Little House on the Prairie

Season 2 Episode 20


Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Mar 17, 1976 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • There are some good lessons to be learned in this episode as America celebrates its Centennial.

    The 4th of July, 1876, is fast approaching and the citizens of Walnut Grove are planning a community celebration. Mary is making the flag, with help from Caroline, and a Russian immigrant, who lost everything in his native country, promises to make a fine flag pole to raise it on.

    Charles is out of sorts for a variety of reasons and that takes away quite a bit from the central theme of the episode. We remember how lucky we are to have all that we have when the Russian immigrant and his family lose everything based on a legal technicality to do with his land but the fact that he can still smile and is willing to try again is a lesson for everyone, especially Charles and those far more prosperous.
  • Some interesting elements, some others that work less well.

    The town wrestles with their ambiguous feelings toward government at the same time that the United States is celebrating its 100 "birthday".

    For me, this episode has strong and weak points. The good points are that the character of Russian immigrant Yuli is heartbreaking in his faith in the United States, even in the face of the loss of his home to back taxes. His cheerfulness is quite affecting and is another example of the strong values (whether you agree with them or not) that characterize the series. Its also fun to see Miss Beadle read the accounts of events happening in Philadelphia to mark the Centennial to her students.

    What's weaker for me are the rather glossed-over politics of the action. While the prospect of more roads appears exciting, it seems that some of the characters might realize that taxes to pay for them must come from somewhere, and that the economics might have long and short term effects. Hanson's prophecy that "some day a man will be taxed on what he earns" is a good touch. Its nice to see Mr. Thordsen have another fairly big role in this episode, showing continuity with "The Richest Man in Walnut Grove", but he's certainly much crabbier here.

    Maybe one of the better things here is that Yuli must leave Walnut Grove and there is a good reason for it, satisying fans who wonder why so many characters on "Little House on the Prairie" seem to vanish without any obvious reason. This episode also pins a date on the series, but at the same time introduces some puzzling historical questions such as how the episode "The Talking Machine" could have occurred earlier, given that Edison did not preview the phonograph until quite some time later than the summer of 1876.