This was the saddest Christmas episode of Little House on the Prairie. Unknown to Miss Beadle she was giving the kids an early Christmas gift by sending them home early but there was a horrible blizzard and most of the children including Laura, Mary and Carrie are trapped in it. Fortunately all of the kids were found but at the cost of one father who died not knowing that his son returned to the school. When the blizzard ended and Mr Edwards and his kids return the townfolk joyfully celebrate but Charles saw the dead man's family he read a passage of the Bible about the birth of Jesus.
Whenever I see this episode, I'm reminded not only of how difficult pioneer times were, but of how fortunate we are today to have conveinences like cell phones, which would have prevented the drama in this episode. When Miss Beadle lets the children leave school a little early on Christmas Eve, her efforts are rewarded by a sudden, heavy snowstorm that may very well keep the children from getting home alive. When the mothers of the students show up at the school en masse (apparently, they were heading to school as a group, presumably for a holiday party--would Miss Beadle not have been aware of this?) they are told by her that all of the students but the Oleson kids have been gone for some time. Some of the menfolk show up and it's decided that several search parties will form and the women will stay at the school to man a makeshift triage unit/hospital. Unfortunately, it proves necessary. As usual in such tearjerker episodes, a townsperson whom all the characters seem to know well, but whom the viewer has never seen, is killed off to either feed the plot line or make a point. Still, it's a gripping, who-will-live-and-who-will-die episode that's a must-see for true LHOTP fans.
This is one my favorite episodes, it shows how fast, especially in their neck of the woods, weather can turn. You really appreciate how hard it was then to deal with harsh weather and appreciate your conveniences.
One thing I loved about this show was how everyone would pull together, they way the Amish do now, and even when things didn't turn out perfectly, they were there for each other. All our electronics are nice,but we lose something in all the cyber talking and work.
When I was young and wanted to iive on my own praire and "little house" my mother would point out the good but remind me of things like out-houses with below zero temperatures and no fans in the oppresive heat. I still would love 1 weekend living there, the feeling I get watching would be nice longer than the hour.
The Walnut Grove school has been busy preparing for Christmas, as have the ladies of the town. Miss Beadle decides to close the school early as a treat, unaware that the weather is turning into a blizzard that is going to cause the children journeying home from school to be in grave danger.
As the weather turns more dangerous, the adults go out and look for their offsprings while the women and children pray and wait in the church. Grace Edwards is very worried as her husband and children are missing, just like several others. Needless to say, their IS a loss of life, but all the children are found safe and sound, which is the main thing.
A terrific episode and well worth watching for all fans of quality family drama.
Miss Beadle has NO IDEA that the flurries she sent the children home into would turn out to be a terrible blizzard! It's actually NOT her fault. I don't think anyone really blames her for what happens, but she feels terrible about it. Good thing Pa and Mr. Edwards stopped by the school before going on home, otherwise there may have been more deaths than there were (two I believe). I liked the tender moment between Willie and Miss Beadle, as he reminds her that it wasn't her fault the children were out in the storm. Too bad the parents didn't have the same idea!!
This episode is a fine example of how terribly harsh life on the prairie could be. Storms such as this did indeed spring up seemingly out of nowhere and escalate rapidly. It's a Christmas episode, one of very few done during the series' run, but there is no attempt to sugar-coat the tragic events or to have a miraculous rescue of all followed by a happy ending. It is real to the point of harshness. This is not the first time that we have seen someone die on 'Little House', but it seems so much more bleak in these circumstances.
Poor Mrs. Beadle. She meant well and thought she was doing the right thing. Now she is blamed, though mostly wordlessly, for the peril of the children. I love the scene where Willie goes to her as she weeps at her desk and he strokes her hair. It is a comforting gesture typical of a child and so poignant here. A lovely moment.
There is a good deal of tension in this episode; whose children will be found, by whom and when. When Edwards must press on to find Carl and Alicia after the Ingalls girls are found, there is a moment between the two men as they agree this is how it must be. It is unspoken, but you can feel how hard and scary this is for them. Of course, the viewer is certain, almost, that Edwards will be OK, it's not the first time he's braved this type of weather after all. The moment when Charles returns with the girls is gripping as well. First, he must tell Grace that Isiah went on alone and then he must report the death discovered out in the snow. The new widow's scream of grief and pain is horrible to hear. It's a very sad moment. The most enduring image of the episode for me is the tableau formed the next morning of Edwards and the children being greeted, the new widow and her son standing alone and Charles reading the bible. Goosebumps.
A fine episode, and a good one for Christmas, because it reminds us of the precious gift of life.
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