A wealthy (and completely proper) young widow in town, played by Mariette Hartley, hires Charles to complete some odd jobs around her mansion that her late husband never finished. While Mary is visiting her Pa at the house, the widow recieves a new shipment of beautiful china. In wondering aloud what she should do with the "old" set, Mary suggests that Charles buy them for Ma. Charles declines for the sake of being thrifty, but overnight changes his mind and offers to complete an additional project at the home in exchange for the dishes. He tells no one in the family, wanting to surprise his wife. Unfortunately, he tells a few white lies about his whereabouts to protect his secret, but is spotted by Caroline at the widow's home and in town doing special errands for her. Of course Mrs. Oleson pounces on the opportunity to start a rumor of an extramarital affair. In the end of course Charles presents his very grateful, humbled and relieved wife with the beautiful dishes, all rumors are put to rest, and all is well.
Charles visits the Widow Thurman and finds her house in need of quite a bit of repair as her late husband didn't take very good care of it. The payment for the job is to be a new set of dishes for Caroline but it is a very big job for such a relatively small reward. Charles, being the good man that he is, decides to do it anyway and sets to work.
Unfortunately, the town gossips, lead by Harriet Oleson, also set to work with their tongues wagging about what is going on, particularly when Charles makes excuses for his absences, including a trip to Sleepy Eye which doesn't actually take place.
Mary and Laura are uncomfortable about the nasty rumours they are hearing, but it is even worse for Caroline, who has to bear the brunt of the gossip. Needless to say, all the gossips are firmly put in their place when they find out the real truth.
Terrific episode and a good showcase for actors we don't see as often as others in the series.