Little House on the Prairie

Season 4 Episode 1


Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Sep 12, 1977 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Why would Nels be drinking water, and in exorbitant amounts, from the barrel behind the mill?

    • When Bandit comes into the house and jumps on Laura's lap, although she's supposed to be brooding and upset, she's evidently forcing back a smile the entire time.

    • This is the first of two times in the series that Nels is intoxicated. The other instance is in Season Five's There's No Place Like Home, Part 1.

    • This is one of the rare moments in the series where Michael Landon (Charles) films a scene without wearing a shirt, unless you count episodes where he has been in bed or injured and forced to remove his shirt. In this episode, however, he has his shirt off as he works outside on a warm day. Ironically, Landon was badly sunburned at this time, and out of all the scenes he could have gone shirtless, he chose a time when his back and shoulders looked that way.

    • When Melissa Gilbert (Laura) is running through the tall grass to make amends with Bandit the dog, watch for the brief moment where Gilbert completely wipes out and falls on her bottom, sits there for a split second, and pulls herself back up. This goof was never edited out, and the scene continued as it was.

    • Watch Melissa Gilbert's face when Bandit first comes into the barn and introduces himself by licking her face. Her character is supposed to be angry, but you can tell she's trying not to laugh after that first lick. The camera cuts back to Pa, then back to Gilbert, who in that second shot is trying to hide the lower half of her face with her fist, perhaps so the camera (and the viewers) can't see her smiling.

    • This is the first appearance of Hersha Parady as Alice Garvey, although she did have a cameo role as Caroline's sister Eliza Ann in Season 3's Journey in the Spring, Part 1. Parady later married and had a son named Jonathan, named after Alice's husband on Little House.

    • The newly-introduced character of Jonathan Garvey is presented differently in this episode than he would be in future ones. We witness him taking a swig of grain alcohol in broad daylight in the town square, and his language is more "hickish," too: he utters phrases like "Jumpin' Jehosephat" and "We was just jawin'". Though never exactly a refined gentleman, Merlin Olson's character was obviously tailored to look like Victor French's Isaiah Edwards, who had left the show at the end of the previous season. Later, the writers would evolve Garvey's character into someone calmer and much less boisterous than Edwards.

    • We see Carrie go to school with Mary and Laura. Her first year of starting school. We also saw Carrie in Season 3, The "Blizzard" episode, where she went to school for a Christmas Eve special day.

    • Aunt Kezia" returns in a Season 6 episode called "The Lake Kezia Monster" where Kezia is going to be kicked out of her home and land (including Lake Kezia) because she didn't pay her taxes. Laura, Andy and Albert make up that there's a monster in the lake to scare out Mrs. Olsen and her two children who bought the house at an auction.

  • Quotes

    • Laura: I can't love some dog that just chases his tail all the time!
      Kezia: Pretty smart little fellow, if you ask me. You wouldn't play with him, so he made do with what he had.

    • Charles: (brings the new dog into the barn) Hey, Half-Pint. Look what followed me home from Mankato. He's just a stray, but he's a good dog. He's smart. (dog is licking Laura's face like crazy) Hey, look at that, he's really taking a shine to you! He can be yours, if you want.
      Laura: I don't want him.
      Charles: Oh, come on. He just wants to give you a little loving, that's all.
      Laura: I DON'T WANT HIM! (runs out)

    • Laura: (running into Church in the middle of services) Reverend Alden! Reverend Alden! Miss Kezia's gone. We can't let her go! (turns to congregation) She left because she thought she didn't belong here. But she's wrong. We need her here. She's got so much love to give. She made me see that I needed Bandit just as much as he needed me. She was good and kind to anyone who gave her half a chance. So what if she was different? We're all different! When we knocked on her make-believe door, she let us in. When she knocked, nobody heard her.

    • Carrie: (about the dog) We have to name him.
      Charles: Hey, you're right. Anyone have any ideas?
      Carrie: We can call him Tom. Sally North has a dog named Tom.
      Mary: Sally North has a cat.
      Carrie: Oh, yeah.
      Charles: Well, he looks like he's wearing a mask, and he was trying to steal some food when I met him, so what if we call him Bandit?
      Caroline: Oh, I think Bandit really suits him.
      Carrie: Yeah!
      Caroline: What do you think, Laura?
      Laura: I don't care what you name him. May I please be excused?

  • Notes

    • Hersha Parady (appearing here as recurring character Alice Garvey for the first time) did a lot of stage work before coming to Little House, and it is said that Richard Bull and Katherine MacGregor (Nels and Harriet Oleson), who are good friends of Parady's, saw her onstage and recommended her to Michael Landon for the role of Alice.

    • The dog who played Bandit was named Jeffrey in real life.

    • The Garveys make their debut in this episode. Jonathan has a fairly large role, but wife Alice and young son Andy don't have any speaking lines, and they appear only briefly in the Church.

    • This episode introduces the character of Jonathan Garvey (played by former NFL star Merlin Olsen). He, in effect, replaces Mr. Edwards. Victor French (who played Mr. Edwards) had left the show after the 1976-1977 season to star in his own show, "Carter Country," a sitcom version of the movie "In the Heat of the Night."

  • Allusions

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