Little House on the Prairie

A Child With No Name

Season 9, Ep 18, Aired 2/14/83
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  • Episode Description
  • With the birth of a beautiful baby boy in the spring, it appears that Laura and Almanzo's family is now complete. However, when the infant dies for no apparent reason, a distraught Laura blames Doc Baker, who spent days insisting that their son was perfectly healthy. Quickly alienated by the entire Walnut Grove community, his tainted reputation forces him to consider moving his practice elsewhere.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Dean Butler

    Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)

  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Dabbs Greer

    Reverend Alden

  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Richard Bull

    Nels Oleson

  • Fan Reviews (6)
  • It was very touching

    By ZJBohanan, Feb 15, 2013

  • Worth a watch just for the riviting speech in the end

    By cybernaut_ev, Nov 08, 2006

  • Still watching this show brings tears to my eyes!

    By JPPT1974, Jul 14, 2007

  • Laura's infant son dies and in her grief, she pins the blame on Doc Baker. Others in Walnut Grove do the same until the good doctor succeeds once again in his practice.

    By walnutgrove, Mar 21, 2009

  • Laura and Almanzo's newborn baby dies unexpectedly and Laura feels that Dr. Baker is to blame. When Rose becomes gravely ill, he cares for her around the clock until she is well again and Laura has forgiven him.

    By DrCook920, Jul 08, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (12)

    • Mr. Edwards: (after the town stands behind Doc Baker) This calls for a celebration! Everybody in the restaurant! Everything's on Mrs. Oleson!

    • Laura: What are you laughing at? Doc Baker: (to her and Almanzo) You two, that's what. This is the third time in two weeks that you've brought this baby in to be checked. Almanzo: I knew all along that he was fine. Laura: It's just that boys don't run much in my family. I grew up knowing how badly Pa wanted a son, and when he finally got one, the baby died. Doc Baker: (pauses) I'm sorry, Laura. I should have been more sensitive. Laura: It's all right. I just want to make sure my baby's healthy.

    • Laura: (about naming the baby) It was so much easier when we were sure it was gonna be a girl. Almanzo: Yeah, and the only problem is, I can't think of a boy's name similar to Elizabeth.

    • Jenny: (looking at baby names for Laura and Almanzo's son) Here's my favorite. Nathan. Laura: But everyone's gonna call him Nate. How did that all get started, anyway? I mean, nobody ever called my Pa "Charlie," or James "Jimmy," or Albert "Al." Almanzo: You never minded Beth. Laura: Well, that's different. Almanzo: Why? Laura: Well, because only you call me that. Besides, it's pretty. I wouldn't mind having Beth for my real first name. Jenny: I still think there's nothing wrong with "Almanzo, Jr." Almanzo: Well, I wouldn't mind that either, Jenny, if I was sure he was going to be a farmer like me, but suppose he wants to be a doctor. I think he should have something more sophisticated, like Theodore. Laura: Teddy. Almanzo: Hmm? Laura: Everyone will call him Teddy. What kind of name is that? Teddy Wilder. Jenny: This is getting ridiculous. No matter what anyone suggests, there's always something wrong. Almanzo: All right, well, we need to figure out something for the time being. We know he's a boy, and we know he's a baby, so until we settle on a name, how about if we just call him Baby Wilder? Jenny: Oh, no! Laura: That'll make us want to think of a name real fast. But, until then, Baby Wilder it is.

    • Nels: Harriet? Harriet: Yes? Nels: Don't ever do that again. Harriet: Not dust the shelves? Nels: You know perfectly well what I'm talking about! You deliberately snubbed Doc Baker. Harriet: Oh, did I? Nels: Yes! He's a fine man, and he's a-- Harriet: He's a quack! That's what he is! Nels: He's a friend of mine! And as long as he is, you will be civil to him. Harriet: Oh, is that so? Nels: Yes, that's so. And please keep your totally irresponsible opinions of him to yourself. Harriet: Irresponsible?!?!? Nels: Yes! Harriet: That man should thank his stars that he is walking around free, and not behind bars, where he belongs. Why, he as much as murdered Laura's child! Nels: That's not true! Harriet: It is true! And Laura herself believes it! Nels: Laura is a disturbed person! A person in her condition has got to have somebody to blame. Time will bring her around, but you have no reason to-- Harriet: You listen to me, Nels Oleson, and you listen with both of your ears! The town has turned against Doc Baker. Nels: With no small thanks to you, I'm sure. Harriet: Because he's incompetent, that's why! Can't you get it through your head? I will never, and our children will never go into his office ever again, because if we do, that's irresponsible! (storms out)

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    Notes (3)

    • This is the last episode of the series where we can hear one of the show's most popular church hymns, "Bringing in the Sheaves".

    • This episode marks the final appearance of Hester-Sue Terhune in the series.

    • Featured characters: Laura and Dr. Baker

    Trivia (7)

    • There is a significant time jump between this episode and the previous one. The announcement of Laura's pregnancy, the following nine months, and the birth of her and Almanzo's baby boy are all crammed into the first few seconds of the episode.

    • When Doc Baker goes to catch the stagecoach at the end of the episode, he soon sees all the citizens of Walnut Grove walking out of the Church. However, when he and the stage driver are looking around at the "ghost town," the camera pans to the church/school, and there are no buggies or horses outside whatsoever. Are we expected to believe that all those people walked into town?

    • The real Laura and Almanzo Wilder had a son after Rose, and he died as a baby. The real Rose Wilder had the same thing happen to her when she was an adult; she had a son who died shortly after birth. A subsequent surgery left her unable to bear any more children. Very little information is given about this part of Rose's life.

    • It appears that Almanzo is not able to tell when a baby has a fever. He is putting his hand all over little Rose's head as she is screaming hysterically, and he has no reaction. It's only when Laura takes her and feels the back of her head that they realize she is burning up.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Laura explains in her narration that the past December marked Rose's birthday and the news that Laura was pregnant. It doesn't take an eagle eye to realize what's wrong with this. First of all, Rose was absolutely not born during the winter, as evidenced in the summer-like weather that was going on during her birth episode, Season 8's Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow. Secondly, if Rose really did turn one at the same time Laura found out she was pregnant again, then she would have been almost two years old when her little brother was born--and yet throughout the episode, it's obvious that she isn't even a year old yet--probably only about 6 months, which correlates fairly closely with the amount of time that passed since her birth in Season 8, but it doesn't make sense with what the current plot is telling us. It's an absolute joke to say that Rose and her biological baby brother are only months apart. Physically impossible! My only question is, WHAT were the writers thinking???? The only logical explanation is that Michael Landon couldn't find twin toddlers of the right age to play Rose at this time, so their only choice was to have her remain a baby. Note: Actually, the real Rose Wilder was born on December 5, so what the narration said about that was at least true.

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