Little House on the Prairie

Sweet Sixteen

Season 6, Ep 24, Aired 2/25/80
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  • Episode Description
  • When a school in a nearby town is in need of a temporary substitute, 15-year-old Laura finally gets her start as an teacher. For the first time, Almanzo seems to notice that she is growing up.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Patrick Labyorteaux

    Andrew 'Andy' Garvey (1977 - 1981) (as Patrick Laborteaux)

  • Lucy Lee Flippin

    Eliza Jane Wilder (1979 -1980)

  • Melissa Sue Anderson

    Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

  • Richard Bull

    Nels Oleson

  • Fan Reviews (7)
  • Laura takes on a teaching job, which makes Almanzo notice her and no longer think of her as a kid. Almanzo assumes the worst of a situation and makes Laura furious. At the end, a church social, they finally kiss.

    By lisgirl978, Jan 05, 2007

  • Wonderfly amazing!

    By CX5400, Aug 11, 2006

  • *Sigh* When Laura goes to another town to begin her teaching career, Almonzo's feelings for her change from platonic to...lovey dovey. The result is an episode that is 10 on the swoon scale, for those of us who love romance:)

    By walnutgrove, Jan 29, 2009

  • Laura's love is finally returned by Almanzo as he begins to see her in a new light.

    By DrCook920, Mar 13, 2008

  • Laura has loved Manly for a long long time... is he finally coming around...

    By missraye, Jul 13, 2007

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (10)

    • Harriet: (about Laura) Oh, it seems like just yesterday this little girl came running into my store. She could barely reach the counter. It makes me feel so old! Caroline: It doesn't particularly make me feel old, but it does make me feel proud. Harriet: Well, it makes me feel old. You know, I'll never forgive Nellie for growing up!

    • Almanzo: I didn't think you'd be here. Laura: Why not? Didn't you think anybody else would bring me? Almanzo: I didn't mean that. I don't know what I mean. (pauses) I'm sorry about before. I didn't mean that, either. Laura: I know. (sits down next to him; long silence) Almanzo: So, who did you come with? Laura: (smiles) My Pa. Almanzo: I came with my sister. Laura: I know. Almanzo: Since we're both here.....maybe I could kind of be your escort. Laura: You may.

    • Laura: Now, there is too something wrong. What is it? Almanzo: Nothing, it's look different, you know? You look older. Laura: Well, I am older--a week older. Almanzo: Right.

    • Chad: Can I ask you a question? Laura: Of course. Chad: How old are you? Laura: (pause) Why do you want to know? Chad: You look awful young....and small to be a teacher. Laura: I'm old enough to teach, and I have a certificate from the Board of Education. Besides, being bigger doesn't necessarily make you smarter. Chad: (gets defensive, because he himself is tall) It doesn't make you dumber, either. Laura: I agree. The size of your body has nothing to do with the size of your brain.

    • Miss Trimble: You can call me Minnie. We're both teachers, aren't we? Laura: Well, I hope I am--or will be. Miss Trimble: I like that. It shows you're not cocky. You'll be a good teacher, Laura--I can sense it. And I've been at it long enough to know.

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    Notes (8)

    • In the book These Happy Golden Years, where the real Laura is teaching school, she has 3 students by the last name of Brewster: Chad,Ruby and Tommy. In the show, though, only Chad's last name is Brewster. Ruby and Tommy's last name is Dobkins.

    • In this show and this episode, Laura is absolutely thrilled when she lands her first teaching job at age 15. She has a great experience all around, and through it all, she is excited about the possibility of Almanzo falling in love with her. With the real Laura Ingalls Wilder, as depicted in the book Those Happy Golden Years, things weren't quite so rosy. The real Laura didn't want to teach; being so young, she was scared and had very low self-confidence. Once she started, the cold and unkind behavior of her boarding family contributed to a negative experience. When she went home for a weekend for the first time, she had a renewed sense of gratitude for her happy and secure home, and she confided to her sister Carrie that she hated teaching (then begged Carrie not to tell their parents). Furthermore, when Carrie tried comforting her, telling her that maybe she could get married like their mother did and not have to work, Laura said that she didn't want to marry, but rather, she wanted to just stay at home forever. Surely, this is extremely different from Melissa Gilbert's portrayal, where Laura was more than eager to grow up, be a teacher, and be with her true love, Almanzo Wilder.

    • Melissa Gilbert (Laura) has talked about this episode in previous interviews. In the scene where Almanzo went to pick her up from school for the first time, he saw her in a whole new light and spent about 30 seconds just staring at her. Gilbert says that this was extremely awkward and difficult for her to film, because she was only 15 in real life, she had never had a boyfriend, and no man had ever looked at her like that before, so it was almost kind of scary for her. Gilbert claims that she was very similar to Laura in almost every frame of the series, especially the younger years, so she usually didn't feel like she was "acting" when she was on-screen as this character, but in this moment, she had to keep saying in her head, "It's okay, Melissa, you can do this. You're Laura right now. Just be Laura. You'll get through this."

    • Lucille Benson (Miss Trimble) is better known as Lilly Sinclair on Bosom Buddies.

    • When this episode aired in February 1980, Melissa Gilbert herself (Laura) was about 3 months shy of her 16th birthday.

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    Trivia (14)

    • This is the first time we see Laura in a bun, unless you count the one scene in Season 2's The Pride of Walnut Grove when she, at the age of 10, was trying hard to look grown-up for her Pa. With this episode, though, Laura officially transitions to young adulthood.

    • When Almanzo shows up at Laura's school, she smiles and says "Hi, Manly!" very naturally, right before he punches Chad Brewster. The thing is, Almanzo showed up completely unannounced, a day before Laura was expecting him, so shouldn't she have been more surprised to see him?

    • Goof: When the Ingalls family first walks into the social, there's a few seconds of footage of them looking around the room at all the couples. Towards the end of this, there's a teenage girl in a purple dress who clearly looks directly at the camera for a moment.

    • Laura and Almanzo share their first kiss in this episode. In a Dean Butler interview, he stated that everybody was so nerve-wracked for this pivotal scene that there were chaperones on the set to make sure nothing "unseemly" was going on. Melissa Gilbert's mother was also allegedly crying, "My baby! My baby!" from the sidelines so hysterically that she had to be consoled.

    • Notice the way Dean Butler's overall facial expression changed once his character realized he was in love with Laura. Maybe it was his own way of appearing "bowled over by love," or perhaps the director told him to make that face. In either case, look closely for "the look," which consists of glazed eyes, staring at the ground or off into space, mouth hanging open, and almost drooling. It ended up making Butler look more moronic than smitten.

    Show More Trivia

    Allusions (1)

    • In the final scene, Laura, Almanzo and all of the other attendees at the church social are waltzing to the tune of Beautiful Dreamer. Written in 1864, this famous waltz is the last known work of prolific composer Stephen Foster; it was published shortly after his death and is still widely recognized today.

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