Little House on the Prairie

Season 5 Episode 7


Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 23, 1978 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
60 votes

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Episode Summary

Charles brings home a baby calf for aspiring farmer Albert, who is delighted to take care of the animal and enter it in the upcoming county fair. As Charles and Albert's relationship starts to really resemble the bond between a father and son, Laura feels threatened and doubts her place in the family.moreless

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  • Laura's Brother

    After losing her baby brother in "The Lord Is My Shepherd," Laura finally gets a brother in this episode! Too bad she is jealous of him at first. But I think most of us probably would be if a new kid came to live with us and our dad spent more time with that kid than they did with us. When Albert realizes Laura's jealousy, he writes a note saying that he's leaving. He doesn't want to ruin Charles and Laura's relationship. However, at the fair, Charles sees Albert and goes after him. He convinces Albert to at least say goodbye to everyone if he must go. Albert agrees. Charles takes him back to where the awards are being presented. They arrive in time to see Laura win the grand prize. Laura tells everyone that the award really belong to her brother, Albert. This is the first time Laura has called him her brother. Albert, deeply touched by Laura's words, starts to cry and walks over to her. Laura is genuinely happy to see him and wraps her arms around him in a hug. Charles, in tears himself, quietly reflects on how blessed he is to be the father of two wonderful children. :')moreless
  • Charles gives Albert a calf to raise and Laura is once again attacked by a case of the green-eyed monster.

    Albert has made it known to Charles that he wants to be a farmer and to help him along and learn the trade, Charles buys him a fine bull calf whom he names Fagin to raise for sale at the county fair. Albert puts his heart into it and Fagin grows to be a fine animal and both he and Charles hope that he will win the Blue Ribbon.

    Meanwhile, as she was when her little brother was born, Laura finds herself extremely jealous of Albert because of all the attention paid to him by Charles and becomes aloof and difficult. Things are made worse when Charles agrees to Albert calling him "Pa".

    When Albert runs away after hearing a conversation between Caroline and Charles, Laura feels extremely guilty. It is a very similar scenario to how she behaved when baby Charles Jnr. was competing (in her eyes) for her father's affections. Albert, of course, was a fictional character, but Laura Ingalls Wilder never actually mentioned the existence of her baby brother in any of her books. Perhaps losing him at such a young age was too difficult for her to write about.

    Laura takes over from the absent Albert in taking care of Fagin and Albert, hiding all the while, turns up at the fair to see the young bull take first prize. Laura makes a touching speech and the crowd claps for a ridiculously long time as brother, sister and father are reunited.

    A watchable episode but the extended clapping by total strangers was a bit far fetched.moreless
  • Laura feels ignored and left out when Charles spends all of his time with Albert.

    Laura feels ignored and left out when Charles spends all of his time with Albert. Charles gets Albert a calf, this is to teach Albert about life on the farm. Laura tries to spend time with her Pa, but Albert interupts when the calf needs help. Laura is devistated when Albert beings to call Charles Pa, she declares he will never be my brother.

    Albert runs away after overhearing Charles and Caroline talking about Laura not feeling that she is part of the family anymore.

    Laura takes Albert's calf to the fair and wins first place. She dedicates the award to Albert, her brother. Albert, who is secretly hiding and watching the show, comes out when he hears Laura's heartfelt words.moreless
  • The Ingalls should have kept the calf, and sold Albert at the Fair.

    What was it with kids always running away in this series the moment there was any hint of conflict or misunderstanding? It happened especially with the adopted ones, which of course was no surprise as acquisitions of new children seemed to take place in just about every other episode. Albert, Nancy, James, Gideon, and of course, Laura...all these kids just headed for the hills, instead of confronting an issue with their parents or some other trustworthy adult.

    I thought that this episode was out of character on a couple levels. I think Charles would have learned his lesson after trudging up and down mountaintops with Mr. Edwards looking for the neglected, self-pitying Half-Pint in "The Lord is My Shepherd." Albert for his part just never seemed the type of kid to take into consideration other people's feelings so much that he'd actually be willing to go homeless again after miffing his adoptive sister. Laura, if her feelings really were that injured, seemed to forgive and forget all that jealousy rather quickly in time for the Fair, but it seemed more out of guilt than genuine acceptance that she would still garner all the attention from her father that she craved.

    In addition to the mischaracterization, the plot of this one just never grabbed my attentio. It's a bit tedious and slow-moving, leaving me with the impression that I just did witness the slow growth of that calf from birth to butchering time.moreless
  • A little look in the hart of a troubled child!

    I really like this episode. Because of the acting, the music... Because of the feelings of Laura which were so understandable. But I like it the most because it gave us a look in the twisted feelings of a troubled child who always had to deal with the need of love on one hand, and the fear of rejection on the other. For me Albert represents all the kids in the world who weren`t brought up with the love and care the Ingalls kids did. Who didn`t see 'good and bad' that plain but still was lovable because you knew deep down in side he was a good kid. He kept this character during the whole series and, because of his complexity and many faces, he was much more realistic than any other kid.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Patrick Labyorteaux

Patrick Labyorteaux

Andrew 'Andy' Garvey (1977 - 1981) (as Patrick Laborteaux)

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Alison Arngrim

Alison Arngrim

Nellie Oleson/Dalton (1974 - 1981)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • When Albert is fighting with Denzel McCalley, Laura yells out, "Punch him, Albert! Punch him!" and we hear a series of loud, defined punching sounds. It's extremely unlikely that a boy Albert's age and size could throw a punch that hard, especially while up against a much bigger boy like Denzel.

    • Notice that Laura and Pa have had multiple heart-to-heart conversations by the lake. This happened in Season 1's The Love of Johnny Johnson, Season 2's At the End of the Rainbow, and now this episode.

    • After Laura socks Nellie in the face, she is sent home from school for fighting. Really, though, it doesn't make sense that the teacher got involved in this. For one thing, it all took place well before school even started, and secondly, the fight happened in front of the mercantile, away from the schoolhouse.

    • This is the second time Laura tells a story to Charles about how, as a little girl, she always said she was going to marry him. Laura also expressed this in Season 3's The Hunters.

    • Alice Garvey is now Walnut Grove's newest teacher. She is the only regular, long-term teacher in town who was already married when she first took the position, and there was a reason for that. Back in those days, it was very much frowned upon when married women taught school (or had any job, for that matter), and it was even more unacceptable when they had children. In reality, a married mother like Alice Garvey would not have been teaching like that in the 1800's, so this was not historically accurate.

    • Watch the scene where Laura is in the Olsen's parlor, preparing to apologize to Nellie. She's supposed to be on the verge of tears, but as Allison Arngrim sits there whining, with a steak plastered over her eye, it looks more like Melissa Gilbert is trying not to smile.

    • It was not uncommon for farmers to take on boys as farmhands during this time, so Albert's presence should not have been so controversial as the Olesons made it out to be. However, calling Charles "Pa" probably would have raised a few eyebrows.

    • It appears that Laura has forgotten the lesson of unconditional love that she learned in Season 1's "The Lord is my Shepherd." In turn, it seems that Charles failed to learn the lesson from "The Lord is My Shepherd" and neglects his daughter when a boy comes along.

    • This is the second time in the series that Laura has felt seriously neglected by her father after a new son has come into the family. If you remember, Laura felt very hurt and angry in Season 1's "The Lord is My Shepherd," when her baby brother was born.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Fair Judge: Congratulations, young lady. Would you like to say a few words?
      Laura: Thank you, sir. But this honor really doesn't belong to me. I'd like to accept this award for my brother Albert. (audience clapping)
      Charles: (to Albert) You sure San Francisco can't wait?
      Albert: (begins sobbing, walks over to Laura, and hugs her)

    • Laura: What are we gonna name him?
      Albert: Well, let's see. I'll call him Fagin.
      Laura: What?
      Albert: From a book I read once.
      Laura: Oh, you mean Oliver Twist.
      Albert: Uh-huh. I liked it.
      Laura: I sure wouldn't have picked that name.
      Albert: But like you said, he's my calf.

    • Charles (Speaking to Laura): I just had a talk with your Ma. She set me straight on a few things. I know I haven't been treating you right, but I hadn't realized that, you know? And I just wanted you to hear my side of it. See, when Albert came to us, I wanted him to feel like he was part of the family, you know? So I spent a lot more time with him than I probably should have. And it was only because I love you more than anything, and I just took it for granted that you already knew that. It was dumb of me. And it was dumb of me for not telling you how much I love you. Because I love you more than anything. I do.
      Laura: (hugging him) I love you too, Pa.

    • Laura: I made your favorite--ham and cheese sandwiches. And I baked us a carrot cake.
      Charles: Oh, you didn't have to go to all that trouble.
      Laura: Well, I always make something special.
      Charles: Yes, I remember your "apple turnovers."
      Laura: Well, nobody told me that the ripe apples were supposed to be green, not red.
      Charles: And sliced, and peeled.....
      Laura: Well, you ate them.
      Charles: Don't remind me. I had eight of those things! They were awful!
      Laura: (laughing) Thanks! Remember how I always used to pretend I was going to marry you?
      Charles: Well, who else was gonna marry you? After tasting your apple turnovers, no one else would have you!

    • Mrs. Garvey: Now, has anybody heard of the Battle of Hastings? Yes, Willie?
      Willie: Yeah. My Ma and Pa fought it last night at supper!

    • Caroline: Laura, I want you to stop that crying now!
      Laura: Nobody cares about me. Nellie gets punched, everybody cares. Fagin gets sick, and everybody cares.
      Caroline: Laura, that's not true.
      Laura: It is true! I know it's true. And Albert......I thought he liked me, but it wasn't me he cared about. It was Pa--my Pa! He never pays any attention to me anymore, and Albert calls him "Pa" now. But don't expect me to call him my brother, because he isn't! He isn't! (runs off)

    • Nellie: (to Laura after hearing Albert call Charles "Pa") Oh, so it's "Pa" now, is it?
      Laura: Leave me alone.
      Nellie: Well, your Pa always wanted a son. Guess he finally got one.
      Laura: Shut up, Nellie!
      Nellie: What's the matter, Laura? Don't you like your new brother?

    • Charles: I told you, I'm trying to get this farm back on its feet! That takes up most of my day.
      Caroline: And the rest is for Albert.
      Charles: What did you keep bringing up Albert for? He's got 600 pounds of beef [Fagin] out there. That's money in the bank.
      Caroline: Yes, but Laura only remembers what it was like before he came. In a lot of ways, she's still your little girl.
      Charles: In a lot of ways, she is my little girl. You know that!
      Caroline: Charles, why are you arguing with me? Could it be because there's some grain of truth to what Laura's feeling?
      Charles: What, that I don't love her?
      Caroline: No, that you've been neglecting her.

  • NOTES (1)