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
318 votes
  • 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.