Little House on the Prairie

The Last Summer

Season 9, Ep 19, Aired 2/21/83
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  • Episode Description
  • When young Jason Carter accepts his first job as an assistant to an aging woman in Walnut Grove, he just wants to earn some money and buy his mother a birthday gift. However, as Jason spends more time with Ruthy Leland, he learns the incredible power of friendship, as well as the painful lessons that sometimes come with it.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Dean Butler

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

  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Stan Ivar

    John Carter (1982 - 1983)

  • Pamela Roylance

    Sarah Carter (1982 - 1983)

  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • Ruth visits Walnut Grove. Jason wanting to buy his mother a present begs to work for her. A strong friendship results,causing jealousy. Sarah Carter forbids him to visit until she discovers that Ruth is dying. The final goodbye letter is a tear jerker!

    By Aceagent99, Jan 05, 2007

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (6)

    • Jeb: (about the collection basket at Church) You put in two dimes back there. You know, you only have to give one tenth of what you make. Jason: I know how to do fractions! Jeb: That lady gave you two dollars?!?!? Jason: You're not supposed to watch! Jeb: Yeah, but two dollars??

    • Sarah: You can take your money to the mercantile and pick something out there. Jason: But I can't take the brooch back now. Ruthy will feel bad. Sarah: I think it's more important that you do what I say. Jason: But it will hurt her feelings!

    • Sarah: Miss Leland, I'm so sorry. Ruthy: You have nothing to be sorry about, my dear. Sarah: But I do. I was so terribly wrong about you. Ruthy: You weren't wrong about anything. Sarah: I guess I was just.....jealous. Ruthy: And for good reason. Jason is the finest young man I have ever met. Sarah: It's just that.....I love him so much. Ruthy: (takes her hand) We both do.

    • Ruthy: Mrs. Carter, I don't understand why you can't accept the brooch. Sarah: John and I have tried to raise our sons to know the meaning of a dollar, and this......well, it only confuses them. Ruthy: Well, the brooch was for sale. I set a price on it, and Jason made his decision. It was a fair deal. Sarah: Miss Leland, you cannot afford to sell a priceless piece like that for a couple of dollars. Ruthy: Truly, a son's gift to his mother is priceless. But the value is gained in the giving, not the purchase.

    • Jason: Ruthy? Ruthy: Yes, Jason? Jason: Are you old? Ruthy: Well......what do you call old? Jason: I don't know. Ruthy: Well, would you say your father is old? Jason: Yeah, I guess he's old. Ruthy: Then yes, Jason, I am old. Jason: (smiles and hugs her) Then I want to be old, too.

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    Notes (7)

    • Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) credits this as her favorite episode. She says it was a pleasure working with Vera Miles (Ruthy Leland), and she still cries every time she watches Jason speak his last line in the episode.

    • Featured characters: The Carters, mainly Jason and Sarah

    • This is the second of two episodes that focuses primarily on the Carter family. It's also the last episode in the series that specifically spotlights the Carters, unless you count the fact that they owned one of the three primary subplots in Season 10's Bless All the Dear Children.

    • The character Jason Carter spends most of this episode in a shirt that looks like a little girl's shirt: dark green with a small, white, paisley-and-flowers print and a "Peter Pan" style collar. Very unusual choice by the wardrobe department here.

    • Vera Miles, portraying Ruthy in this episode, is best known for her role as Lila Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's horror masterpiece Psycho.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (3)

    • When Ruthy arrives at the mercantile on a horse, Mrs. Oleson is disgusted at the lack of decorum shown by a woman of that age. While it is not out of character for Harriet to offer her bold opinion on "The Way Things Ought To Be," she normally falls all over herself to accommodate the wealthy, despite any eccentricities they might have. Therefore, it is unusual for her to be critical of a well-to-do person such as Ruthy, who had the potential to bring a lot of business to the mercantile.

    • Ruthy has been away long enough that she does not know that Laura is now married and has a baby. Surely, then, she would also not know that the Ingalls family has moved away. Yet, when Laura tells her that the Carters live in her old home, Ruthy does not question where the Ingalls went.

    • While some may question the fact that school was in session during the summer in this episode, it should be noted that school terms ran differently in farming communities back in the 1800's. In reading a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, one learns that there was indeed a summer term that ended just before the harvest, and a fall term that began when the harvest was over (sometime in October).

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