Caroline's parents send a telegram stating that they're coming to Walnut Grove to visit and await the birth of Mary's baby. En route, Caroline's mother dies. Caroline finds out when she rushes out to meet the covered wagon and is greeted by Charles, her father, and a coffin.
In the ensuing weeks, grandpa Holbrook spirals into a deep depression. Laura and Albert and their youthful exuberance help bring him back from the edge. They even encourage him to write down the funny stories he has told them about his childhood. Charles decides the stories are good enough to be published, and secretly sends them to a publishing house. They accept it for publication and Charles tells grandpa the good news. Days later, legal contracts arrive and Charles and Caroline are chagrined to discover that the company wants about $30 to publish the books. They don't have the heart to tell grandpa that his dream won't come true, and instead everyone works very hard to raise the needed funds. Eventually the books are published and shipped to Walnut Grove. Caroline's father is thrilled, because he'll "be remembered". Look for the scene where Mrs. Oleson, in a usual display of petty jealousy, refuses to buy any of the books to resell in her store. Her mind changes, however, after Albert thanks her for NOT buying the books because in them, his mother is "naked in public". Of course, Mrs. Oleson rushes to Charles, saying she's "changed her mind and wants to by all the books". Flash forward to her reading in bed and discovering that Caroline was indeed naked once in public because her diaper had fallen off. Priceless.
Mary also gives birth in this episode to the son who will later die horribly in the episode "May We Make Them Proud".
When Mary finds that she is pregnant again, everyone is delighted, including Caroline's mother and stepfather who wish to be in Walnut Grove in time for the birth. On the train journey, however, Caroline's mother passes away and she is greeted by the sight of her mother's coffin.
Her step-father, Fredrick Holbrook is predictably very depressed at the loss of his wife and all he wants to do is die so that he can join her. The family try everything in their power to make him feel better but they have little success until he starts relaying stories from the past which they feel should be printed as a book. A publishing house is more than willing to accept the manuscript and the old man is delighted, until Charles learns that they must pay for the cost of the books and the publishing.
Not wishing the old man to find out, the family gets as much money together as possible and the book is published.
I remember an almost identical episode of "The Waltons" when John Boy had a book published and was presented with a bill for 50 dollars when the crates of books were delivered.
This episode was quite good, but I find myself annoyed that it is always Laura who fixes everything up for everybody because although I really thought Melissa Gilbert was a superb young actress, Laura constantly taking a major part in 'saving the day' got to be a little wearing after a while.
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