dexter Peter Dixon January 18, 1982 8413
Laura and Almanzo have invested all their money in trees for an orchard. Then Almanzo joins Charles in a well-paid job hauling mining equipment to Arizona which takes them away for two months. Laura has a serious talk to Willie about responsibility, which he takes seriously, particularly after Laura (now five months pregnant) collapses from heat stroke trying to save the orchard during a heatwave. When Caroline tells the story of "Stone Soup" at school, Willie and Albert enlist their classmates to help the local farmers deal with the drought, starting with Laura and Almanzo's orchard.
173 14 "The Legacy" Michael Landon Vince R. Gutierrez January 25, 1982 8414

Charles and a friend, Jack Prescott, deliver some tables, hand-made by Charles, to a store in Minneapolis, for which Charles makes a few "as a hobby". After Jack dies suddenly on the return trip, Charles decides he wants to do something to be remembered for, and he agrees to move to the city to work full-time on producing the tables for a trial period before selling the farm and moving the entire family. Things go well at first, until a big furniture manufacturer copies the table and under-prices them, and sales dry up. Charles decides that his greatest legacy will be his children. But later, one of his tables with his 'CI' mark is bought as a prized antique at an auction in 1982.


Note: Melissa Gilbert does not appear.
174 15 "Uncle Jed" Maury Dexter Don Balluck February 1, 1982 8415
James and Cassandra's grand-uncle Jed comes to Walnut Grove to visit them. He is now wealthy, having finally hit a big gold strike, and a donation to pay for a new roof for the church makes him popular in town. He also gets along well with James and Cassandra, so he decides that he can now offer them a home with him in Minneapolis. When the children choose to stay with the Ingalls, Jed reluctantly resorts to the law to gain custody. But then he finds out that his health is failing, so he tells the children he will let them stay with the Ingalls.
175 16 "Second Chance" Maury Dexter Don Balluck February 8, 1982 8416

Hester Sue's ex-husband Sam Terhune comes to Walnut Grove claiming he has reformed himself from his drinking and gambling and wants a second chance with her. Although she is initially suspicious and cautious, Hester Sue eventually gives in to her feeling that she still loves him, and it is not long before they plan to re-marry. However, on the wedding day, some surprise visitors show up, and Hester Sue sadly realizes that, despite his good intentions, Sam has not changed. But Hester Sue now has, and she forgives him.


Note: Melissa Gilbert and Dean Butler appear briefly but have no speaking roles.
176 17 "Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 1)" Michael Landon Don Balluck February 15, 1982 8417
When Almanzo becomes ill with diphtheria, he begins worrying about the condition of his crops. During a hailstorm, he rushes outside in a panic and suffers a stroke. In the aftermath, he bitterly resigns himself to life as a 'cripple'.
177 18 "Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 2)" Michael Landon Chris Abbott February 22, 1982 8418

Almanzo grows more and more depressed after his stroke. He refuses to take therapy and even the birth of his daughter, Rose, doesn't help. Making things worse is meddlesome Eliza Jane, who plans to care for her brother and get him a "less stressful job" in Minneapolis. But soon after, Laura is injured in a tornado, and becomes angry when she finds out that her house was ruined as well. Almanzo sees her anger and decides to rebuild the house. (Almanzo is soon able to walk again, but is not seen recovering after this episode.)


Note: This is the final appearance of Lucy Lee Flippin as Eliza Jane.
178 19 "A Promise to Keep" Michael Landon Vince R. Gutierrez March 1, 1982 8419

Laura and Almanzo's new house is completed and he has fully recovered his health. Then Mr. Edwards returns to Walnut Grove, but he hides that his marriage to Grace has failed because of his relapse into alcoholism. When he drunkenly causes an accident that nearly kills Albert, Charles angrily tells his old friend to leave town. However, Laura persuades him to stay, and he works on the farm with Almanzo and sobers up. But after more bad news, Mr. Edwards ends up in church where he prays and talks to Rev. Alden, who brings about a reconciliation with Charles. Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose is baptized and Mr. Edwards becomes her godfather.


Notes: Corinne Michaels appears as Grace Snider Edwards, replacing Bonnie Bartlett. (Michaels also appears in season four's "My Ellen", playing Eloise Taylor.) Although the real-life Almanzo lived to be 92, he never fully recovered his strength and had to walk with a cane.
179 20 "A Faraway Cry" Maury Dexter Teleplay by Don Balluck; Story by Pamela Balluck and Don Balluck March 8, 1982 8420

Caroline responds to a plea for help from a childhood friend, Louisa, by travelling with Doc Baker to a mining camp where there is an outbreak of influenza. Louisa is pregnant and desperately ill, with a cruel husband, so Caroline nurses her, while Doc Baker organizes the residents of the camp to treat the sick. When Louisa gives birth to a baby boy but then dies, Caroline and Doc Baker are faced with a moral dilemma.


Notes: Melissa Gilbert does not appear. Katherine MacGregor (as Mrs. Oleson) appears briefly, but is not listed in the credits.
180 21 "He Was Only Twelve (Part 1)" Michael Landon Paul W. Cooper May 3, 1982 8421

Charles, Albert, James and Mr. Edwards travel to Sleepy Eye on business. James, wanting to open a savings account with his birthday check from Uncle Jed, walks into the bank as it is being robbed. James is shot and critically wounded, and the doctor tells Charles that the injuries are potentially fatal. Charles and Mr. Edwards, and later Albert, against Charles' orders, set out to track down the villains.
Guest star: Georg Olden as Danny

Notes: An episode of Bonanza, titled "He Was Only Seven", (written by Michael Landon) had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode.
181 22 "He Was Only Twelve (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon May 10, 1982 8422

James remains comatose after a successful operation to remove the bullet. Charles refuses to accept Doc Baker's prognosis that James will not recover, because he believes God has told him James will be healed. When his family and friends question if he is losing his grip on reality, Charles takes James away into the woods, and builds a shelter and a stone altar. Refusing to leave until James recovers, Charles prays to God for a miracle.


Notes: This episode features the final appearances of Caroline (until Little House: The Last Farewell), Carrie, Grace, Cassandra, and James. Melissa Gilbert does not appear, although she does narrate the opening of the episode.

Season 9: "Little House: A New Beginning" (1982–1983)[edit]

When Michael Landon decided to leave the show, it was renamed, the focus was put on the characters of Laura and Almanzo, and more recurring characters were added. Landon did, however, stay on as executive producer, and wrote and directed occasional episodes as well.

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
182 1 "Times Are Changing (Part 1)" Maury Dexter Michael Landon September 27, 1982 8451
In the spring of 1887, Charles, having suffered a hard winter and wanting to find a better life, has moved the Ingalls family to Burr Oak, Iowa. He completes the sale of their homestead to the Carter family, and is given a farewell party by his friends. John Carter is the new town blacksmith and his wife Sarah starts a newspaper, the Walnut Grove Gazette. Four months later, Laura announces her resignation from Walnut Grove School to raise Rose at home and introduces the kids to their new teacher, Etta Plum. Almanzo's brother, Royal, arrives with his daughter, Jenny, and with a devastating secret: he is terminally ill and the true reason he is visiting Walnut Grove is to give Jenny a chance to get to know Laura and Almanzo, who will become her adopted parents.
183 2 "Times Are Changing (Part 2)" Maury Dexter Michael Landon October 4, 1982 8452
The Carters, including their sons Jeb and Jason, adjust to life in Walnut Grove, but Jenny has a hard time doing so after her father dies. She blames herself and Laura for her father's death, saying that she should have been told that he was ill. After Reverend Alden assures her that she will see her parents again in heaven, Jenny tries to drown herself to join them, but Jeb conquers his fear of water and dives in and saves her. Then Laura teaches Jenny a 'tough love' lesson on the importance of life, like Charles had done for her.
184 3 "Welcome to Olesonville" Maury Dexter Paul W. Cooper October 11, 1982 8454

Mrs. Oleson finds an old Walnut Grove Bearer Bond and, claiming that she is owed over $14,000 in unpaid interest, uses it to have the town renamed Olesonville. However, when she wants her compliant husband elected as mayor, she encounters unexpected opposition from some of the town's oldest inhabitants.


Guest stars: Charles Lane, Lew Ayres
185 4 "Rage" Maury Dexter B. W. Sandefur October 18, 1982 8456

A farmer named Mr. Stark is denied a loan at the bank and soon goes bankrupt. He flies into a terrible rage and shoots his wife and daughter, and takes off. The citizens of Walnut Grove organize a posse to track him down, but, as they are searching for him, he chances upon the Wilders' house, and Laura and Jenny must rely on their wits to escape from a dangerous situation.


Guest stars: Robert Loggia, Tammy Lauren, Ronnie Scribner
186 5 "Little Lou" Victor French Michael Landon October 25, 1982 8453

A widowed circus man and young father named Little Lou (Billy Barty) makes a promise to his wife to quit the circus and move to Walnut Grove to try to make a living after his wife dies during childbirth. He interviews for a job at the bank, but a prejudiced Mrs. Oleson refuses to do business as long as he is employed there. Jobless, Little Lou begins stealing from the Mercantile to support his baby daughter. Just before he is set to go on trial for theft, Nancy falls down a well, and Little Lou is the only one who can reach inside to save her. Mrs. Oleson realizes how wrong she was and gets the charges dropped against Lou, who gets the job at the bank.


Note: An episode of Bonanza, titled "It's a Small World", had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Both episodes were written by Michael Landon.
187 6 "The Wild Boy (Part 1)" Victor French Vince R. Gutierrez November 1, 1982 8457

Dr. McQueen (Anthony Zerbe), an unscrupulous traveling medicine man, visits Walnut Grove to sell his elixir and promote his sideshow attraction, the "Wild Boy", a wild-looking boy in a cage who goes mad when McQueen beats him with a stick for the entertainment of his customers. When the Walnut Grove children sneak into the tent and Nancy pokes the boy with a stick, Jenny defends him. Later, the boy escapes and takes refuge in the Wilders' barn. Jenny finds him there and befriends him, and she discovers he is not really wild, only mute and tortured, and that his name is Matthew Rogers (Jonathan Hall Kovacs). Then Almanzo and Laura discover Matthew is regularly beaten by McQueen and given morphine elixir. While they try to keep Matthew safe with Mr. Edwards, McQueen posts a reward for the boy's return, which Nancy hopes to claim.

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188 7 "The Wild Boy (Part 2)" Victor French Vince R. Gutierrez November 8, 1982 8458
Laura has taught Matthew, Jenny and Mr. Edwards sign language and Matthew has become accepted by many of the adults and children of the town. However, Nancy, whose mind is focused on the large reward, leads McQueen to Mr. Edwards. This initiates a custody battle between McQueen and Mr. Edwards. The judge initially decides to have Matthew placed in a mental hospital for his protection, but after a heartfelt and tearful speech by Mr. Edwards, he allows Matthew to stay with him in Walnut Grove as long as he keeps it quiet.
189 8 "The Return of Nellie" Maury Dexter Don Balluck November 15, 1982 8459

Nellie returns to Walnut Grove, and most of her family try to make it the best visit ever. But what will happen if Nancy does not get the attention she normally gets?


Note: This is the final appearance of Alison Arngrim as Nellie.
190 9 "The Empire Builders" Joseph Pevney Larry Jensen November 22, 1982 8460
The railroad is coming to Walnut Grove, and with it the promise of jobs and economic growth. But that joy turns sour when the townspeople learn the side effects: the railroad needs property easements, forcing many farmers from their homes, and plenty of ill repute to boot.
191 10 "Love" Victor Lobl Paul W. Cooper November 29, 1982 8462
Jane (Jill Schoelen), a childhood friend of Laura's who attended the blind school, visits Walnut Grove and falls in love with Mr. Edwards. He encourages Jane to have a new surgical treatment which restores her sight, and her feelings for him do not change when she sees he is much older than her. Mr. Edwards also loves Jane, but he faces hostile opinion in town, and when Laura is reluctant to offer her unqualified support for their love match, he rejects Jane and she leaves town.
192 11 "Alden's Dilemma" Maury Dexter Don Balluck December 6, 1982 8461
A traveling minister is planning a surprise for Rev. Alden; he is arranging a house for him in Walnut Grove. But this truth does not come to light until Rev. Alden concludes his congregation is planning to leave him.
193 12 "Marvin's Garden" Michael Rhodes Michael Landon January 3, 1983 8463

An aging doctor (Ralph Bellamy) is losing his sight and knows he will soon have to retire. Meanwhile, Jenny nearly drowns while looking for her locket in the lake. Her brain is partly damaged and she is unable to walk, talk and use her hands. Dr. Marvin convinces Laura to let Jenny help him with his garden to rehabilitate. She turns out to be his last patient.


Note: The main theme to this episode's original score would later serve as the theme music to Michael Landon's next series, Highway To Heaven.
194 13 "Sins of the Fathers" Victor French E. F. Wallengren January 10, 1983 8464
Sarah Carter's imposing father visits Walnut Grove, demanding they move back to New York. Sarah will not listen and she is finally allowed to stay with her family in Walnut Grove.
195 14 "The Older Brothers" Victor French Michael Landon January 17, 1983 8455

Mr. Edwards, and later, Almanzo and John, become mixed up with the criminal activities of a bumbling gang of outlaws.


Note: An episode of Bonanza, titled "The Younger Brothers' Younger Brother", had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Both episodes were written by Michael Landon.
196 15 "Once Upon a Time" Maury Dexter Don Balluck January 24, 1983 8465

At Almanzo's urging, Laura enters a writing contest and produces a novel about the Ingalls family which Almanzo and Jenny love. After travelling with Jenny to Minneapolis, Laura learns that she has won the contest and she is offered the opportunity to have her novel published. She reluctantly agrees to changes which the publishers want to make, but Jenny convinces Laura that the new version is not as good as her original and should not be published.



Note: As the episode ends, Michael Landon narrates a flashforward (taken from "The Little House Years"), in which his daughter Shawna Landon is the little girl running into the public library to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's third book, Little House on the Prairie. In real life, Laura did not start writing the 'Little House' books until she was in her fifties, encouraged to do so by her daughter Rose, who was by then herself a successful journalist and author.
197/198 16 "Home Again (Parts 1 & 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon February 7, 1983 8467/033210

Charles and Albert return to Walnut Grove after Albert has repeated run-ins with the law (for curfew violations and theft). It is soon discovered that Albert is hooked on morphine, leading Charles to take drastic measures to help his son withdraw from the drug. Because of Albert's morphine addiction, he begins to become out of control, especially when he attacks Jeb Carter in school and hits Etta Plum in the face when she tries to stop him. When Albert finally comes out of his addiction with Charles' help, he realizes how wrong he was and, just before he and Charles leave, he apologizes to Etta Plum and Jeb, advising the kids not to do anything bad and hurt the people that love them just to fit in with a bad peer group


Notes: Originally aired as a two-hour episode. In both syndication and the Lionsgate/NBC DVD, it is shown as a two-part episode. Final series appearance of Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls and Matthew Laborteaux as Albert Ingalls until the post-series movies.
199 17 "A Child with No Name" Victor French Don Balluck February 14, 1983 8466

"In the late summer of 1889", Almanzo and Laura's newborn son dies overnight from no obvious cause at only a week old. Without any real reason, Laura blames Doc Baker for the baby's death and his reputation and business is badly damaged, so he decides to leave Walnut Grove. Then Rose becomes sick with smallpox and, against Laura's wishes, Almanzo calls in Doc Baker, who has to stay with them in quarantine. After Rose recovers, Laura acknowledges that she had been wrong and that Doc Baker is a good doctor, and she persuades him to stay.


Note: This is the final appearance of Ketty Lester as Hester-Sue Terhune.
200 18 "The Last Summer" Maury Dexter Duke Sandefur February 21, 1983 8469
Jason begins doing odd jobs for an aging woman, Ruthy Leland (Vera Miles). Sarah becomes jealous over the blossoming friendship, until Ruthy reveals her that she is dying. Jason makes plenty of happy memories with his friend before her death.
201 19 "For the Love of Blanche" Michael Landon Michael Landon March 7, 1983 8470
Mr. Edwards promises to care for a dying traveler's "baby," only to discover it to be an orangutan named Blanche, which makes quick friends with everyone except Nancy, who tries to swat the animal, only for it to fight back. Mrs. Oleson wants Blanche killed, but Mr. Edwards devises a plan to trick them into thinking Blanche is dead. Mr. Edwards decides that Blanche needs to live in a zoo. Later, Blanche saves Rose from a potentially deadly house fire that Jenny puts out, and when Jenny tells the story at school, Nancy finds out that Blanche is still alive. Mrs. Oleson demands that the sheriff make sure Blanche is dead this time, but the ape hides in a tree until the arrival of the zookeeper, who convinces the sheriff and Mrs. Oleson to let Blanche live.
202 20 "May I Have This Dance?" Victor French Chris Abbott March 14, 1983 8471

Willie graduates and his mother expects him to go on to college, but Willie has fallen in love with his girlfriend Rachel Brown, and wants to get married and take over the running of the family's restaurant. Mrs. Oleson opposes his plans and cruelly insults Rachel, and when Willie stands up to his mother and defends Rachel against her, she vows not to show up at the wedding. In the event, she does go, but theatrically dressed in black funeral clothes. Nels later reminds Harriet that his mother similarly opposed their marriage, and he says he has never regretted it. Meanwhile, Mrs. Flannery, a childless elderly friend of Laura's, passes away after gifting her big house to Laura and Almanzo, who set about turning it into a boardinghouse, and Willie and Rachel move in as their first boarders.


Note: This is the first appearance of Rachel Brown-Oleson (Sherri Stoner), who also appears in the series finale and the three subsequent TV movies.
203 21 "Hello and Goodbye" Michael Landon Don Balluck March 21, 1983 8472

Matthew's natural father arrives in Walnut Grove, wanting to reclaim custody after years of searching for him. Initially, Matthew is angry that his parents abandoned him as a baby, but, after learning why they did it and receiving a gift of his late mother's bible, Mr. Edwards helps him to decide to leave town to live with his father. A devastated Mr. Edwards decides he will move into Laura's new boarding house, where a multi-talented English writer named Sherwood Montague has also taken up residence.


Note: Low ratings (#28) caused the series to be canceled. To wrap up the storylines, TV movies aired in the following television season.

Post-series movies (1983–1984)[edit]

No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Air date Production code
1C Special #3 Little House: Look Back to Yesterday Victor French Vince R. Gutierrez December 12, 1983 8486

In Burr Oak, Iowa, Charles gets a promotion as a Purchasing Agent, and he takes Albert with him on a buying trip to Minnesota. En route, they stop at the University of Minnesota where Albert plans on pursuing his medical endeavors, then they reunite with family and old friends in Walnut Grove. Albert finds romance with a girl called Michele Pierson, and Charles encourages the local farmers to start a cooperative to enable them to compete with the big farms. However, Albert starts suffering from serious nosebleeds and exhaustion and is diagnosed with an incurable blood disorder. Ultimately, he chooses to go back to Walnut Grove to spend his last days. He spends his time making special memories and receives a four-year scholarship from the university he had planned on attenting. Finally, Albert, Laura and Michele join Miss Plum and the local schoolchildren in their annual climb to 'the keepsake tree' at the top of Harper's Bluff, where they join hands and raise them in a celebratory salute.


Note: Originally aired as a 95-minute movie (excluding commercials), when offered in syndication, it is shown either in two parts or in its entirety.
2C Special #4 Little House: Bless All the Dear Children Victor French Chris Abbott-Fish December 17, 1984 0407

Just before Christmas in 1896, Laura and Almanzo and Mr. Edwards are shopping for gifts in Mankato when Rose is kidnapped by a grief-stricken mother, prompting a desperate search. A young orphan boy, Sam, stows away in their wagon and becomes a key player in the search and its happy outcome. Meanwhile, in Walnut Grove, Nels tries to get Nancy to contribute to the Olesons' Christmas but later regrets it; Jason tries to earn money for gifts with a Christmas tree delivery service which nobody wants; and Mr. Montague tries to avoid all the seasonal customs but ends up saving the Carters' Christmas.


Notes: Originally aired as a 95-minute movie (excluding commercials), when offered in syndication, it is shown either in two parts or in its entirety. The movie was originally intended to air in December 1983 but was not aired until December 1984, 10 months after the official "finale."
3C Special #5 Little House: The Last Farewell Michael Landon Michael Landon February 6, 1984 0400

Charles and Caroline visit Walnut Grove and are pleased to be able to stay in the 'Little House' when John and Sarah Carter go out of town. Then the townspeople learn that a land development tycoon, Nathan Lassiter (James Karen), has acquired title to all the land in Hero Township, which they had believed to be homesteading land. Having failed to defeat his claim on legal grounds and even with guns, the townspeople are inspired by Laura to vent their anger at what they see as an injustice, and they decide upon a drastic plan of action. When Lassiter arrives to claim the town, he finds all the town buildings destroyed, and the townsfolk leave to make new starts elsewhere, as many of them have done before.


Note: Originally aired as a 95-minute movie (excluding commercials). When offered in syndication, it is shown either in two parts or in its entirety.

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