Mr. Edwards has returned to alcohol to soothe the pain of his deceased son, and his wife takes the other children and leaves him. Laura wants Mr. Edwards to be godfather to her baby, but the alcoholism threatens to ruin this as well.moreless
Sam Terhune arrives in Walnut Grove looking for work, and finds favor with all of the townsfolk - except for his ex-wife, Hester Sue.
Charles and Almanzo jump at an opportunity to make money taking a delivery to Arizona, although it means being away from home for an extended time. Meanwhile, a pregnant Laura struggles to keep her newly planted orchard alive during a severe drought.moreless
A young boy with a stuttering problem is befriended by James.
Harriet is pressed to transform the Walnut Grove restaurant into a chain called "Mrs. Sullivan's." Meanwhile, Charles is left to gather the slack at home with Caroline so in-demand as one of the cooks.moreless
When Doc Baker's workload becomes too much for one person, he requests a new graduate to help him. He gets more than he expected when the new arrival turns out to be black.moreless
Almanzo gets suckered into watching his brother Royal's two bratty boys.
Albert tries to impress a penpal he figures he'll never see.
When Mary's pregnancy is announced, Caroline's parents arrange a visit to witness the birth of their great-grandchild. Unfortunately, when her mother dies en route, Caroline is left to deal with her father Frederick, whose world now feels empty and meaningless.moreless
Determined to make it through the winter season, a pair of men earn money by selling tainted meat to the Walnut Grove community. Several townspeople later become infected with anthrax, including Laura, Albert, Adam, Alice, and Nels. The victims are confined to the blind school, and with time running out to help them, Charles and Jonathan go out to retrieve some medicine.moreless
Mary begins to see a bright light every time she stands in front of a window, fueling hope that she may recover her sight.
When Reverend Alden falls ill while collecting donations for a struggling town, he is taken in by an ex-convict named Caleb Hodgekiss and his loving wife. Caleb consent to help by visiting Walnut Grove.moreless
Mrs. Whipple is beside herself with excitement when her only son returns home. But Granville is wrestling with demons from his days in the war.
After having a huge argument with his wife in the mercantile, Nels leaves the house and moves into a hotel room down the street. To the surprise of everyone in the town, the problem worsens, and the town wonders if this is the end for the Olesons.moreless