Little House on the Prairie

The Fighter

Season 4, Ep 10, Aired 11/21/77
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  • Episode Description
  • Fourteen years after being abandoned by his wife and son, a famous boxer named Joe Kagen passes through Walnut Grove. When a fighting match goes horribly wrong, Doc Baker and the townspeople learn that the ailing man, who sacrificed his family for his career, will only survive if he agrees to never enter the boxing ring again. It is a difficult decision, and ultimately, it is one that he cannot make by himself.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Michael Landon

    Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

  • Karen Grassle

    Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

  • Lawrence M. Konner

  • John Hawkins

  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • A very good episode which introduces us to the excellent recurring character of Joe Kagan, played wonderfully by Moses Gunn.

    By Lady_Lancaster, Apr 26, 2011

  • A fighter comes to walnut grove willing to fight any one for three minutes if they do they win $50 and Laura and Andrew and Nelly try to talk there pa's in to fighting not knowing the fighter is seriously ill due to years in the fight game.

    By wheelbin, May 01, 2009

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (2)

    • Charles: (to Joe) I think you and me better get a few things straight. I'm staying with you, whether you like it or not. It's gonna take a few months, but you're gonna be all right, and when you are, you can do whatever you want with your life, but until then, you're gonna do what I say, and that means you're gonna rest and get used to having me around. I feel responsible for you. I can take a little bit of guilt in my life, but I'm not gonna let you put any more in me. As soon as you're well enough to travel, that will be the end of it.

    • Doc Baker: (to Joe) I want you to stay in this bed for at least three days. That will give you time to decide whether you want to live or die. It's your life, Mr. Kagan, but if you decide to fight again, it's over.

    Notes (6)

    • This is Moses Gunn (Joe Kagan)'s favorite episode.

    • Moses and Justin Gunn are real-life father and son, just as they are portrayed in this episode. This was Justin Gunn (Tim Kagan)'s first and only acting job.

    • Ted Voightlander won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography in Entertainment Programming for a Series for this episode.

    • Allan Snyder was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for this episode.

    • Hank Edds was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for this episode.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (4)

    • Notice how different Nellie's wig looks in this episode. Her curls come up much shorter than they normally do, and it's mostly noticeable in the scene where she and Laura get into a yelling match over which of their fathers is stronger. Obviously, Nellie's wig was "done up" differently than usual!

    • Be prepared to see a Joe Kagan who looks extremely different from the healthy, vibrant, and happy man that we see in Season 5, where he helped out at the blind school and tried to woo Hester Sue Terhoun. In this episode, Joe looks like an old man, as a result of being run-down by his career as a fighter, and his eyes are completely glazed over, almost making it seem as if he is blind. When you compare him then and now, it doesn't even look like the same guy.

    • After the first scene (taking place in 1865), a message flashes across the screen that reads "14 years later," which brings us to the regularly portrayed time period in Walnut Grove. Somewhere in the episode, it is said that Joe Kagan's son Tim is 20 years old, but then, later on, Tim tells someone that he hasn't seen his father since he was 8 years old. That couldn't be right, since Joe's wife took off with their child 14 years ago, therefore making Tim 6 years old at the time.

    • Shockingly, Ketty Lester--who later went on to portray Hester Sue Terhoun in seasons 5 through 9--plays Joe Kagan's wife in the first scene of this episode. Dark shadows make her face difficult to see, but anyone who watches the show regularly will instantly recognize her voice. Later, when she played Hester Sue, she was pursued actively by Joe, but she fiercely pushed him away almost every time.

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