Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 1

A Harvest of Friends

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Sep 11, 1974 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
317 votes
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 strikes

    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.
  • 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.
  • Heartwarming and a fine foundation for what's to come.

    Charles is featured heavily in this episode. We see him as a man with integrity - a man who never wants to live in the debt of the others.

    Because of absolute need, he does enter a situation where he gambles his oxen in order to have seed to plant. He has no choice but to make such a deal and in the end, is willing to work through horrific pain in order to make good on his word.

    His children have the same work ethic, and we see that as they try to help their pa in a task that is too much for two little girls.

    We see Charles strike up a good relationship with Doc Baker, who is also established as a good man. Doc Baker's has a friend in town who owns a mill, and he too is a good and solid man.

    This episode helps us to feel a sense of liking for the characters and a desire to see them succeed in life.

    It also sets Mr. Olesen up as a good fellow, despite the fact that his wife and daughter will frequently play the role of antagonist to the protagonist ingalls family. This is important - we don't want to see Nels as being simply his wife's yes-man. He needs to have backbone once in a while so we can bother having any kind of respect for him.

    The man who threatens to take Charles' oxen away does not really relent until he sees the group of men pitch in to help Charles, and that's good. I was worried he would come rushing over in tears when he saw Mary and Laura helping Pa with the stacking. Better he should stay in character - a mercenary who takes advantage of those in need.

  • Episode 1: Harvest of Friends - My Review

    This episode mainly focuses on Charles Ingalls.

    Charles finally finishes building the house. The Ingalls move into their new home in Plum Creek on Walnut Grove. Charles needs a plough and seed for 100 acres, but he has no money. He asks the Olesons whether they can lend him the goods and he pay them back later, but they refuse. Charles then turns to Liam O’Neill, a shrewd businessman who says he will give Charles the goods in return for working for him and fixing his roof within three weeks. If Charles cannot finish the work within three weeks then his oxen go to O’Neill. On his way to work, Charles meets Dr. Baker, the town doctor, and helps him fix his wagon. Charles works really hard everyday, and one day he decides to take a break and go with his family for a picnic. The Ingalls are having a good time playing games, flying kites etc. The kite gets stuck in a tree and Charles climbs the tree to get it, but loses his balance and falls down. Being injured pretty badly, Caroline decides to plough the fields and do his work for him. But Mr. O’Neill takes the animals from Caroline because of the promise that he made with Charles. Charles realized he has no choice and has to work even with his condition. His daughters help him through his hard time, and soon all the workers take his side, making Mr. O’Neill feel bad and guilty for what he did.

    This was a great episode, where we get to meet the members of Walnut Grove, such as the Olesons, Dr. Baker etc. While I don’t feel like this was the best episode of the season, I definitely think it was a good start. Everybody acted really well, and the story was well-paced.
  • Oh so cute

    The Ingalls settle on the banks of Plum Creek in Walnut Grove. To get the farm set up, Charles must take on several jobs at once. He promises one person that if he didn't get the job done in the specified time, the person could have his oxen. It was a cute episode.
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