Little House on the Prairie

The Preacher Takes A Wife

Season 6, Ep 6, Aired 10/22/79
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  • Episode Description
  • Reverend Alden begins spending time with a single woman his age. Their budding relationship is threatened by gossip from Harriet.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Patrick Labyorteaux

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

  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Richard Bull

    Nels Oleson

  • Matthew Laborteaux

    Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

  • Fan Reviews (4)
  • Harriet had a past

    By 1lawfan, Apr 23, 2012

  • Reverend Robert Alden has performed marriage services for many people, now it's his turn to walk down the aisle.

    By Lady_Lancaster, May 26, 2011

  • Rev. Alden has an admirer and at first he is a little overwhelmed by her ardor! When their relationship attracts negative speculation, complications ensue. Finally, we learn the reason behind the persecution.

    By walnutgrove, Jan 16, 2009

  • Harriet Olsen... one-time candidate for preacher's wife?!?

    By millerem99, Jun 26, 2007

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (4)

    • Reverend Alden: It's a miracle. Dean Harmon: Don't sound so surprised. If a Reverend doesn't believe in miracles, who else will?

    • Dean Harmon: It's been a long time, Harriet. Harriet: Yes, it has, Russell. Twenty three years come June 15th, the day that you broke our engagement. Dean Harmon: If I had known it was you, I would have sent somebody in my stead. Harriet: Still afraid to face realities, Russell? Dean Harmon: I thought I was facing reality then, Harriet. As I told you at the time, I believed I could not serve two masters: marriage and the ministry. Harriet: I remember. You said you decided that you were already wed to the Church, that your duties would be all consuming, and that it would be "unfair" to me to go ahead with the marriage. Do you think it was "fair" to humiliate me so? Dean Harmon: Of course not. It was grossly unfair. It was cruel. But I didn't mean it to be that. As the day approached, I had terrible doubts and fears. It wasn't a question of whether or not I loved you, Harriet, but the question in my mind was, "Could I devote myself to you and to God?" The question was, did I love you or God more? I thought.....I thought I was doing what was best for both of us. I hope it was for you, Harriet. I've met your husband. He seems to be a very fine man. Harriet: I'm very proud of my family. Dean Harmon: You should be.

    • Dean Harmon: So the question, then, is how to deal with the matter of the Reverand Alden, and the reality of his relationship with Mrs. Craig. Now, I've known Reverend Alden for 26 years, Harriet. He taught me theology at the seminary. I've never known a finer minister, or a better man. You must know that. He's been your minister and your friend for years. You must know in your heart that Robert Alden is not capable of conduct that is anything but the most honorable. Harriet: Oh, well, surely, Russell, you must know that even the just man can fall! Dean Harmon: Yes, but not Robert Alden! Not in the way that you suggest! Don't punish him for my mistakes, Harriet! Why should he be forced, especially by you, to make the same mistakes I did? Now, he has a chance for happiness with the woman he loves. Don't deny him that. This time, it's your decision, Harriet.

    • Anna Craig: (Anna is trying to bring the Reverend Alden soup, but Mrs. Oleson continues in her efforts to keep them separated) Mrs. Oleson, if you do not move out of the way, I will hit you with this tray!

    Notes (3)

    • Featured character: Reverend Alden

    • William Schallert (Dean Harmon) also appeared on Little House four years ago, in Season 2's Centennial.

    • Melissa Gilbert (Laura) appears briefly in only two scenes of this episode, and she has just one speaking line.

    Trivia (9)

    • We learn in this episode that Reverend Alden's first name is Robert.

    • After Anna and Reverend Alden finish their first meal together, Anna suggests that they take their coffee into the living room. Reverend Alden agrees and quickly charges right past Anna, into the next room, to the point where he almost runs her over. This seemed unusually rude and out of place for the scene.

    • When Reverend Alden and Anna ponder their wedding in the middle of the episode, the Reverend comments that it won't be long before Charles Ingalls is pronouncing them husband and wife. What Christian religion gives an ordinary parishioner the power to preside over marriage vows??? Reply: The real Charles Ingalls was indeed, a Justice of the Peace for some time and would have been qualified to marry people.

    • Notice the striking physical and character-based resemblances between Dean Harmon, Harriet's first fiance, and the man she eventually married, Nels Oleson: Not very tall, thin, balding, subservient, well spoken, but generally quiet. In the final, symbolic scene where Harriet Olesen stands on the church steps, flanked by both men, they look like they could be brothers.

    • William Schallert (Dean Harmon) later went on to appear in Michael Landon’s successful series Highway to Heaven, which began as soon as Little House on the Prairie ended. In that show, Schallert appeared in Season 4, in the two-part episode Man’s Best Friend, and even more interestingly, he portrayed the father of actor Stan Ivar, who played John Carter in Seasons 9 and 10 of Little House and also guest starred on just those two episodes of Highway of Heaven.

    Show More Trivia
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