Two-year-old Rose Wilder is kidnapped while she, Laura, Almanzo, and Mr. Edwards are doing some Christmas shopping in Mankato. As the adults go on a frantic search for her, someone unexpected comes into their midst. Back in Walnut Grove, Nels has a plan to teach his greedy daughter Nancy some important lessons about the true meaning of the season, and the Carters--who cannot afford presents for their two children--have a rough Christmas ahead of them.moreless
Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder
Dr. Hiram Baker
John Carter (1982 - 1983)
Sarah Carter (1982 - 1983)
Charles Ingalls - Narrator (uncredited)
Although this was one of the final episodes, it was filmed prior to Season 9's finale The Last Goodbye.
This is the only Season 10 movie for Little House that ends on a happy note, but just like the other two movies, it contains dark plot material throughout.
This is the first and only Christmas episode that does not feature the entire Ingalls family together. Only Laura appears in the episode, and Charles provides the overvoice (but does not actually appear).
This is absolutely the only Christmas episode on Little House that is portrayed as a warm one. Every single other Christmas show in the series was cold and snowy, and 3 of the 4 Christmas episodes before this one involved a heavy, life-threatening blizzard. So this was definitely a change of pace for the holiday season!
Michael Landon's narration at the beginning of the episode tells that it is the winter of 1896. It was 1887 in the Season 9 opener Times are Changing, which took place a year ago. Surely nine years have not passed between then and now--most of the kids on the show would be full-grown adults if that were true, and little Rose would be about 11 years old, not 2.
When Almanzo is talking with Rose right before she is kidnapped, he keeps saying things like "I'm going to get some apples for Mommy, Daddy, and Rosie," and he keeps saying "Mommy and Daddy" over and over. Even in her books, Laura Ingalls Wilder made it clear that these such terms were not common in the pioneer days, and yet the writers often slipped up and used words like Mom, Dad, Mommy, and Daddy to describe parents throughout the series. They should have been more careful about that, and what with the way Almanzo was repeating it constantly, it wasn't at all subtle.
Jason's subplot in this episode channels the situation he had in Season 9's The Last Summer, where he was desperately trying to earn money for a present for his mother.
Almonzo shows authorities what appears to be a color photograph of Rose, even though there would be no such thing as color film for many years.
Nitpick: In reruns where this episode is split into two parts, you may notice, credits at the end of the first part are old ones and no credits start the 2nd part at all.
Mr. Edwards: Oh, Mr. Montague, I might have known you'd show up here once we got the wagon all loaded.
Mr. Montague: My labors are intellectual, not physical.
Mr. Edwards: You're not gonna translate any of them words into English, are you?
Nels: (Nancy sinks to the floor after after her father asks her to go and chop down a tree) Nancy, what are you doing?
Nancy: I'm not feeling well.
Nels: Well, you're going to feel a lot worse when you don't have any presents on Christmas morning.
Nels: I have lots of presents.
Nels: No tree, no presents.
Nancy: Mother sent me those presents!
Nels: And Father will take them away. If I were you, I'd get to chopping.
Mr. Edwards: (to Jenny) Before you know it, we'll be back here, all loaded down with Christmas cheer!
Mr. Montague: Ah, yes, in the form of bobbles and trinkets, no doubt.
Mr. Edwards: Oh, now, Montague, don't tell me you've got something against Christmas.
Mr. Montague: Not Christmas, Edwards. Crass commercialism and sentimentalism masquerading as Christian love. Emphasis on gift-giving is compromising our souls!
Mr. Edwards: Well, I'll tell you something, old buddy, I would never want to compromise your soul, so I'll tell you what. I'll just skip over buying you a Christmas present this year.
Mr. Montague: Suits me just fine.
Almanzo: (about Rose) She's here somewhere. We're going to find her.
Laura: It's so black out. There's not a single star in the sky. You know, I just realized it's Christmas Eve. We should be sitting around the table having turkey, and hanging our stockings. Oh, God, we're never going to find her.
Almanzo: We are.
Laura: No, we're not! Why did you leave her? I asked you to stay with her!
Almanzo: You know what happened.
Laura: Oh yeah, I know. I know what happened. Isaiah had one of his stupid fights, and you had to leave our baby to go and help him!
John: You've been mighty quiet all night.
Jason: Just thinking.
John: Ah. Well, sometimes it helps to think out loud.
Jason: I have to find a way to get some money, and fast.
John: Mmm. This wouldn't have anything to do with Christmas, would it?
Jason: I was counting on Mr. Wilder, and now he's not coming back. And I have to find a way to get Ma's Christmas present.
John: Maybe you don't need any money. I bet that if you put your mind to it, you could think of something to give her that you could make yourself. A drawing, or you could whittle something out of wood. No matter what it is, if it comes from the heart, she's gonna love it.
Jason: Yeah, but this was special, Pa.
John: (chuckles, tousles Jason's hair) You sleep on it, and you'll see by tomorrow morning that I'm right.
John: (when Jason thinks Santa is coming) I think we should tell him. He's gonna be disappointed come morning.
Sarah: I know it. (pauses) Why don't you?
John: I was hoping you would.
Sarah: We'll both tell him.
Jason: (putting milk and cookies by the fireplace) There. He ought to like those cookies.
Jason: Yes, sir?
John: There's something that......your Ma wants to tell you.
Jason: Yeah, Ma?
Sarah: Jason.......you see, you're getting to be at an age where......well, what I mean is......(there's a knock at the door)
John: You go ahead. I'll get it. (hurries to the door)
Sarah: (about Jason) Did you find out what's bothering him?
John: Yeah. He's worried about what he's gonna get his Ma for Christmas. I told him that no matter what he got, especially if he made it himself, that you would love it.
Sarah: Oh, of course I would.
John: I just wonder what kind of Christmas the boys are gonna have. If Almanzo doesn't come back in time, it's going to look pretty meager under the Christmas tree.
Sarah: There's nothing we can do about it. It's not your fault.
John: I know. I can explain it to Jeb, but Jason.......he still thinks Santa is coming.
Sarah: Oh, I know it. (pauses) Maybe it's time we told him.
John: Sarah, I don't want to do that. Do you?
John: Then let's just keep our fingers crossed. Maybe Almanzo will be back in time.
Sarah: No matter what, we'll be together, and that's more important than anything.
John: You're right. (they kiss) I just hope the Wilders are as blessed.
Patrick: (to Almanzo and Laura) This is your last chance. Put her down!
Elsa: No, Patrick. No. Leave them alone. She's their daughter. She belongs to them. I took her. I thought they'd never find us.....(starts to cry) I wanted a child so much! When I lost my baby, something happened to me. Then I saw Rose, and....the next thing I knew, we were on the train. I'm sorry, Patrick. (they hug)
Patrick: (to Almanzo and Laura) My wife has been through a terrible time. I know you have every right to press charges against her, but....
Laura: There will be no charges.
Patrick: Thank you.
Elsa: I'm so sorry. I took real good care of her......she's beautiful.
Samuel: (to Laura and Almanzo at orphanage) Are you here to adopt a boy?
Laura: No, we're looking for a little girl.
Samuel: I knew it. Everybody wants to adopt a girl.
Laura: We're not looking to adopt one. We're looking for our daughter. She's missing, and we thought maybe she came here.
Samuel: Nobody would come here unless they had to.
Nels: I'm afraid that you dont appreciate the real meaning of Christmas, Nancy.
Nancy: Sure I do, Father. It's a time when we all give presents to the ones we love the most. And if I happen to get more presents than anyone else, it's just because I deserve them.
Nels: It's because your mother spoils you rotten!
Nels: I want to talk to you, young lady.
Nancy: Oh, Father, I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have all these Christmas presents! And I was thinking, since the Carter children don't have any Christmas presents at all, perhaps I should share. I could give them one of mine.
Nels: Well, that's a lovely, generous thought, Nancy!
Nancy: Um, I thought....maybe I could give them this one. (holds up the tiniest gift on her bed) I already peeked. It's just an eraser from Willie and Rachel.
For whatever reason, the writers of this episode chose to portray the current Minnesota winter as a very mild one, where it's so warm that nobody is wearing so much as a light jacket. Michael Landon provides a very convincing reason for this at the beginning of the episode, but one still has to wonder why this was done. Perhaps something like this really did happen in Minnesota one time, or maybe the warm weather was just a nice contrast to the unforgiving winters and Christmases that were conveyed in the pilot movie and throughout the series.
Some viewers may notice that actor Joel Graves, who plays Samuel, closely resembles David Friedman (Jason Carter). When you start watching the episode, it may be hard to distinguish the two at times!
Notice how much different Shannen Doherty (Jenny Wilder) sounds in this episode, in comparison to Season 9, and even just the previous episode, Look Back to Yesterday, where she had a smaller role and it wasn't as noticeable. She has obviously grown up a great deal in just one year, and her voice is probably the biggest difference.
You may recognize the boy on the train who tells Elsa Norris what a pretty little girl she has (Rose). Ike Eisenmann is the same actor who appeared five years ago, in Season 5's Harriet's Happenings, as Eric Schiller, the son of two German-speaking parents. He was also in Season 2's Centennial.
Katherine MacGregor (Harriet Oleson) does not appear in this episode, and she is written out as being in the hospital. Nels mentions in this episode that the family hopes to have her back home by Easter.
A very Christmasy Story and look out for Sam (Samuel), as his character is such a delight, you will be smiling at the very least when he is around.
This was a 2 hour episode.
User Score: 334
User Score: 508
User Score: 7115
User Score: 896
User Score: 878
User Score: 577
User Score: 302
User Score: 297
User Score: 207
User Score: 160
User Score: 95
User Score: 78
User Score: 78
User Score: 71
User Score: 53
User Score: 48
User Score: 44
User Score: 39
User Score: 39
User Score: 35