Little House on the Prairie

A Harvest of Friends

Season 1, Ep 1, Aired 9/11/74
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  • Episode Description
  • Charles Ingalls has decided to settle his family on the banks of Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. He builds a home for them with his own hands and heads into town immediately to look for work. It is hard enough meeting his financial responsibilities and finding enough time to spend with his family, but the greatest challenge arrives when an unfortunate accident places the Ingalls in jeopardy.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Dabbs Greer

    Reverend Alden

  • Melissa Sue Anderson

    Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Richard Bull

    Nels Oleson

  • Fan Reviews (8)
  • The first actual episode of the series, and one of the best as Charles and Caroline Ingalls arrive in Walnut Grove with their three young girls and decide to settle there on the banks of Plum Creek.

    By Lady_Lancaster, Mar 14, 2011

  • This episode sets the scene perfectly for the beloved show that lasts nearly a decade.

    By Naley_Tvfan, Oct 29, 2006

  • This is the series at its best.

    By Mac-Ale, May 28, 2007

  • The INgalls come to walnut grove to settle. They buy the farm from Mr. Hanson and Charles builds the little house. He makes a deal with the feed and seed owner to repair his roof and stack grain in swap for plow and seed. Trouble strikes

    By pbeaking, Jun 30, 2007

  • This remains one of my very favorite episodes of the series.

    By LOSTismylife, Jan 12, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (12)

    • Reverend Alden: I'm looking out at the congregation today, and I must say that I'm distressed. I see many familiar faces, but the absence of several others. I see many women here without their husbands. If one of those people had experienced a loss this week, then I'm sure I would have heard about it. Now, we're all sinners--some to a lesser degree than others, but still sinners. It is only by attending Church and asking for God's forgiveness that we can be cleansed of those sins. Think upon that for a minute.

    • Laura: (final narration) That was our happiest homecoming ever. Pa said he was glad we'd come to live on the banks of Plum Creek, because here he'd harvested a crop he didn't know he'd planted: a harvest of friends.

    • Charles: I'm sorry I didn't go to Church. Caroline: You should've gone to Church. Charles: That's why I just said I'm sorry I didn't go to Church!

    • Mr. Hanson: Go ahead and take them Ingalls; make the old man happy. You know, he wouldn't dare keep those chickens, because they would die on him, and then folks would know he's a fraud. Doc Baker: Fraud!? Well, you old billy goat, you can't even blow a whistle on time. He's three minutes late. Mr. Hanson: Nah, you are three minutes early! It's that cheap watch of his. Doc Baker: Cheap is it? Ingalls, I'll have you know this is a very expensive chronometer, given to me when I graduated from medical school. Mr. Hanson: Oooohhh, well, if it's that old it's an hourglass! When he graduated, they didn't have watches!

    • Nels Oleson: What can I do for you? Charles: Well, I'd like a plow and weed seed; enough for a hundred acres. Nels Oleson: I understand you're building a house out there. Charles: We got it finished yesterday. I can start breaking sod as soon as I get that plow. I, uh, I don't have any money right now. I'd like to pledge a share on the first crop. Harriet Oleson: We do give credit to a few farmers that we've known for a long time, but only to a few. Nels Oleson: There is a reason, you see, we need the money to buy the things we need to keep in business. Charles: I understand, cash on the barrel, and that's the way I like to deal and wheel, just as soon as I get that first crop to sale. Harriet Oleson: Mr. Ingalls, do you know how many families move out here and plant their crops and run up more bills than they can hope to pay for, and then skip out in the dead of night? I can show you a whole drawer full-- Charles: Mrs. Oleson, I can assure you I had no intention of running out in the middle of the night.

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    Notes (5)

    • Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) went by the nickname "Missy" on the set of the show, because with Melissa Gilbert (Laura) also around, it got confusing. Anderson has said that she used to call herself "Missa" when she was really little, and then Missy came shortly after that, and now her husband calls her Miss.

    • In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson revealed that in the show's opening credits, where the Ingalls girls are seen running down the hill, the hill was actually much less verdant that it appears. In order to make it appear more springtime like, the set decorators placed artificial flowers on wire stems all over the part of the field that would have been within camera range. All of the white daisies and other flowers that appear in the credits were fake; nothing was in bloom at the time. Furthermore, Anderson said that one of the wires supporting the flowers cut her on the leg, causing her to fall and sustain a minor whiplash. Later, a sprinkler system was installed on set, allowing those in charge to better control the environment, and thus the appearance, of Walnut Grove.

    • Melissa Gilbert remembers the day in June 1974, when she had to film the closing titles at Big Sky Ranch for the show: "Actually, I was scared to death because the entire hill was covered with bees and I am allergic to them. We actually had to do it a few times because I kept running real fast just to get away. Mike finally persuaded me to slow down so I would not disturb the bees and they'd leave me alone....he was right."

    • Filming Locations: Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, CA, and Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA.

    • Featured characters: The Ingalls family

    Trivia (4)

    • When Ma is plowing the field, she walks directly in front of the oxen, leading them. If she had stumbled, they would have trampled her to death in an instant.

    • When Doc Baker leaves Charles in bed, one can see out the front window of the house (presumably the window in Carrie's room) and there are branches from a green shrub right outside. However, front views of the house do not reveal any shrubs or trees anywhere near the house.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Laura says "If I had a remembrance book....." Then, later in the episode, she says, "In my remembrance book, I marked down....." The writers obviously couldn't decide if Laura really had a remembrance book, or if she was just wishing she had one.

    • Reverend Alden appears harsher in this episode than in future ones. His sermon is darker and strongly emphasizes the wrath of God, in response to many so-called Christians who don't attend church every Sunday. In the future, though, Reverend Alden lightened up a lot, and his tone was different.

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