List of Little House on the Prairie episodes
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.
- 1 Pilot movie
- 2 Season 1 (1974–1975)
- 3 Season 2 (1975–1976)
- 4 Season 3 (1976–1977)
- 5 Season 4 (1977–1978)
- 6 Season 5 (1978–1979)
- 7 Season 6 (1979–1980)
- 8 Season 7 (1980–1981)
- 9 Season 8 (1981–1982)
- 10 Season 9: "Little House: A New Beginning" (1982–1983)
- 11 Post-series movies (1983–1984)
- 12 External links
|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)
- Caroline (Karen Grassle), Laura (Melissa Gilbert), and Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson) appear in all 24 episodes
- Charles (Michael Landon) appears in 23 episodes
- Carrie (Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) appear in 18 episodes
|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 of Walnut Grove to invest in planting a new kind of corn, instead of wheat. During his return trip from Minneapolis with the corn-seed, Coulter's wagon runs off the road and crashes down a steep bank. When he is late returning, the farmers become anxious, and some of them cause trouble in town. Charles goes out to look for Coulter, and later the other farmers make amends for their behaviour.|
|22||22||"Survival"||William F. Claxton||Teleplay by: John Hawkins
Story by: John Hawkins and Preston Wood
|February 26, 1975||1022|
|While returning from a Spring family trip to Mankato, 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. 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). Meanwhile, the same Marshal has taken shelter with Caroline and the girls, and Charles has the chance to return 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)
|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)
|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)
|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)
|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.
|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)
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)
|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.
|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.
Season 8 (1981–1982)
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.
|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.
|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)
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.LineColor=F3CC06
|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)
|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.
- Little House on the Prairie at the Internet Movie Database
- Little House on the Prairie at TV.com
- Little House on the Prairie at epguides.com