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. :')
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.
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.
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.
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.
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