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Little House on the Prairie

Season 7 Episode 13

Come, Let Us Reason Together

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 12, 1981 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
118 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


When Percival's parents Benjamin and Edna arrive for a visit, Harriet and Benjamin clash miserably over their grandchild's religious upbringing.

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  • Nellie's pregnancy brings Percival's Jewish parents west to await the birth of their grandchild. Tension and bickering ensue when Percival's father demands that the child be raised in the Jewish faith.moreless

    I love this episode because it's a bit of a departure from the usual storyline, and in it, Harriet Oleson has finally met her match in the domineering parent department. Percival's parents come to Walnut Grove to meet Nellie and stay until her baby is born. They are shocked to discover that their son's child will be raised as a gentile. An hour of bickering and screaming between the two grandparents in question ensues, with Percival finally puting his foot down and declaring he wants no part of ANY religion if hatred is what it's all about. It's Nels who finally comes up with a solution: if the child is a girl, they will raise it as a gentile; a boy will be raised as a Jew. Nellie and Percival apparently agree with this scheme (though we never see them agree--in fact, the grandparents never once ask them what their opinion is at all!). As usual, a tidy LHOTP ending follows: Nellie has twins--a boy and a girl.moreless
  • Percival's parents arrive. Percival's father insists on raising Nellie's any-day-now-due baby in the Jewish faith. Mrs. Oleson insists on raising the child Christian. Chaos ensues with the two butting heads for the remainder of the episode!moreless

    I don't remember seeing this episode during the series first run. No doubt I did. But it didn't stand out. I now know why. This episode may have had good intentions but the constant yelling and over-the-top acting by the man who play's Percival's father coupled with Katherine MacGregor's equal hamming it up is enough to drive one crazy! I had a headache after watching this episode. The message about raising a child in a different faith should be left to the parents. But Nellie and Percival do almost nothing about it. Nellie "sweetly" submits to Percival who has tamed her but for some reason cannot stand up to his father. Only Steve Tracy's performance as Percival trying to make peace between both families gives this episode any credence as he manages to arise above all the chaos and do something with this poorly written material. Otherwise its a mish/mash of yelling and screaming. Even the last frame of Mr. Cohen is of him screaming! If you like constant bickering and screaming above Harriet Oleson's norm, then this episode is for you! Otherwise you would do well to forget this one.moreless
  • In this episode Percival's parents come to meet the in laws and await the birth of their Nellies baby. Culture shock occurs when Jewish folks from New York City find themselves in Walnut Grove, especially the relationship between Harriet and Benjamin.moreless

    I hadn't remembered enjoying this show so much when it was first released, but watching it in 2007, I was delighted with many aspects of this episode. For me, watching Nellie and Percival's relationship, the introduction of Jewish culture, the clash of the in-laws was great fun!! Seeing Mrs.Oleson meet her match in Percival's father was amusing,and the rest of the cast did a great job supporting them. There were some misrepresentations, and a great deal of poetic license taken, but all in all it was a funny and clever way to deal with some of the issues that might have confronted a "mixed" religious marriage in the 1870's. They did happen. There is some liberties taken with tradition, both Christian and Judaic, but it was done with a pure motive, and an attempt to be respectful.

    On the CD set there are comments on this show from Alison Arngrim, that are very enlightening. I highly recommend watching the epidsode with commentary.moreless
Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Alison Arngrim

Alison Arngrim

Nellie Oleson/Dalton (1974 - 1981)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Katherine MacGregor

Katherine MacGregor

Harriet Oleson

Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

Willie Oleson

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974-1982)

Bea Silvern

Bea Silvern

Edna Cohen

Guest Star

E.M. Margolese

E.M. Margolese

Benjamin Cohen

Guest Star

Dan McBride

Dan McBride

Mr. Reilly

Recurring Role

Jack Lilley

Jack Lilley

Stage Driver

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In the scene where the Olesons, Nellie,Percival and his parents are getting ready to sit down to dinner at the restaurant, Benjamin says,"Not pork chops, I hope." and Percival says,"No,Papa. Baked ham." Now I thought that it was against Jewish custom NOT to have pork of ANY kind,and that includes ham. Now Michael Landon, being Jewish himself, should have known that and had it in the script for them to have something else, like chicken.

    • Percival calls Harriet "Mrs. O" for the first and only time in the series. He did come up with some funny nicknames for her, which included "Mrs. O" and "Mother Oleson."

    • When Alison Arngrim (Nellie) did a commentary for this episode on the Season 7 DVD set, she offered some interesting trivia. According to Jewish tradition, a new father does not have contact with the wife for anywhere between 1 and 2 months (depending on whether the baby is a boy or girl), and in this episode we see Percival and Nellie snuggling and kissing shortly after the birth, so Percival obviously wasn't following that custom.

    • Alison Arngrim has said that with hers and Steve Tracy (Percival)'s bed scene later in the episode, she received more phone calls and fan mail than she had with anything else related to the show. Even Michael Landon (who directed this episode) stopped in the middle of filming to ask Arngrim and Tracy what was up with their hysterical laughing. When you watch the scene, you can't help wondering what they were really laughing about to that extent. On the Season 7 DVD commentary for this episode, Arngrim revealed that it was because at the time, a rumor was flying around the set that she and Tracy were having a heated love affair, and they were the only ones who knew that this was absolutely false. On top of that, Arngrim was the only one who knew (at that time) that Tracy was gay Reflecting on this during filming was enough to make them double over with laughter for the entire duration of the scene.

    • Nellie and Percival's son is named Benjamin after the grandfather, although the Cohens are Europeon Jews, who normally name after the dead and find it extremely unlucky to name after the living. Jews in the later half of the 1800s were of German origin and did not speak Yiddish, although the Cohens do. The babies were not Jewish either way; the Jewish religion goes by the mother. Considering the Cohens took the intermarriage so well, it is strange they expect the babies to be Jewish.
      German Jews were more modern and free-thinking than the Cohens were portrayed.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Percival: Do you remember how you felt when Mama was carrying me?
      Benjamin: How else? My face ached from smiling all the time! Edna's, too.
      Percival: Nellie cries a lot.
      Benjamin: (pauses) Her condition is delicate. You treat her right, son.
      Percival: Because of this baby, her parents and my parents are fighting. How can she be happy? I know that Mrs. Oleson can be......well, she can be difficult, but for Nellie's sake, can't you at least try to get along?
      Benjamin: You don't know what you're asking!

    • Harriet: Close the door!
      Benjamin: If you don't mind, could we leave it ajar?
      Harriet: Oh, well, we could open a window if you're hot.
      Percival: Well, it's a tradition, Mrs. Oleson, in case a hungry stranger should come by and wish to join us.
      Willie: But we didn't fix any extra!

    • Harriet: Can you imagine my daughter giving birth to a Jew? Can you imagine what that child would be like? Nervy, and greedy, and pushy, and always after food, and cheap, cheap, cheap!
      Nels: Harriet, you know, you've just opened my eyes.
      Harriet: Oh, well, it's about time you started listening to me!
      Nels: Mmm? Oh yes, I am. And if what you say about the way they act is true, then you must be Jewish! I'm going to sleep in the guest room. Good night. (leaves)
      Harriet: That's right! Take the Jews' side!

    • Nels: (about his grandson) I think he looks kind of like me.
      Harriet: Yes, they both do. Neither one of them have hardly any hair!

    • Benjamin: Let me put this to you plainly so you will understand. This child will be Jewish!
      Harriet: Mm-mm. Mm-mm. Half-Jewish.
      Benjamin: There's no such thing as half-Jewish!
      Harriet: A-ha! Then she will be a whole Christian!

    • Nellie: Sometimes, I wish I was an orphan.
      Caroline: What a terrible thing to say.
      Nellie: All right. Stranded on a deserted island--just me and Percival.
      Caroline: It would get kind of lonely after a while.
      Nellie: Well, it would get me away from my mother, and Percival away from his father!

    • Nellie: (about Benjamin wanting the baby to be Jewish) Is that why he came? To make sure?
      Percival: Partly. It's very important to Papa that the baby be Jewish, to preserve the heritage.
      Nellie: My mother's used to getting her own way. There's going to be trouble.

    • Percival: Now, listen to me, all of you! I will not allow my wife to be upset like this, nor will I stand back and watch my father have another heart attack!
      Benjamin: Isaac!
      Percival: PERCIVAL! Is this what religion is all about? Anger? Fighting? Hatred? Well, if it is, Nellie and I don't want any part of it. None of it.

  • NOTES (5)

    • The names of the real life boy-girl twins, who played Nellie and Percival's babies were not listed in the credits, obviously, but according to Alison Arngrim (Nellie), their names are Philip and Lacey. In the DVD audio commentary for this episode, Arngrim explained that Philip and Lacey were several months old at the time of filming (they couldn't get anyone younger due to child labor laws), but because they were premature, they looked like newborns.

    • This is Katherine MacGregor (Harriet Oleson)'s favorite episode from season 7.

    • Featured characters: The Olesons, and Percival and his family

    • The original air date for this episode was Katherine MacGregor (Harriet Oleson)'s 56th birthday. The actress was born on January 12, 1925.

    • Because they are central to the storyline, Katherine MacGregor, Richard Bull, Allison Arngrim, and Steve Tracy are credited as guest stars.


    • Percival tries to convince his father that prejudice is quickly becoming a thing of the past by mentioning that they're nearing the 20th Century. People looked toward the turn of the century as a time of optimism about the future. Ironic that the new century would demonstrate that prejudice hadn't died as, less than 60 years later, millions would die in World War II.