List of Little House on the Prairie episodes

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

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

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

Pilot movie[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
PilotSpecial #1Little House on the PrairieMichael LandonBlanche Hanalis & Jack HanrahanMarch 30, 1974n/a

Charles (Michael Landon) and Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassle) move with their three young daughters, Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), Laura (Melissa Gilbert) and Carrie (Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) from the big woods of Wisconsin to the open prairies of Kansas. Their closest neighbor, Isaiah Edwards (Victor French), helps them settle on the prairie as they encounter fierce storms, destructive fires, and hostile Native American tribes. Ultimately, the government forces the family off the land in Kansas.

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

Season 1 (1974–1975)[edit]

24 episodes

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
11"A Harvest of Friends"Michael LandonBlanche Hanalis , John Hawkins & William PutmanSeptember 11, 19741002
The Ingalls family move to the banks of Plum Creek, near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. To acquire the deed to his farm, Charles takes several jobs. Eventually, the multiple duties and stress become too much, and an exhausted Charles becomes injured during a picnic with his family, breaking his ribs after falling out of a tree from which he was trying to get a kite. When a feed dealer takes advantage of him to take his oxen, he and his young children, Mary and Laura, try to meet the deadline. This sends several of Walnut Grove's businessmen into action to help their new friend. In the end, Laura reminisces about her father claiming to reap a harvest he did not expect, hence the title of this episode. 
22"Country Girls"William F. ClaxtonBlanche Hanalis & Juanita BartlettSeptember 18, 19741001

Mary and Laura begin school at Walnut Grove. While Caroline must deal with the snippy Harriet Oleson (Katherine MacGregor), the rich part-owner of Oleson's Mercantile, Laura must deal with the Olesons' spoiled daughter, Nellie (Alison Arngrim). As one problem follows another, Laura finds a difficulty greater than dealing with Nellie: a looming essay for Parents' Day causes worry for little Laura, who wants to give a beautiful essay, but is unable to write the words on paper. When she finds that she can only write a few words, she makes up a speech about her Ma, which has a great effect on her family. It is her speech that truly shows the closeness of the Ingalls family.

Note: In "On the Banks of Plum Creek" there is a similar story in the chapters "School" and "Nellie Oleson." The story in the book, however, does not include the Parents' Day, but ends with Laura and Nellie fighting and arguing whether they should play "Ring-around-a-rosy" or "Uncle John." In fact, neither story tells the whole truth, as both Mary and Laura began going to the Barry Corner School before they left the Big Woods for Minnesota in 1874. 
33"100 Mile Walk"William F. ClaxtonBlanche Hanalis & Ward HawkinsSeptember 25, 19741003

A hailstorm leaves the Ingalls family's crops in ruin. To recoup the money, Charles and some friendly neighbors, including a light-hearted Englishman (Don Knight), work in a dangerous railroad blasting job. The Englishman, who is employed as a powder-monkey, brings both cheer and eventually tragedy to Charles. Caroline, meanwhile, rounds up the farmers' wives to salvage what is left of the crops, despite the pessimism that threatens their effort.

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 they stay in Walnut Grove through most of their lives. 
44"Mr. Edwards' Homecoming"Michael LandonBlanche Hanalis & Joel MurcottOctober 2, 19741004

While in Mankato, Charles encounters a drunken Mr. Edwards in the midst of a bar fight and takes him back to Walnut Grove. To rehabilitate him, Charles gets him a job at Hansen's Mill, while Caroline tries to set him up with widow Grace Snider (Bonnie Bartlett). While Mr. Edwards vies for Grace's attention, his personal grudge with God seems to doom their potential relationship.

Note: This is the first appearance of Bonnie Bartlett as Grace Snider. 
55"The Love of Johnny Johnson"William F. ClaxtonBlanche Hanalis & Gerry DayOctober 9, 19741005

Laura has a crush on a new boy in school named Johnny Johnson (Mitch Vogel), but Johnny is interested in Mary, who has no interest in him. However, Laura believes Mary is deliberately trying to steal him from her, and they fight about it. Charles manages to convince Laura that one day a boy will be interested in her.

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. 
66"If I Should Wake Before I Die"Victor FrenchBlanche Hanalis & Harold SwantonOctober 23, 19741006
After the death of her dear friend, Miss Amy (Josephine Hutchinson) feels lonely for her family. While talking to the Ingalls girls at her funeral, Laura declares it is not fair for loved ones to ignore a birthday and always show up for a funeral. Miss Amy decides to stage her own death and enlists the help of Doctor Hiram Baker (Kevin Hagen) and Charles Ingalls. 
77"Town Party, Country Party"Alf KjellinBlanche Hanalis & Juanita BartlettOctober 30, 19741007

While at a party at Nellie Oleson's, Laura hurts her ankle and becomes friends with Olga (Kim Richards), a friendly girl with a birth defect causing one leg to be shorter than the other. The Ingalls girls decide to throw their own party, and while Charles helps Olga despite her embittered father's lack of support, Laura exacts her own special revenge on Nellie Oleson.

Note: In "On the Banks of Plum Creek", a chapter by the same name shows a very similar story, with the exclusion of Olga. In the story, Laura uses an old crab to scare Nellie into the deep end to become the victim of several leeches. 
88"Ma's Holiday"Leo PennBlanche Hanalis & Dale EunsonNovember 6, 19741010
The girls and Charles decide to surprise Caroline with a romantic holiday for just the two of them. When Grace Snider cannot make it, Mr. Edwards volunteers to look after the girls, but he discovers that they, and especially Carrie, are more than he can handle. Meanwhile, Caroline cannot stop thinking about the children and worrying for their safety. 
99"School Mom"William F. ClaxtonBlanche Hanalis, Ward Hawkins & Jean RouverolNovember 13, 19741011
When Miss Beadle (Charlotte Stewart) is injured and ordered to rest by Doc Baker, Caroline takes over as substitute teacher of Walnut Grove School. During her tenure, an uneducated youth named Abel McKay (Dirk Blocker) enrolls. Abel is relentlessly teased because he is illiterate. Eventually, the harassment and Mrs. Oleson's meddling become too much, and Caroline orders the school closed. Caroline then takes it upon herself to teach Abel to read. 
1010"The Raccoon"William F. ClaxtonBlanche Hanalis & Joseph BonaduceNovember 20, 19741013
When Mary accidentally breaks Laura's glass doll, she takes home a raccoon to cheer her up. Laura keeps him and prides herself on taming him and teaching him tricks, and she names him Jasper. To her dismay, its wild instincts cause Jasper to bite her and Jack and run away. Afraid of losing her pet for good, Laura makes Mary promise to keep it a secret, but when the chickens are disturbed by a rabid raccoon, Mary decides that she must tell their father. Charles is about to shoot Jack, thinking that he must have rabies, when Jasper appears and does one of the tricks Laura taught him, making Charles realize that the raccoon that attacked the chickens was not Jasper and that Laura and Jack are not infected. 
1111"The Voice of Tinker Jones"Leo PennTony Kayden & Michael RussnowDecember 4, 19741012

Reverend Alden (Dabbs Greer ) stirs a hornets' nest in Walnut Grove when he pleads for a church bell. Mrs. Oleson offers to donate a large bell as well as a plaque commemorating her generosity. While half of the residents refuse to accept the donation, arguing that the plaque would be sacrilegious, the other half frown upon the others' seeming ingratitude. Reverend Alden feels he is to blame for the split in the community, and decides he must leave. With the help of a friendly mute coppersmith, 'Tinker' Jones (Chuck McCann), the children decide to band together and forge the bell on their own (sacrificing their own metal toys), which satisfies everyone (except Mrs Olseon) and the Reverend decides to stay.

Note: Sean Penn appears as an extra (his father, Leo Penn, directed the episode). 
1212"The Award"William F. ClaxtonMichael LandonDecember 11, 19741014
Mary is entranced by the award for an extra-credit exam, a beautiful dictionary. Her late studying and carelessness causes a fire to start in the barn. Worried and furious, Caroline forbids her to take the exam. Having second thoughts, she decides to try to hold Mary to the punishment to establish her credibility, while Mary decides to take the test anyway and win her Ma's love back by winning the award. Mary also gets a job at Oleson's Mercantile to pay for a new history book to replace the one that she borrowed from Miss Beadle, which was destroyed in the fire. In the end, Caroline sees exactly the paper she expected to see from Mary, and the truth is finally made clear. Caroline then tells Mary that she was too harsh on her and that she had been wrong to tell her she could not take the exam. 
13/1413/14"The Lord is My Shepherd"Michael LandonMichael LandonDecember 18, 19741008/1009

The Ingalls family is delighted by the birth of a new baby boy, Charles Fredrick Ingalls. Unfortunately, Laura becomes jealous and refuses to pray for her new brother's good health. The young boy dies soon afterward, and Laura is crushed with guilt. Following a sermon by Reverend Alden about miracles, she decides to run away and pray for a miracle. Believing that her late brother meant more to her father than herself, she pledges herself to God on a mountain offering to take his place in Heaven so that the baby may come back to life. With the help of a heaven-sent stranger (Ernest Borgnine), she realizes how much she really means to her father.

Note: Originally aired as a two-hour episode, in syndication, it is shown in two parts. 
1515"Christmas at Plum Creek"William F. ClaxtonArthur HeinemannDecember 25, 19741015

When Christmas comes around, all the Ingalls are caught up in the secrecy and excitement. Charles and Mary take secret jobs to obtain a gift for their loved ones. Laura, meanwhile, is left out of the fun when she cannot find anything to give or any way to raise money. She succeeds in making the Christmas a memorable experience for everybody by selling her beloved horse, Bunny, to Nels Oleson (Richard Bull so she can buy Ma a stove. Carrie remembers the true meaning of Christmas.

Note: This is the first episode involving the horse named Bunny, which will figure in a story arc in season three. 
1616"Family Quarrel"William F. ClaxtonWard HawkinsJanuary 8, 19751016
Nels Oleson has had it up to here with Harriet's snobbish, meddlesome behavior, particularly toward the Ingalls family. Mrs. Oleson does not take kindly to her husband's old-school beliefs, either. The two get into a huge argument and decide to separate. This sends the Ingalls and the Olesons' other friends to intervene and convince them to settle their differences. 
1717"Doctor's Lady"Lewis AllenTeleplay by: Arthur Heinemann
Story by: Arthur Heinemann and Ann Beckett
January 15, 19751017
When Harriet Oleson's niece, Kate (Anne Archer), comes to visit, Doc Baker falls for her and proceeds to court her. Unfortunately, doubt lingering in his mind about his age causes his hopes for a happy relationship to fade. He must wrestle between his love for Kate and his fear concerning his age to make a difficult decision. His decision is made even harder when Kate refuses to see that the age difference between them is a problem. 
1818"Plague"William F. ClaxtonTeleplay by: Michael Landon
Story by: William Keys and Michael Landon
January 29, 19751018

A typhus outbreak sweeps Walnut Grove, and several people become critically ill. The Ingalls family is spared, but Charles is not so lucky when he is exposed. The church is set up as a makeshift hospital/morgue while Charles, Doc Baker and Reverend Alden, all quarantined with the illness, search for the source of the plague. During the search, Charles is devastated to see his dear friend Mr. Edwards sick with the typhus. Edwards, however, holds the key to the source: Dr. Baker discovers that the typhus was caused by corn meal tainted with fleas from diseased rats.

Note: Leslie Landon makes her first appearance of the series here. She plays 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 Ms. Etta Plum.) 
1919"Circus Man"Victor FrenchTeleplay by: Ward Hawkins
Story by: Preston Wood and Ward Hawkins
February 5, 19751019
A medicine man, O'Hara (Red Buttons), adorned with bravado and sleight of hand, stays with the Ingalls family and advertises his miracle powder. After residents start to prefer his powders over Doc Baker's medical treatment, the Ingalls send him packing. When Jack (the dog) is injured by a wagon, O'Hara returns to bring Laura the hope she needs and eventually confesses the truth. 
2020"Child of Pain"Victor FrenchJohn MestonFebruary 12, 19751020
When Miss Beadle discovers that a kindly boy in her class has taken another beating from his alcoholic father (Harris Yulin), the town council decides to take action. The Ingalls take in the boy and decide to help rehabilitate his father. Despite many of the members' lack of faith in his redemption and Charles' own doubts, he stays with the boy's father to break him from his dangerous habit. 
2121"Money Crop"Leo PennTeleplay by: Ward Hawkins
Story by: John Meston
February 19, 19751021
A university-educated farmer named Joseph Coulter (Alan Fudge) convinces the farmers to buy new hybrid corn. During his return trip with the crop, Coulter's horses bolt, which caused his wagon to veer down a steep hill, trapping the farmer beneath and exposing the precious seed to hungry crows. The residents of Walnut Grove fear that they may have been cheated and take their frustrations out on his wife with harsh accusations, causing her to become sick, almost losing her unborn baby. Charles is convinced something is wrong and hurries to look for him. Later, when Joseph and his family prepare to leave, he sees the men arriving with plows, apparently making up for their misjudgment. 
2222"Survival"William F. ClaxtonTeleplay by: John Hawkins
Story by: John Hawkins and Preston Wood
February 26, 19751022
While returning from a family trip, the Ingalls receive a twofold warning from a Federal Marshal (Jack Ging): a blizzard is coming, and a dangerous Indian fugitive is on the loose. He says that the Indian's crime was being born an Indian. When they are caught in the blizzard, the family take shelter in an abandoned cabin. Charles nearly freezes to death while out hunting for food, but he is rescued by the Indian fugitive, Jack Lame Horse (Robert Tessier). When the same Marshal shows up again, Charles returns the favour by saving the fugitive's life. 
2323"To See the World"Michael LandonGerry DayMarch 5, 19751023
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. 
2424"Founder's Day"William F. ClaxtonTeleplay by: Ward Hawkins and John Hawkins
Story by: Byron Twiggs and Ward Hawkins
May 7, 19751024
Founder's Day comes to Walnut Grove, and everybody is looking forward to the exciting competitions. While Laura and Mary try to outdo the Olesons, Charles is challenged to a logging contest by an aging lumberjack (Forrest Tucker). While Charles wants to gain respect from the stubborn old man, his opponent hopes to prove that he is still the "Bull of the Woods" despite the constant urging of his wife (Ann Doran). The excitement reaches a boiling point with the final competition—the logging contest—and Charles proves himself in quite an unexpected way. 

Season 2 (1975–1976)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
251"The Richest Man in Walnut Grove"Michael LandonMichael LandonSeptember 10, 19752001
Hansen'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. 
262"Four Eyes"William F. ClaxtonB.W. SandefurSeptember 17, 19752002
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. 
273"Ebenezer Sprague"Victor FrenchHindi BrooksSeptember 24, 19752003
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. 
284"In The Big Inning"William F. ClaxtonB.W. SandefurOctober 1, 19752008
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. 
295"Haunted House"Victor FrenchRay Goldrup & John HawkinsOctober 8, 19752007
Laura meets a grumpy old man (John Anderson) everyone in town is afraid of. She learns that he is waiting for his beloved wife, an actress, to return home. Laura excitedly volunteers to help in fixing up the place until a trip to Mankato shows that his wife is dead and not coming back. Laura then must help him overcome his denial and sorrow in order to accept that his wife is dead. 
306"The Spring Dance"William F. ClaxtonGerry DayOctober 29, 19752004
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. 
317"Remember Me (Part 1)"Michael LandonMichael LandonNovember 5, 19752009

A widowed mother named Julia Sanderson 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.

Guest Star: Patricia Neal 
328"Remember Me (Part 2)"Michael LandonMichael LandonNovember 12, 19752010
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. 
339"The Camp-out"William F. ClaxtonNovember 19, 19752006
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 science project. The Ingalls and Olesons seem to mix like water and oil throughout the trip. After learning a "scratching" good lesson about poison ivy, Laura and Nellie become trapped in a raging current when Laura learns that Nellie can't swim, so she has to put her rivalry aside to save Nellie and herself. Once out of the water, Nellie says that Laura pushed her into the river, which was not the case. 
3410"At The End of the Rainbow"Michael LandonDecember 10, 19752005
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. 
3511"The Gift"William F. ClaxtonDecember 17, 19752013
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. 
3612"His Father's Son"Michael LandonJanuary 7, 19762015
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. 
3713"The Talking Machine"Victor FrenchJanuary 14, 19762012

Laura and Nellie vie for the affections of a new schoolboy named Jason, 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.

Guest Star: Eric Shea 
3814"The Pride of Walnut Grove"William F. ClaxtonJanuary 28, 19762014
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. 
3915"A Matter of Faith"William F. ClaxtonFebruary 4, 19762011

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. 
4016"The Runaway Caboose"William F. ClaxtonFebruary 11, 19762016
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. 
4117"Troublemaker"Victor FrenchFebruary 25, 19762019

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, 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.

Guest star: Richard Basehart 
4218"The Long Road Home"Michael LandonMarch 3, 19762017

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 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.

Guest star: Louis Gossett, Jr. 
4319"For My Lady"William F. ClaxtonMarch 10, 19762020

To buy Caroline a new set of china, Charles secretly takes a woodworking job for an attractive young widow. The problem is, Mrs. Oleson plants a suggestion in Mary'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.

Guest star: Mariette Hartley 
4420"Centennial"William F. ClaxtonMarch 17, 19762018

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's 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 
4521"Soldier's Return"William F. ClaxtonMarch 24, 19762022

Mrs. Whipple's son, Granville, 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.

Guest star: Richard Mulligan 
4622"Going Home"Michael LandonMarch 31, 19762021
The Ingalls family's crops and farm lie in ruin, due to a devastating tornado that sweeps through Hero Township. A despondent Charles sees no opportunity ahead, so he decides to move his family back home to Wisconsin and sells his farm. Meanwhile, Mary and John worry about their blossoming relationship, which leads to Mary's first kiss and talking about marriage. A crushed Laura prays for Charles to have strength, a prayer that is answered in the form of the previous owners of the farm, who want to buy it back. 

Season 3 (1976–1977)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
471"The Collection"Michael LandonSeptember 27, 19763008

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 
482"Bunny"Michael LandonOctober 4, 19763001

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 she 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 
493"The Race"William F. ClaxtonOctober 11, 19763005

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: In production order, this episode preceded its predecessor ("Bunny"), and on the Lionsgate/NBC DVD set this episode is placed before "Bunny", so that the changes in ownership of Bunny do not follow their proper sequence. For those who watch on DVD, these episodes should be watched in their proper order to make the overall story-line coherent. 
504"Little Girl Lost"Michael LandonOctober 18, 19763006
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. 
515"The Monster of Walnut Grove"William F. ClaxtonNovember 1, 19763007
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. 
526"Journey in the Spring (Part 1)"Michael LandonNovember 15, 19763011

Charles' mother passes away after a long illness, and he travels back to Wisconsin to handle the funeral arrangements. His father, Lansford Ingalls, 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.

Guest star: Arthur Hill 
537"Journey in the Spring (Part 2)"Michael LandonNovember 22, 19763012
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. 
548"Fred"William F. ClaxtonNovember 29, 19763002
Laura is tricked into adopting a "unique" billy goat, 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. 
559"The Bully Boys"Victor FrenchDecember 6, 19763009
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. 
5610"The Hunters"Michael LandonDecember 20, 19763003

Charles is seriously injured while on a hunting trip with Laura. The only person she can find to help her is Sam, 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.

Guest star: Burl Ives 
5711"Blizzard"William F. ClaxtonDecember 27, 19763013
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. 
5812"I'll Ride the Wind"William F. ClaxtonJanuary 10, 19773010
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. 
5913"Quarantine"Victor FrenchJanuary 17, 19773015
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. 
6014"Little Women"William F. ClaxtonJanuary 24, 19773014
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. 
6115"Injun Kid"Victor FrenchJanuary 31, 19773004

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 
6216"To Live with Fear (Part 1)"William F. ClaxtonFebruary 14, 19773016

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 
6317"To Live with Fear (Part 2)"William F. ClaxtonFebruary 21, 19773017

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.

Guest star: James B. Sikking 
6418"The Wisdom of Solomon"William F. ClaxtonMarch 7, 19773019

Solomon Henry, 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.

Guest star: Todd Bridges 
6519"The Music Box"Michael LandonMarch 14, 19773020

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, 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, too.

Guest star: Katy Kurtzman 
6620"The Election"Victor FrenchMarch 21, 19773018

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. 
6721"Gold Country"Michael LandonApril 4, 19773021

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. Carl will be seen again in "A Promise to Keep" in Season Eight, but in that episode he is played by a different actor. 

Season 4 (1977–1978)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
681"Castoffs"Michael LandonSeptember 12, 19774003

Caroline orders Laura to care for her dog, Jack, before going to town to greet a newcomer, Kezia Horn, 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 the dog and bonds with him. Reverend Alden speaks with Kezia, who decides to leave Walnut Grove because no one is accepting of her, and it's up to Laura to get everyone to change their minds before it is too late. Jonathan Garvey and some others go off to talk her into staying. Kezia stays as well as Bandit.

Guest star: Hermione Baddeley

Note: This is the first appearance of Merlin Olsen as Jonathan Garvey 
692"Times of Change"William F. ClaxtonSeptember 19, 19774002

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.) 
703"My Ellen"Michael LandonSeptember 26, 19774007

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
714"The Handyman"William F. ClaxtonOctober 3, 19774004

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 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.

Guest star: Gil Gerard

Special Appearance by: Hermione Baddeley as Kezia 
725"The Wolves"Michael LandonOctober 17, 19774005

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. 
736"The Creeper of Walnut Grove"William F. ClaxtonOctober 24, 19774006
Laura and Andy become detectives to solve a series of burglaries in Walnut Grove. After an incident at the Oleson's, Charles becomes very angry with his daughter. 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). It is revealed that a boy named Timothy Ferrel was the creeper all along, taking items from neighbors to support himself and his ill father. 
747"To Run and Hide"Michael LandonOctober 31, 19774001

When Dr. Baker is unable to save a terminally ill patient, he chalks it up to 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 Dr. Baker. Dr. Logan, however, is ill-tempered and has no compassion for his patients, prompting Charles to go all-out to convince Dr. Baker that he 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. 
758"The Aftermath"William F. ClaxtonNovember 7, 19774008

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.

Note: Melissa Gilbert appears in this episode but has no speaking lines. 
769"The High Cost of Being Right"Michael LandonNovember 14, 19774009
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. 
7710"The Fighter"Michael LandonNovember 21, 19774011

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, he 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). 
7811"Meet Me at the Fair"William F. ClaxtonNovember 28, 19774012
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. 
7912"Here Come the Brides"December 5, 19774010

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. 
8013"Freedom Flight"December 12, 19774013
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. 
8114"The Rivals"January 9, 19784014

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 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 Nelly. 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.

Guest Star: Chris Petersen as Jimmy Hill 
8215"Whisper Country"January 16, 19784015

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. 
8316"I Remember, I Remember"January 23, 19784016

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. 
8417"Be My Friend"January 30, 19784017

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. 
8518"The Inheritance"February 6, 19784018
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 tells Charles that, because of Uncle Ned's eccentric and profligate lifestyle, the whole estate was eaten up by debts and legal costs. Mrs. Oleson immediately forecloses on the Ingalls farm, but their friends in town come up with a plan to help them keep it. 
8619"The Stranger"February 13, 19784019
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. 
8720"A Most Precious Gift"February 27, 19784020
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. 
8821"I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away (Part 1)"March 6, 19784021
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. 
8922"I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away (Part 2)"March 13, 19784022

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

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

Season 5 (1978–1979)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
901"As Long as We're Together (Part 1)"Michael LandonMichael LandonSeptember 11, 19785001

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. 
912"As Long as We're Together (Part 2)"Michael LandonMichael LandonSeptember 18, 19785002
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!" 
923"The Winoka Warriors"William F. ClaxtonJohn T. DuganSeptember 25, 19785003
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. 
934"The Man Inside"October 2, 19785004
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. 
945"There's No Place Like Home (Part 1)"October 9, 19785007
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. 
956"There's No Place Like Home (Part 2)"October 16, 19785008

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 Hansen, 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. Hansen.

Notes: 90-minute episode. This episode marked the final appearance of Karl Swenson as Lars Hansen. (Swenson died a short time after this episode was filmed. His character also died, as explained in an epilogue by Laura.) 
967"Fagin"October 23, 19785010
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. 
978"Harriet's Happenings"October 30, 19785009

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 
989"The Wedding"November 6, 19785013
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. 
9910"Men Will Be Boys"November 13, 19785005
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. 
10011"The Cheaters"November 20, 19785014
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. 
10112"Blind Journey (Part 1)"November 27, 19785011
The church council in Walnut Grove finally vote to accept Joe Kagan as a member, against Mrs. Oleson's wishes. The late Mr. Hansen 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. Charles and Joe make the trip to Winoka to help Adam and Mary make the move. They are all astonished when Harriet Oleson arrives to accompany them back to Walnut Grove and thereby impress someone named Mrs. Terhune. 
10213"Blind Journey (Part 2)"December 4, 19785012
Mrs. Oleson is disappointed to discover 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 must overcome her racism and Adam must overcome his fear of water. When they arrive in Walnut Grove, Nels is pleasantly surprised to see that his wife has overcome her racism...for now. 
10314"The Godsister"December 18, 19785006

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. 
10415"The Craftsman"January 8, 19795018
Albert takes a job as apprentice for a Jewish coffin maker, who is the target of deep prejudice in the community, including that of Harriet Oleson. 
10516"Blind Man's Bluff"January 15, 19795016

Laura's schoolmate and friend, Jordan, 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.

Guest star: Ronnie Scribner 
10617"Dance with Me"January 22, 19795015

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

Guest stars: Ray Bolger, Eileen Heckart

Note: Originally a 90-minute episode, in syndication it is shown in two parts. 
10718"The Sound of Children"February 5, 19795019
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. 
10819"The Lake Kezia Monster"February 12, 19795020
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. 
10920"Barn Burner"February 19, 19795021

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. 
11021"The Enchanted Cottage"February 26, 19795022
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. 
11122"Someone Please Love Me"March 5, 19795017

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. 
11223"Mortal Mission"March 12, 19795023
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. 
11324"The Odyssey"March 19, 19795024
Laura and Albert's friend Dylan has a dream: to one day see the ocean, which he loves to paint pictures of. When Dylan discovers he is terminally ill, he sets out in pursuit of his dream, and Laura and Albert join him. The trio begin the journey west by jumping a ride on a train, but their problems are only just beginning. Charles manages to catch up with them, but the children persuade him to help Dylan realize his dream of seeing the ocean before he dies. In San Francisco, William Randolph Hearst, the famous American newspaper magnate, helps them get to the coast, and to get home. 

Season 6 (1979–1980)[edit]

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

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
1141"Back to School (Part 1)"Michael LandonMichael LandonSeptember 17, 19796001

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. 
1152"Back to School (Part 2)"Michael LandonMichael LandonSeptember 24, 19796002
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". 
1163"The Family Tree"William F. ClaxtonVince GutierrezOctober 1, 19796006
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. 
1174"The Third Miracle"Michael LandonKenneth HunterOctober 8, 19796005

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). 
1185"Annabelle"William F. ClaxtonDel ReismanOctober 15, 19796003

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 
1196"The Preacher Takes A Wife"October 22, 19796007

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 turns out to be her former fiancé, who broke their engagement when unable to commit to serving "both God and marriage".

Guest star: William Schallert

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"). 
1207"The Halloween Dream"October 29, 19796011
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. 
1218"The Return of Mr. Edwards"November 5, 19796004

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. 
1229"The King Is Dead"November 12, 19796010

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, 19796680

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
12310"The Faith Healer"Maury DexterDon BalluckNovember 19, 19796009
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. 
12411"Author! Author!"William F. ClaxtonCarole and Michael RaschellaNovember 26, 19796013

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. 
12512"Crossed Connections"Michael LandonDon BalluckDecember 10, 19796008
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. 
12613"The Angry Heart"William F. ClaxtonDel ReismanDecember 17, 19796012
A teenage boy, Tod, 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. 
12714"The Werewolf of Walnut Grove"William F. ClaxtonJohn T. DuganJanuary 7, 19806014
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. 
12815"What Ever Happened to The Class of '56?"January 14, 19806015
Charles and Caroline travel to their class reunion, and find that many of their classmates have become financially successful. But are they really happy with their lives? 
12916"Darkness Is My Friend"January 21, 19806016
Adam is sent to get money for the school, but Mary cannot go because of the baby and the students. Laura agrees to stay with Mary that night. While spending the night at the School for the Blind, Laura and Mary are held hostage by a trio of escaped felons. When one of them becomes ill from a gunshot wound, the leader sends Laura to get a doctor, warning her that she wouldn't see Mary alive again if she says anything about the hostage situation. When she can't find Doc Baker, the terrified Laura goes to Pa and tells him about what's going on. Charles poses as Doc Baker, but soon finds himself in a dangerous predicament when the real Doc Baker shows up. But Charles manages to get the upper hand. 
13017"Silent Promises"January 28, 19806017
Laura, eager to appear more mature, offers to teach a deaf boy sign language. As their teachings go on, he develops feelings for Laura. Meanwhile, Albert builds a doghouse for a somewhat-ungrateful and indifferent Bandit. 
13118"May We Make Them Proud"February 4, 19806018

Albert and a friend named Clay accidentally cause a fire at the School for the Blind. Mary is in the bedroom with Adam Jr. when the fire starts, but Adam pulls her out, leaving the baby in the room. After hearing his cries, Alice Garvey goes to get the baby, but one of the students is locked in the bathroom and she lets him out first. After that, she is trapped in the bedroom with Adam Jr., trying to escape through the window, but ultimately perishes along with the baby. After the fire, Mary is in deep shock and refuses to believe that her baby is gone. Albert blames himself while Jonathan Garvey starts to drink alcohol, blaming God for his wife's death. Albert buys a music box to replace the one that perished which Mary called "Little Adam's music." He runs away after Mary hears the music and starts screaming for her baby. When Albert reaches his old home, he sees a grave that says "J. Quinn," which means his biological father is now dead. Later, Jonathan convinces Albert that it wasn't his fault that the two had died. Eventually, Adam's father donates a plaque that reads "The Alice Garvey and Adam Kendall Jr. School for The Blind," and gives this episode its name after saying "May we make them proud."

Notes: Originally shown as a two-hour episode. In syndication, it is seen as a two-part episode. This is the final appearance of Hersha Parady as Alice Garvey. 
13219"Wilder and Wilder"February 11, 19806020
Almanzo's wandering brother, Perley Day, comes to stay, and Charles hopes Laura's feelings will shift to him, unaware that he is a troublemaker. 
13320"Second Spring"February 18, 19806021
Nels has had enough of his henpecked family life and begins selling Mercantile wares on the road. Along the way, he stops in a small town 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, particularly after Charles accidentally catches his friend kissing a woman that is not his wife. Eventually, Nels admits to Molly he is married, and the two cannot see each other anymore. Nels then goes home to make amends with his wife. 
13421"Sweet Sixteen"February 25, 19806022
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, who passes her teacher's exam and is given the position. She must now travel to another town where her first job will be, while Almanzo finally realizes he may have romantic feelings for Laura, which confuses him. He eventually invites her to a church social and seems confused by that as well. Believing that 'Beth' is falling in love with one of her students, he punches him. He sees that what he did was wrong and decides that Laura doesn't like him anymore. In the end, though, Laura and Almanzo have their first kiss at a church social on her 16th birthday. 
13522"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Part 1)"May 5, 19806023

Almanzo proposes to Laura, who accepts, but their age difference is called into question by Charles, who tells Almanzo to wait two years for him and Laura to be married. An angry Almanzo states that he will not wait, that two years seem like forever and he plans to leave Walnut Grove. He asks Laura to defy her father and go with him, but she refuses to go. Meanwhile, in an effort to improve business at Nellie's failing restaurant, the Olesons hire Percival Dalton to help straighten things out. Percival doesn't seem to be making much progress because of Nellie's refusal to learn the hospitality business. Only when Percival confesses his feelings for her (during a messy confrontation over her feisty demeanor) does she begin to soften and cooperate. Meanwhile, Adam learns that he did not get his expected inheritance from his newly deceased father. Adam learns his father spent nearly all of the money, and as a result, most of the assets were used to pay off heavy debts. That puts an end to construction of the new blind school. Laura, however, finds an old courthouse building in Sleepy Eye for rent.

Note: This is the first appearances for Percival Dalton (Steve Tracy) and Houston Lamb (Dub Taylor). 
13623"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Part 2)"May 12, 19806024
Laura goes to Sleepy Eye to help Mary and Adam get the new blind school ready. She finds that Almanzo has been working in town, but he is still angry about her decision not to go against her father's wishes. When he finds out that Laura is having trouble raising the rent deposit for the blind school, he takes a second job. Unfortunately, while he's working one day, Laura sees him with a saloon girl, believing that he has a new girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, Almanzo becomes gravely ill with pneumonia. Charles finds out and tells Laura what he's been doing for the blind school and his illness. She goes to care for him, and after the matter concerning that 'other woman' is cleared up, the two make up. After his recovery, Charles agrees to allow Laura and Almanzo to wait one year before they get married instead of the original two. Meanwhile, with Percival's help, Nellie becomes pleasant, and the transformation is hard for the Ingalls family to believe. Eventually, Nellie admits she has real feelings for Percival, but says nothing until he announces it is time for him to leave. Mrs. Oleson tries to console her daughter, but Nels tells her that if she wants him that bad, she needs to make her feelings known. It turns out that her proposal was just what Percival was waiting for, and the two marry. 

Season 7 (1980–1981)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
1371"Laura Ingalls Wilder (Part 1)"September 22, 19807052
Picking up six months after the previous season finale, Almanzo decides to purchase land for a new farm but will need the earnings from his first crop to pay off the mortgage. When the holder of the mortgage refuses to let him access water from an adjacent creek, he loses everything. Meanwhile, 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 and dreams of career, but this meets up with Almanzo's strong objections, since he wants her to be a traditional housewife. Nellie finds out that she is pregnant. 
1382"Laura Ingalls Wilder (Part 2)"September 29, 19807053

The relationship of Eliza Jane and Harve blossoms, but it never reaches its potential since Eliza is unable to express her true feelings of love for Harve. Things begin to fall apart when Harve reveals he is in love with someone else, although Eliza pretends that they are still involved so as to assure Laura and Almanzo marry after their ensuing ordeal. First, Almanzo loses his crop and postpones the wedding, and Laura offers to take a teaching position in another town to help earn money for a new farm. Laura then breaks the engagement when Almanzo refuses her help. In the end, Eliza Jane decides to leave, but not before convincing her little brother to let his wife-to-be teach in Walnut Grove and move into the Wilder home after she leaves. Almanzo agrees, and the two are wed at the Blind School in Sleepy Eye.

Note: In real life, Laura and Almanzo were married August 25, 1885 in DeSmet, South Dakota. Grace would have been eight years old at this time, but is only three years of age here. Carrie should have also been 15, but is only around 10 years of age here. 
1393"A New Beginning"October 6, 19807054
Trying to start a new life after Alice's death, Jonathan moves to Sleepy Eye to start his own freight business. Andy expresses to Jonathan his resentment toward Mary and Adam, blaming them for his mother's death. His fledgling business quickly becomes the target of robbers, and it is not long before Jonathan, wanting to stop it, becomes a deputy sheriff. He catches the ringleader, but the matter quickly becomes personal when Andy is beaten by the leader's underlings 
1404"Fight Team Fight!"October 13, 19807056
One-time football star Pete Ellerbee comes to Walnut Grove to coach the town's football team. Albert decides to join, as he can learn valuable skills such as teamwork, responsibility and doing your best. But those aren't Ellerbee's goals: his goal is but one—to win—since it proves manhood and pride. Soon, football isn't so much fun in Walnut Grove when Ellerbee's desire to push the boys beyond their abilities endangers their safety and well-being. 
1415"The Silent Cry"October 20, 19807051

Houston, the cantankerous caretaker of the Blind School, gets a turn in the spotlight when two orphaned boys are threatened with separation. the younger boy named Josh (David Faustino) is mute, making him unappealing to any potential families, but his older brother, Michael, has plenty to offer. Houston realizes that both brothers have value and wants to adopt them, but the adoption agency denies him. When a young couple wants to adopt Michael but not Josh, both brothers become very upset and run away, leaving Houston to frantically search for the two.

Note: 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. 
1426"Portrait of Love"October 27, 19807055
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 English art exhibitor is so impressed with Annie's work, even before he finds out she was blind, and has her art publicized. Annie's birth mother realizes who she is and wants to contact her, but Annie, embittered because she felt abandoned, fights the efforts but reconsiders when she learns why. Meanwhile, Percival requests permission from Nellie to confront Harriet about her interference in their lives, insisting that Harriet's over-protectiveness of Nellie end. 
1437"Divorce, Walnut Grove Style"November 10, 19807057
After having a fight with him, Laura believes that Almanzo is having an affair with a former girlfriend and wants to leave him. Laura picks a fight with the young woman, then realizes how wrong she was and tries to make amends for the confusion, but fails. In the end, she apologizes to Almanzo, and they make up. 
1448"Dearest Albert, I'll Miss You"November 17, 19807059
As a school project, Albert becomes pen pals with a girl elsewhere in the state. Both of them, however, fabricate stories about themselves in attempts to be more attractive to the other: Albert postures himself as a tall athlete and Leslie (Suzy Gilstrap ) portrays herself as a ballerina in spite of her paraplegia, which confines her to a wheelchair. 
1459"The In-laws"November 24, 19807058
Charles and Almanzo, at the suggestion of Jonathan Garvey, decide to start a freight business to Sleepy Eye. When Almanzo suggests that there might be a shortcut to get to Sleepy Eye, the two decide to have a race to see who is right. 
14610"To See the Light (Part 1)"December 1, 19807060
After being caught in an explosion, Adam regains his sight, which worries Mary, who thinks he will not want to be saddled with a blind wife now that he's free to move about without help. 
14711"To See the Light (Part 2)"December 8, 19807061

Having regained his sight, Adam resumes his aspirations of becoming a lawyer. While taking his entrance exam, he is assaulted by hoodlums and falls ill, causing him to miss the final exam. Mary and Charles convince the schoolmaster to grant Adam permission to finish the test, and Adam wins a scholarship to law school.

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. 
14812"Oleson Versus Oleson"January 5, 19817062
A town referendum is scheduled, wherein an affirmative vote will allow women to have equal property ownership rights. The men of Hero Township all oppose this effort, including Nels, Charles and Almanzo. Those three men, however, agree to the concept of equal rights for women, but have their reasons for not supporting the referendum. When Caroline finds out, she rounds up the women and leads a successful effort to get the men to see the errors of their ways. 
14913"Come, Let Us Reason Together"January 12, 19817063

Percival's real name is revealed as Isaac Cohen. When Percival's parents visit Walnut Grove, his father, Benjamin, is revealed to be a hot-tempered man who lives by his Jewish faith. This conflicts with Harriet's full-fledged Christian ideals. Nels brokers peace between Benjamin and Harriet with the deal that a boy would be raised Jewish and a girl would be raised Christian. When Nellie gives birth, she unexpectedly has twins, naming them Benjamin and Jennifer. Nellie and Percival agree to raise their son as Jewish and their daughter as Christian.

Note: Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert do not appear in this episode. 
15014"The Nephews"January 19, 19817064

Almanzo's brother Royal (Woody Eney) visits Walnut Grove and leaves his two pesky boys in Almanzo and Laura's care while Royal and his wife enjoy a vacation. Overwhelmed by the boys' constant mischief, Almanzo and Laura finally decide to beat them at their own game.

Note: This is the first appearance of Royal Wilder. The episode also implies that Royal's wife is pregnant with daughter Jenny, whom we will meet two seasons later in the "...A New Beginning" series. 
15115"Make A Joyful Noise"January 26, 19817065
Joe Kagen moves to Sleepy Eye to assist at the school for the blind. While there, he begins to develop feelings for Hester Sue. She, however, is planning to marry an undertaker. 
15216"Goodbye, Mrs. Wilder"February 2, 19817066
Laura finally loses her patience with Mrs. Oleson's meddling and 'suggestions' for the school. So, Laura resigns and lets Mrs. Oleson run the school, a task she gleefully accepts. She implements French lessons and art appreciation into the curriculum, and makes the children wear uniforms to school, to the students' and many parents' consternation. Albert leads a class rebellion against Mrs. Oleson's nonsense, but Laura admonishes him for taking matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, Nels, who supports the more traditional curriculum, says nothin, since he knows he can't get through to his wife, so he allows the visiting regional superintendent of schools to do the talking for him. 
15317"Sylvia (Part 1)"February 9, 19817067
A new, attractive student, 15-year-old Sylvia Webb, catches the eye of the boys at the school. She and Albert become friends, and start to like each other more and more. Sylvia becomes a victim of a sexual assault by a masked assailant. She is forced by her father to keep it a secret until she collapses at school. Mrs. Oleson, at the switchboard, overhears Doc Baker telling Mr. Webb that Sylvia is pregnant. She then begins spreading gossip around the town that Albert is the father. 
15418"Sylvia (Part 2)"February 16, 19817068
Out of shame due to the rumors, Sylvia's father decides that they must move out of Walnut Grove. Albert gets a job with the town's blacksmith, Irv Hartwig. Sylvia and Albert meet in secret and make plans to get married and raise her child as their own. Caroline (who earlier had confronted Mrs. Oleson about spreading lies about Albert being the baby's father) counsels Albert about whether he is ready to get married. Meanwhile, after Sylvia's father calls her a whore, she runs away. Mr. Webb, looking for Sylvia, barges into the Ingalls house armed with a shotgun, but when Albert affirms that he did not get Sylvia pregnant, Mr. Webb finally accepts this. Albert convinces Mr. Hartwig to anonymously lend him money so Albert and Sylvia can elope. As Sylvia is hiding in a barn waiting for Albert, the rapist returns, but Albert arrives and fights him. Sylvia falls from a ladder trying to escape and Mr. Webb and Charles arrive in time to kill the rapist. Sylvia later dies in Albert's arms. 
15519"Blind Justice"February 23, 19817069
Adam becomes a lawyer, but after a promised job at a law firm falls through, he and Mary decide to return to Walnut Grove so Adam can open a law firm of his own. He takes on as his first client—a man accused of swindling the citizens of Walnut Grove in a railroad land deal, to the anger and violence of the townsfolk. 
15620"I Do, Again"March 2, 19817070
Laura finds out that she is pregnant. Caroline, who also believes that she is pregnant, finds out from Doc Baker that she is experiencing early menopause and can't have any more children. Charles, heartbroken upon learning that he will never have another natural son, decides to take Caroline on a second honeymoon, and then they renew their wedding vows. 
15721"The Lost Ones (Part 1)"May 4, 19817071

Charles and Albert go on a delivery run and meet up and travel with the Cooper family: parents Alvin and Sarah, 11-year-old James and eight-year-old Cassandra. The Coopers are on their way to join Alvin's Uncle Jed on a gold claim. When they encounter a steep hill, Charles and Alvin agree to take the hill one at a time, with James and Cassandra staying with the Ingalls wagon. Charles makes it to the bottom safely, but Alvin loses control of his wagon as he starts down. The horses break free from the wagon, which goes off the road and overturns, killing Alvin and Sarah instantly as the children watch in horror. Charles takes traumatized James and Cassandra to their Uncle Jed at his gold claim, but he is old and poor and unable to take custody of them. Charles takes the children to Walnut Grove while he searches for a foster family who will accept the children, knowing he cannot financially support any more children in his already-crowded home.

Notes: Jason Bateman and Missy Francis join the cast as orphans James and Cassandra Cooper. This is the final appearance of the Garveys (Merlin Olsen and Patrick Laborteaux). 
15822"The Lost Ones (Part 2)"May 11, 19817072

Rev. Alden announces he has found a family (the Tompkins family) to take in orphaned James and Cassandra, unaware that the father is mean and merely interested in extra farmhands. At one point, James is unjustly accused of stealing from Mr. Tompkins and is given a whipping. Eventually, the abuse takes its toll, and James and Cassandra run away. Mr. Tompkins tells the Ingalls that the children are missing, but when Tompkins declines to help Charles in the search, it becomes clear that he is more interested in getting the children home to teach them a lesson rather than for their safety. In the end, James and Cassandra decide they would be much happier living with the Ingalls family, a responsibility that Charles and Caroline realize they must accept.

Notes: The film Love's Unending Legacy uses a similar theme from this episode—for which Michael Landon, Jr. was co-executive producer. This is the final appearance for Steve Tracy as Percival Dalton. 

Season 8 (1981–1982)[edit]

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

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
1601"The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 1)"October 5, 19818402

Nellie and Percival move to New York City to take over Percival's father's store upon his death. Adam and Mary also move there so Adam can work at his late father's law firm. Mrs. Oleson becomes very depressed, and to cheer her up, Nels agrees to go to an orphanage to find a little girl to adopt. The trouble is, Harriet wants someone who is just like Nellie, and soon the Olesons have found that in a brat named Nancy. She quickly causes trouble in Walnut Grove, and it soon becomes obvious she is capable of doing and saying things that are far worse than what Nellie ever did.

Note: This is the first appearance for Nancy Oleson (Allison Balson). Other storylines in this two-part episode include Adam and Mary moving to New York City (to take an open position at Adam's late father's law firm), and Hester Sue moving to Walnut Grove after the blind school in Sleepy Eye is placed under the state's control. 
1612"The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 2)"October 12, 19818403
Nancy tricks her new brother Willie into locking a classroom rival, Belinda Stevens, in the ice shed so Nancy could play the lead role in an upcoming musical. Laura later learns that a sob story Nancy had told the class—that she had been abandoned by her mother—is untrue; Nancy's mother died while giving birth and she had been forced to move from orphanage to orphanage because of her increasingly incorrigible behavior. Eventually, Laura, with some help from Belinda and the other kids, trick Nancy into being the "Queen of the Dunk Tank" at Walnut Grove's town festival. 
1623"Growin' Pains"October 19, 19818401
James becomes very insecure about living in Albert's shadow and annoys him by emulating him. After he is caught stealing a razor blade from the Mercantile (after having broken Albert's original blade), James decides to run away. Albert searches for his brother and, in a bit of reverse psychology, tells him that he is running away too. During a severe thunderstorm, the two take refuge in a large house, where the two bond. 
1634"Dark Sage"October 26, 19818405
Doc Baker hires a university-trained doctor named Caleb LeDoux. Dr. LeDoux is black and, with the exception of the Ingalls family, finds very little work because of his skin color. Even Doc Baker is somewhat prejudiced and gives his new assistant menial tasks. Later, when Doc Baker is unavailable for a call, Dr. LeDoux is called on to save a pregnant mother having complications during childbirth. He saves her life by performing an emergency cesarean section, and Doc Baker realizes the doctor had training he does not possess. An angry Dr. LeDoux threatens to leave, but only upon Doc Baker's impassioned plea does he decide to stay. The residents of Walnut Grove decide to welcome Dr. LeDoux. 
1645"A Wiser Heart"November 2, 19818404

Laura attends a writing seminar in Arizona, but things don't go very smoothly, thanks to differences between her and Eliza Jane, being forced to work as a dishwasher for a cold hearted restaurant owner, and a less-than-honorable professor.

Note: Leslie Landon appears in this episode as a dishwasher. 
1656"Gambini the Great"November 9, 19818406

Albert, Willie, and the other schoolchildren are taken in by the stunts of an aging circus daredevil, and try to replicate them. Only after a tragedy occurs when the daredevil is unable to perform one of his stunts do they learn a lesson about hero worship.

Guest star: Jack Kruschen 
1667"The Legend of Black Jake"November 16, 19818407
Nels is kidnapped by a pair of bumbling criminals who demand a $100 ransom. Tightwad Mrs. Oleson refuses to pay the ransom, leaving Nels to plot his own revenge. 
1678"Chicago"November 23, 19818411

Charles visits grief-stricken Mr. Edwards in Chicago after John Jr. dies in an apparent street accident. Suspicions quickly arise over the circumstances of John Jr.'s death once his boss reveals he was investigating business corruption and was about to go public with his findings. It soon becomes clear that John Jr. was murdered, and it is up to Charles and Edwards to uncover the truth.

Guest star: Ernie Hudson appears as a ditch worker. 
1689"For the Love of Nancy"November 30, 19818408

When Mrs. Oleson leaves for two weeks, Nancy and Cassandra get into a catfight, and a furious Laura separates them, forbidding them to fight. An overweight boy named Elmer is mercilessly teased by his new classmates, but quickly catches Nancy's eye. Of course, Nancy has plenty of cruel tricks up her sleeve as she uses Elmer to get her way with the students.

Note: Michael Landon does not appear in this episode. 
16910"Wave of the Future"December 7, 19818409

Mrs. Oleson, believing business to be slow at Nellie's Restaurant, is drawn into the world of restaurant franchising. Nellie's restaurant is renamed "Mrs. Sullivan's" and, directed by the franchising agent with whom Harriet has signed a contract, the business is restructured to make it more profitable. Unfortunately, the business becomes so busy that Caroline, Hester Sue and Mrs. Oleson have no time or energy for anything else, leading Charles and Nels to respond by opening their own restaurant as part of a plan to release Mrs. Oleson from her contract. The new restaurant's success, plus the demands of the franchiser, conspire to do in Mrs. Oleson's restaurant, and it isn't long before it reverts back to Nellie's.

Note: The character at the end of the story (credited as "Bearded Man") making a "business proposition" to Harriet is clearly meant to imply Harlan "Colonel" Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. (This is an anachronism as Colonel Sanders had not yet been born, and Kentucky Fried Chicken would not be founded until midway through the next century.) 
17011"A Christmas They Never Forgot"December 21, 19818410

Adam and Mary return to Walnut Grove for Christmas, and arrive at the Ingalls' just ahead of a fierce blizzard. The Ingalls, along with their friend, Hester Sue, spend the snowy Christmas Eve recalling favorite holiday memories.

Note: This is the final appearances of Melissa Sue Anderson and Linwood Boomer
17112"No Beast So Fierce"January 4, 19828412

James makes friends with Gideon, a young boy who stutters. Behind his friend's back, James joins in the teasing, and a distraught Gideon runs away. While Caroline searches for Gideon (to persuade him to come home), Charles invites James along on a shipping trip to Minneapolis. Along the way, a feral dog tags along and ends up playing a key role in resolving James' and Gideon's differences.

Guest star: Peter Billingsley 
17213"Stone Soup"January 18, 19828413
Laura has a heart-to-heart talk with Willie about responsibility and being a good example to younger students. It is a talk Willie takes seriously, particularly after a pregnant Laura, overwhelmed by managing Almanzo's orchard in his absence, collapses from heat stroke. Willie runs to get Doc Baker, and winds up saving Laura's life. Then, after hearing Caroline read "Stone Soup" at school, Willie enlists his classmates to help local farmers deal with the drought (starting with Laura's orchard) until Almanzo returns. 
17314"The Legacy"January 25, 19828414
In a flashforward to the present, a couple is purchasing an antique table branded with a large "CI". Then, in a flashback, we learn that the table was a patent Charles created. Charles had gone to a factory to have the tables produced, but a crooked businessman steals the plans and makes a fortune for himself. In the end, Charles decides after all is said and done, his greatest legacy is his family. 
17415"Uncle Jed"February 1, 19828415
Just as Charles and Caroline are about to formally adopt James and Cassandra, Uncle Jed shows up, wanting custody. Initially, this is granted by a circuit judge (as the adoption was not yet formalized), but after suffering a coughing fit in front of the Mercantile, he is diagnosed with consumption and advised to move to the Southwest by Doc Baker. Taking the doctor's advice, he relinquishes custody to the Ingalls, telling the children he has sudden "business" far from Walnut Grove. 
17516"Second Chance"February 8, 19828416
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. Hester Sue believes him and it is not long before they plan to remarry, but on the wedding day, a surprise visitor shows up, who turns out to be Sam's current wife Naomi, saying she will release Sam. It becomes clear that he does not deserve a second chance with either woman. 
17617"Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 1)"February 15, 19828417
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'. 
17718"Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 2)"February 22, 19828418

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. 
17819"A Promise to Keep"March 1, 19828419

Mr. Edwards returns to Walnut Grove, harboring some devastating secrets: his alcoholism, fueled by his grief over John Jr.'s violent death, has caused his marriage with Grace to fall apart. He goes to great lengths to obtain alcohol. While in Sleepy Eye, a drunken Edwards causes an accident that nearly kills Albert. An angry Charles orders Edwards to leave and never come near the family again, leaving Laura as his last hope. Laura takes Edwards in and helps him sober up, until he receives a letter from Grace telling him that she has filed for divorce. A desperate Edwards tries to break into the Mercantile to steal some alcohol, but eventually walks into the church and begs God for forgiveness and guidance. He becomes godfather to Laura's daughter Rose and converts to Christianity.

Note: Corinne Michaels appears as Grace Snider Edwards, replacing Bonnie Bartlett. (Michaels also appears in season four's "My Ellen", playing Eloise Taylor.) 
17920"A Faraway Cry"March 8, 19828420
Caroline accompanies Doc Baker to a mining camp where an influenza virus has felled many of its residents and where Caroline's childhood friend is pregnant and desperately ill. Caroline vows to give the baby a good home after its mother dies shortly after giving birth. 
18021"He Was Only Twelve (Part 1)"May 3, 19828421

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. When the doctor tells Charles that the injuries are potentially fatal, he and Mr. Edwards, and eventually Albert, who joins against Charles' orders, go on a hunt for the robbers.

Guest star: Georg Olden

Notes: An episode of Bonanza, titled "He Was Only Seven", (written by Michael Landon) had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode. 
18122"He Was Only Twelve (Part 2)"May 10, 19828422

James remains comatose after being wounded. Charles refuses to accept that James' injuries are fatal but believes God has told him James will be healed. This causes strains for his family and friends who wonder if he is losing grip on reality. Eventually, Charles leaves for the hills with James, and builds an altar, refusing to leave until God heals James. Charles prays to God for a miracle.

Notes: In this episode are the final appearances of Caroline (until Little House: The Last Farewell), Carrie, Grace, Cassandra, and James; their absence is explained in the season nine premiere that they moved, to Burr Oak, Iowa. Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode. 

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

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

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
1821"Times Are Changing (Part 1)"September 27, 19828451
In the premiere, the Ingalls family, having suffered hard times and wanting to find a better life in the city, move to Burr Oak, Iowa. They sell their homestead to the Carter family, who are moving from New York City to find a simpler life. 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 that the true reason he came back to Walnut Grove is to give Jenny a chance to know who would become her adopted parents. 
1832"Times Are Changing (Part 2)"October 4, 19828452
In the conclusion, the Carters adjust to life in Walnut Grove, but Jenny has a hard time doing so after her father dies. She blames Laura for her father's death saying that if she had known, she could have helped him live. Jenny is so distraught that she attempts suicide by trying to drown herself. Jeb gets over his fear of water by diving in and saving Jenny, and Laura teaches her adopted daughter a "tough love" lesson on the importance of life like Charles had before her. 
1843"Welcome to Olesonville"October 11, 19828454

A power-hungry Mrs. Oleson obtains the town's bond and uses it to force an election: Elect Nels mayor or else. The townsfolk realize Nels will merely become a puppet for his wife and fight back with a candidate of their own.

Guest stars: Charles Lane, Lew Ayres 
1854"Rage"October 18, 19828456

A farmer named Mr. Stark is denied a loan at the bank and soon goes bankrupt. He flies into a terrible rage and hurts his wife and daughter. The families of Walnut Grove are held in tension as Mr Stark is still out in the wilderness. He then stumbles upon the Wilders house, and Laura and Jenny must use their brains to get out of a tricky situation.

Guest stars: Robert Loggia, Tammy Lauren, Ronnie Scribner 
1865"Little Lou"October 25, 19828453

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. 
1876"The Wild Boy (Part 1)"November 1, 19828457
The circus comes to Walnut Grove, and one of the most popular attractions is the "Wild Boy", a wild-looking boy in a cage who goes mad when the circus owner beats him with a stick for the audience to enjoy. When the Walnut Grove children sneak into his tent and Nancy pushes him with the stick, Jenny attacks her in his defense. This drives the boy to escape and find his way to the Wilders' barn. Jenny befriends him and realized he is not wild, only mute and tortured. He can even write his name, Matthew. Almanzo and Laura discover Matthew had been beaten by his master and given morphine elixir. While they try to keep Matthew safe with Mr. Edwards, his master has posted a reward for the boy's return, which Nancy hopes to claim. 
1887"The Wild Boy (Part 2)"November 8, 19828458
Laura has taught Matthew, Jenny and Mr. Edwards sign language and now Matthew is a rightful member of the community, accepted by adults and children alike. However, Nancy, whose mind is focused on the large reward, leads his former master to Mr. Edwards. This initiates a custody battle between the cruel circus master and Mr. Edwards. The judge initially decides to have Matthew put in a mental hospital, but after a heartfelt and tearful speech by Mr. Edwards, allows him to keep Matthew in Walnut Grove as long as he keeps silent. 
1898"The Return of Nellie"November 15, 19828459

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. 
1909"The Empire Builders"November 22, 19828460
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. 
19110"Love"November 29, 19828462
Laura's childhood friend, who is blind, falls in love with Mr. Edwards, and the age difference does not seem to matter. Later, the young woman has surgery to restore her sight, and her feelings do not change at all when she sees that Mr. Edwards is gruff-looking. Eventually, he encourages her to pursue her dreams instead. 
19211"Alden's Dilemma"December 6, 19828461
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. 
19312"Marvin's Garden"January 3, 19838463

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
19413"Sins of the Fathers"January 10, 19838464
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. 
19514"The Older Brothers"January 17, 19838455

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. 
19615"Once Upon a Time"January 24, 19838465

Laura wins a story-writing contest and is offered the opportunity to publish her writings. She writes a book that drives Almanzo and Jenny to tears, a book that in later years will be known as Little House in the Big Woods. The editor agrees to publish it, but only in a heavily edited form. Jenny convinces Laura that this new book is a lie and must not be published.

Note: At the end of the episode Michael Landon works as the narrator when a flashforward to present time is seen the first time since episode The Legacy. 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
197/19816"Home Again (Parts 1 & 2)"February 7, 19838467/033210

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. 
19917"A Child with No Name"February 14, 19838466

Laura's newborn son unexpectedly dies at night with no apparent reason at only a week old. Laura blames Doc Baker for the baby's death and chalks it up to his incompetence. Doc Baker's reputation is badly damaged, and he is almost forced out of Walnut Grove. Later, Rose becomes sick with smallpox and, against Laura's wishes, Almanzo calls on Doc Baker. When the two are quarantined, Laura soon realizes what she always knew: that Doc Baker is a good doctor.

Note: This is the final appearance of Ketty Lester as Hester-Sue Terhune. 
20018"The Last Summer"February 21, 19838469
Jason begins doing odd jobs for an aging woman (Vera Miles). Sarah becomes jealous over the blossoming friendship, until the woman reveals her that she is dying. Jason makes plenty of happy memories with his friend before her death. 
20119"For the Love of Blanche"March 7, 19838470
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. 
20220"May I Have This Dance?"March 14, 19838471
Willie, fed up once and for all with his mother's meddling about him going to college, fails his exam on purpose to marry his girlfriend, Rachel Brown. Mrs. Oleson believes Rachel is trying to destroy Willie's chances on going to college and decides not to show up at her son's wedding, even though Nancy is going. But she comes anyways dressed in black funeral garb. Nels sees through her, and later reminds her the circumstance were the same when they wed, and says how happy he is to have married her. Meanwhile, with Laura as company, Mae Flannery (Barbara Townsend), an elderly friend of hers passes away peacefully in her bed from old age, but before doing so makes Laura promise to take the huge house she leaves behind as she has no heirs. Laura sets about turning it into a boardinghouse to help pay for its upkeep, which Willie and Rachel plan on moving into once wed. 
20321"Hello and Goodbye"March 21, 19838472

Matthew's natural father wants to reclaim custody of his son. Matthew shows hatred towards his father for abandoning him, but in the end decides to go and live with him. A devastated Mr. Edwards winds up moving to Laura's new boarding house, where an Englishman named Sherwood Montague, and newlyweds Willie and Rachel Oleson, have also taken up residence.

Note: Low ratings (#28) caused the series to be canceled, ending a total of nine seasons of the "Little House" franchise. Thus, in order to wrap up the series' storyline, post-series TV movies of this show would air in the following television season. 

Post-series movies (1983–1984)[edit]

No. in seriesNo. in seasonTitleDirectorWriter(s)Air dateProduction code
1CSpecial #3Little House on the Prairie: A Look Back to YesterdayVictor FrenchVince GutierrezDecember 12, 19838486

Charles and Albert return to Walnut Grove to assist the farmers in starting a cooperative. During the visit, Albert begins suffering from serious nosebleeds, and is subsequently diagnosed with a form of leukemia. In the end, he lives through the final scene holding Laura's hand at the top of the hill in front of the keepsake tree.

Note: Originally aired as a two-hour movie. When offered in syndication, it is shown as either a two-part episode or in its entirety. 
2CSpecial #4Little House: Bless All the Dear ChildrenVictor FrenchChris AbbottDecember 17, 19840407

While the Wilders and Mr. Edwards are shopping in Mankato, Rose is kidnapped by a grief-stricken mother, prompting a desperate search for the little girl. A young orphan boy is a key player in the frantic search. The woman realizes how wrong she was and she and her husband adopt the orphan boy. Meanwhile, Jason starts a Christmas tree delivery service (to raise money for gifts), Nancy refuses to help contribute to the Olesons' Christmas gathering, while Mr. Montague learns the meaning of Christmas.

Notes: Originally aired as a two-hour movie. When offered in syndication, it is shown either as a two-part episode 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." 
3CSpecial #5Little House: The Last FarewellMichael LandonMichael LandonFebruary 6, 19840400

During Charles and Caroline's visit to Walnut Grove in the year 1890, residents learn that railroad tycoon Nathan Lassiter holds deed to Hero Township. Meanwhile, Mrs. Oleson is seriously ill and is in a hospital in Minneapolis. Despite their best efforts, the residents are unable to drive Mr. Lassiter away. When they attempt to resist with force, Mr. Lassiter comes back with a detachment of Union soldiers who order everyone to leave. Though Mr. Lassiter demands the residents' instant evacuation, the soldiers allow the residents to remain until Easter Sunday.

Angered at the injustice done to them, the residents decide that they should send a (literally) explosive message to Mr. Lassiter that he can have the land, but not the town. Laura and Almanzo blow up their boarding house before the residents of Walnut Grove blow up the town, building by building—excluding the church/schoolhouse (which only suffers minimal damage). Lassiter and the troops return later only to see the destroyed Walnut Grove and the townsfolk all gathered in front of the damaged school. Lassiter wants them all arrested but the troop leader tells him that the residents did nothing wrong, and the leaders from the other towns tell Lassiter that if he takes over their towns they'll do the same thing as Walnut Grove did.

In the end Reverend Alden says, "Did you hear? Walnut Grove did not die in vain." Everyone marches out proudly singing a church song and afterward, the townspeople go off to start new lives elsewhere. The Little House on the Prairie (the last building left) is left intact and the scene ends with a bunch of Easter bunnies hopping around the Little House, signifying perhaps a resurrection of Walnut Grove in the future.

Note: Originally aired as a two-hour movie. When offered in syndication, it is shown as either a two-part episode or in its entirety. 

External links[edit]