Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 1

A Harvest of Friends

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Sep 11, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
310 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Charles Ingalls has decided to settle his family on the banks of Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. He builds a home for them with his own hands and heads into town immediately to look for work. It is hard enough meeting his financial responsibilities and finding enough time to spend with his family, but the greatest challenge arrives when an unfortunate accident places the Ingalls in jeopardy.moreless

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  • The first actual episode of the series, and one of the best as Charles and Caroline Ingalls arrive in Walnut Grove with their three young girls and decide to settle there on the banks of Plum Creek.moreless

    A marvellous television experience as the Ingalls family decide to settle in Walnut Grove. Charles has a part-time job at Hansen's Lumber Mill and Caroline busies herself taking care of the family in the new home that Charles builds with his own hands.

    When he requires a new plough and seed to start his crop, the nasty Mrs. Olsen from the mercantile refuses him any credit and so, he makes an arrangement to build a new roof and stack sacks of grain for another local merchant. He has 3 weeks to complete his end of the bargain or he will forfeit his team of oxen. Unfortunately, whilst climbing a tree to retrieve a kite during a family picnic, Charles falls and breaks four ribs. Dr. Baker insists that he stay in bed for several days, but, by doing so, he will lose his oxen and, therefore, his ability to plough his field so he goes back to work, barely able to move. Little Laura and Mary help him and when he takes yet another fall, the townsfolk, who have seen what a hard worker he is all pitch in to help so his job can be finished on time.

    On top of that, they decide to hold a ploughing competition and ask Charles if they may use his land. This kind gesture means he gets to keep his beasts AND get his fields ploughed. A harvest of friends indeed.moreless
  • This episode sets the scene perfectly for the beloved show that lasts nearly a decade.

    This episode introduces everything so well after the pilot episode. The Ingalls family (Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, and Carrie) have just moved to Walnut Grove, a small, bustling town in Minnesota. The Ingalls are overjoyed at living in their own house- and having a roof that doesn't leak when it rains! If you read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child, I highly recommend watching this TV series. It is by far one of the best, wholesome shows that has been on TV in a long time. Little House on the Prairie is a fantastic family-friendly show in most cases, there are hardly any episodes that are inappropriate.moreless
  • This is the series at its best.

    The Ingalls arrive in Walnut Grove and decide to settle in and farm the land.

    Without question, this is the highest quality episode of the series in my opinion, and for some very clever reasons that distinguish it from series like "The Waltons". Whereas Dr. Vance on "The Waltons" could set a broken arm or worry over Olivia's polio, Dr. Baker battles plague and falls in love with a woman much younger than himself. While Corabeth is weird and snippy, Mrs. Oleson says some of the most mean-spirited and over-the-top things possible. Landon used melodrama at almost every turn, much as he learned from his previous experiences on television. The family relationships are spelled out more strongly in dialog, the characters much more black and white. Watching this episode, O'Neill has no redeeming characteristics, Charles has almost all of them. "Little House on the Prairie" sets a tone of right and wrong almost impossible to maintain for years, but when you look at episodes like this - it really works.

    Lots of good things in this episode, a good introduction to the town (not just appearances but strong interactions with the Olesons, Hansen, and the doctor), lots of affection in the family, its even quite surprising when Charles falls out of the tree and hurts himself (lots of TV makes an impending dramatic moment pretty obvious). Given the set-up, the final scene of the town helping Charles to save his oxen is very emotional and effective.

    Landon's formula works on all cylinders here. The problem with high drama is that some episodes can be very good and some can seem very unrealistic and hard to accept.moreless
  • The INgalls come to walnut grove to settle. They buy the farm from Mr. Hanson and Charles builds the little house. He makes a deal with the feed and seed owner to repair his roof and stack grain in swap for plow and seed. Trouble strikesmoreless

    The very first episode next to the pilot. Great introduction to all the regular townspeople and very heartwarming to boot. This is one of my favorite episodes of this series. It shows the trials and triumphs of a pioneer family and it shows the compassion neighbors have for neighbors. The acting is superb and it is a well written story that is both heartwarming and sad. It plays with the emotions and that is what Michael Landon was great at doing. He laughed when he laughed you cried when he cried. This series will continue to play in reruns for years to come. A Great family Tv program.moreless
  • This remains one of my very favorite episodes of the series.

    The premiere episode, Harvest of Friends, is a perfect episode of Little House on the Prairie. The whole episode had a good atmosphere to it. There were some sweet moments, along with some moments that had you scared or upset. Also, there were a lot of funny moments in this episode. I love it when Doc Baker and Mr. Hanson are arguing over their watches; and then Mr. Hanson blows the whistle before Doc Baker can call him a name. It was just too funny. And this episode really has a lot of character development. It shows you what kind of a man Charles Ingalls is. He is honest, strong, and a hard worker who is willing to do anything for his family. When he came back into town and tried to stack the grain, while he had four broken ribs, I just felt so bad for him, but at the same time I loved him so much for attempting it. It was so sweet, yet sad when Mary and Laura tried to stack it for him. And when all the townsfolk came and stacked the grain for him; that has to be one of my most memorable and favorite moments of the series. Laura's final narration was wonderful as well. All in all Harvest of Friends remains one of my favorite episodes of Little House on the Prairie.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Karl Swenson

Karl Swenson

Mr. Lars Hanson (1974 - 1978)

Ramon Bieri

Ramon Bieri

Liam O'Neill

Guest Star

Hal Burton

Hal Burton


Guest Star

James Jeter

James Jeter

Hans Dorfler

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Ma is plowing the field, she walks directly in front of the oxen, leading them. If she had stumbled, they would have trampled her to death in an instant.

    • When Doc Baker leaves Charles in bed, one can see out the front window of the house (presumably the window in Carrie's room) and there are branches from a green shrub right outside. However, front views of the house do not reveal any shrubs or trees anywhere near the house.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Laura says "If I had a remembrance book....." Then, later in the episode, she says, "In my remembrance book, I marked down....." The writers obviously couldn't decide if Laura really had a remembrance book, or if she was just wishing she had one.

    • Reverend Alden appears harsher in this episode than in future ones. His sermon is darker and strongly emphasizes the wrath of God, in response to many so-called Christians who don't attend church every Sunday. In the future, though, Reverend Alden lightened up a lot, and his tone was different.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Reverend Alden: I'm looking out at the congregation today, and I must say that I'm distressed. I see many familiar faces, but the absence of several others. I see many women here without their husbands. If one of those people had experienced a loss this week, then I'm sure I would have heard about it. Now, we're all sinners--some to a lesser degree than others, but still sinners. It is only by attending Church and asking for God's forgiveness that we can be cleansed of those sins. Think upon that for a minute.

    • Laura: (final narration) That was our happiest homecoming ever. Pa said he was glad we'd come to live on the banks of Plum Creek, because here he'd harvested a crop he didn't know he'd planted: a harvest of friends.

    • Charles: I'm sorry I didn't go to Church.
      Caroline: You should've gone to Church.
      Charles: That's why I just said I'm sorry I didn't go to Church!

    • Mr. Hanson: Go ahead and take them Ingalls; make the old man happy. You know, he wouldn't dare keep those chickens, because they would die on him, and then folks would know he's a fraud.
      Doc Baker: Fraud!? Well, you old billy goat, you can't even blow a whistle on time. He's three minutes late.
      Mr. Hanson: Nah, you are three minutes early! It's that cheap watch of his.
      Doc Baker: Cheap is it? Ingalls, I'll have you know this is a very expensive chronometer, given to me when I graduated from medical school.
      Mr. Hanson: Oooohhh, well, if it's that old it's an hourglass! When he graduated, they didn't have watches!

    • Nels Oleson: What can I do for you?
      Charles: Well, I'd like a plow and weed seed; enough for a hundred acres.
      Nels Oleson: I understand you're building a house out there.
      Charles: We got it finished yesterday. I can start breaking sod as soon as I get that plow. I, uh, I don't have any money right now. I'd like to pledge a share on the first crop.
      Harriet Oleson: We do give credit to a few farmers that we've known for a long time, but only to a few.
      Nels Oleson: There is a reason, you see, we need the money to buy the things we need to keep in business.
      Charles: I understand, cash on the barrel, and that's the way I like to deal and wheel, just as soon as I get that first crop to sale.
      Harriet Oleson: Mr. Ingalls, do you know how many families move out here and plant their crops and run up more bills than they can hope to pay for, and then skip out in the dead of night? I can show you a whole drawer full--
      Charles: Mrs. Oleson, I can assure you I had no intention of running out in the middle of the night.

    • Charles: You like home?
      (Carrie nods her head yes)
      Charles: Good, 'cause we got one now.

    • Laura: (narrating) Pat and Patty, our team horses, weren't big enough to pull the plow Pa neeeded to break the prairie sod. Though we were sorry to see them go, Pa swapped them to Mr. Hanson for a pair of oxen. They were strong enough, Pa said, to pull the state of Iowa ten miles into Minnesota, if you could find a place to hitch them to.

    • Charles: Well Ingalls family, as soon as you get done soaking your feet, we've got a wagon to unload.
      Caroline: We're home?
      Charles: We're home.

    • Caroline: This morning, you were too tired to go to Church, and now here you are working!
      Charles: Caroline, I woke up, and you were gone. I couldn't just sit around and do nothing.
      Caroline: Sunday is reserved for the Lord.
      Charles: Oh, come on, Caroline, these fields are not going to plow themselves.
      Caroline: That is sacreligious!
      Charles: Maybe to you, but not to God. He understands farmers.

    • Doc Baker: You know, it amazes me how people find ways to injure themselves these days. Climbing trees! You're lucky you didn't break your neck.
      Charles: That can't hurt any worse than this does.
      Doc Baker: Here, lie back. (Charles winces) Painful, huh?
      Charles: Just a wee bit, Doc.
      Doc Baker: Well, that's to be expected with four broken ribs.

    • Laura: And I've decided something.
      Charles: What's that, Half-Pint?
      Laura: Home is the nicest word there is.
      Charles: One of the nicest, that's for sure.

    • Laura: (opening narration) If I had a remembrance book, I would surely write down about the day we came to Plum Creek.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) went by the nickname "Missy" on the set of the show, because with Melissa Gilbert (Laura) also around, it got confusing. Anderson has said that she used to call herself "Missa" when she was really little, and then Missy came shortly after that, and now her husband calls her Miss.

    • In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson revealed that in the show's opening credits, where the Ingalls girls are seen running down the hill, the hill was actually much less verdant that it appears. In order to make it appear more springtime like, the set decorators placed artificial flowers on wire stems all over the part of the field that would have been within camera range. All of the white daisies and other flowers that appear in the credits were fake; nothing was in bloom at the time. Furthermore, Anderson said that one of the wires supporting the flowers cut her on the leg, causing her to fall and sustain a minor whiplash. Later, a sprinkler system was installed on set, allowing those in charge to better control the environment, and thus the appearance, of Walnut Grove.

    • Melissa Gilbert remembers the day in June 1974, when she had to film the closing titles at Big Sky Ranch for the show: "Actually, I was scared to death because the entire hill was covered with bees and I am allergic to them. We actually had to do it a few times because I kept running real fast just to get away. Mike finally persuaded me to slow down so I would not disturb the bees and they'd leave me alone....he was right."

    • Filming Locations: Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, CA, and Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA.

    • Featured characters: The Ingalls family