Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder
Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)
Dr. Hiram Baker
Mr. Lars Hanson (1974 - 1978)
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.
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." "One other silly footnote to the story is, at the very end of it I was imitating an airplane, with my arms out to the side, flying down the hill. After we finally got a take where I didn't race by the camera, they were thrilled that we got one in the can. Then someone realized there were no airplanes in the 1800s. It looked like we were going to have to do it again when Mike chimed in and said to me, 'Hey, Half-pint, were you being an airplane or a bird?' I said, 'A bird, now get me out of here!' And that's the story of the end credits."
This is the episode where we see the opening credits for the first time, and part of these credits show the three Ingalls girls running down the hill as the young actresses' names are flashed across. For obvious reasons, the clip with little Carrie tripping and falling is one of the most memorable and endearing moments in these credits, and 2-year-old Sidney Greenbush refused to start running again after she fell. She just stood up and walked slowly at her own pace. Everyone was calling out to her to start running again, but she wouldn't do it, and they ended up keeping the footage just as it was.
In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson revealed something very interesting about the show's opening credits, where the Ingalls girls are seen running down the hill (as they were every week for the first seven seasons). The hill was actually much less verdant that it appears, and in order to make it appear more springtime like, the set decorators placed arificial 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.
Ramon Bieri, who played Mr. O'Neill in this episode, died of cancer in May 2001, about 27 years after this episode was filmed. He was 72 years old.
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.
Audiences may be interested to observe how much harsher Reverend Alden is in this episode, as opposed to 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.
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.
Notice how short Mary and Laura's calico dresses are in this episode, in comparison to future episodes, where they were made quite a bit longer. In this episode, they are actually above the girls' knees, and for whatever reason, that was quickly changed.
--- Though not explained in the episode, in the books Laura and Mary went to school the first days in too short of dresses and that is how they were immediately picked out as being country girls. But as stated, it was never explicated and quickly changed.
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.
Filming Locations: Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, CA, and Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA.
Featured characters: The Ingalls family
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