Little House on the Prairie

Season 8 Episode 5

A Wiser Heart

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 02, 1981 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: Ralph Waldo Emerson died in 1882, Laura would have been 15 years old in the episode since she was born in 1867. Laura is 18 in "A Wiser Heart" so she could not have attended his lecture.

    • When Eliza Jane asks Laura if she believes in love at first sight, Laura hesitates before saying "I suppose." However, in Season 6's Back to School, she took one look at Almanzo and immediately knew that she would one day marry him, so you'd think she'd act more enthusiastic about Eliza Jane's question.

    • This episode marks the first of Laura's somewhat strained relationship with her new sister-in-law, Eliza Jane, who is clearly bitter over her own unhappy life and eager for control. This attitude is revealed here for the first time (remember that Eliza Jane was very quiet and self-sacrificing in Season 7's "Laura Ingalls Wilder"), and she only gets worse in Season 8's two-parter Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow.

    • Goof: When Laura pushes Mrs. Pierce, she lands in a pail of water, and her hair remains dry. The next shot pans to Laura, then in the very next shot we see Mrs. Pierce still sitting in the bucket, only now her hair is soaked. Since she landed on her behind, her hair should not have gotten wet, and there was no time for anyone to have poured water over her head, realistically.

    • Nitpick: Why would Laura go to Arizona for the summer pregnant and still not be showing at the end of the summer?

  • Quotes

    • Laura: I'd like one ticket to Walnut Grove, please.
      Ticket Vendor: Will that be round trip?
      :Laura: Oh, no. One way. (smiles broadly) I'm going home!

    • Eliza Jane: Laura, I've behaved absolutely abominably, and I understand if you never want to talk to me again, but I hope you can forgive me...I've missed you!

    • Eliza Jane: Do you believe in love at first sight, Laura?
      Laura: I suppose.
      Eliza Jane: I think this is going to be the best summer of our lives.

    • Mr. Westehoff: Laura, can't you see that it's you I'm interested in?
      Laura: Mr. Westehoff, I'm married. We talked about my husband last night at supper.
      Mr. Westehoff: I don't see what the problem is. I'm married, too.

  • Notes

    • This episode was filmed at Old Main, the first building of the now considerably larger University of Arizona, which is in Tucson and not Phoenix. The university itself only had 32 students attending its first class in 1891, and the fountain, which is prominently featured during the fight scene, wasn't built until the 1920's. Phoenix's Arizona State University was chartered at the same time, but as a teachers college, not a university. It also looks much different.

    • Featured characters: Laura and Eliza Jane Wilder

    • This is Lucy Lee Flippin (Eliza Jane)'s first appearance in about a year and a half. The audience hasn't seen her since Season 7's two-part premiere episode Laura Ingalls Wilder, and she is a somewhat different person now (not in a good way).

    • Michael Landon's daughter Leslie introduces the third of four characters she plays throughout the series. In this episode, she portrays Pam, Laura's sweet and soft-spoken co-worker in the restaurant kitchen.

    • A story of a quadrangle, Mortimer wanting Eliza Jane, Eliza Jane wanting Professor Woestehoff and Professor Woestehoff wanting Laura.

    • Some nice humour, provided by Mort in some parts and the penultimate scene in the lecture room turns out nicely, for those who may be watching for the first time in particular. Mrs. Pierce gets her 'just deserts' too!

  • Allusions