Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 24

Founder's Day

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Unknown on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • It's Founder's Day in Walnut Grove, and the townspeople gather to celebrate--and compete against each other in various competitions.

    Founder's Day is fast approaching in Walnut Grove, and everyone in the Ingalls family--except Charles--is anxiously awaiting their chance to win a blue ribbon in a competition: Caroline, in pie baking; Mary, in the jump rope contest; Laura, in the hoop rolling competition; and both sisters as a team in the 3-legged race. In the meanwhile, an older couple moves to town, and the man, a former logger who can't accept that time has taken its toll on him, gets a job at Hansen's mill, where he's constantly puting Charles down by calling him "son" and cracking wise about farmers. Just to show him up, Charles enters the log-splitting contest. The big day arrives. An old woman wins the pie contest, Nellie bumps Laura to win the hoop rolling contest, and Willie wins the jump rope contest when Mary falls. Looks like it's up to Charles to win a ribbon for the family. But before the chopping contest, the elderly wife of the former logger pulls Charles aside, telling him how much her husband needs to feel like the "bull of the woods" just once more. Charles purposely loses to the man, who's none the wiser. The Ingalls don't go home ribbonless, though; Ma steps in and races with Laura in the 3-legged race, blowing past Nellie and Mrs. Oleson in the final stretch.

    This is a fine episode which takes place almost entirely in the town square, where we get a chance to see and hear some of the townsfolk and country neighbors usually relegated to the background. This is a great episode to watch if you want to see the layout of the town from angles rarely shown. "Founder's Day" was the Season 1 finale.
  • Founders Day means fun, laughter and stiff competition for everyone.

    It's Founder's Day in Walnut Grove and the Ingalls family are very excited about competing in several events. Charles wants to win the wood chopping and borrows a brand new axe to help him do it. Mary and Laura want to do well in several of the children's competitions, and even Caroline joins in the fun when Mary hurts her ankle and can't take part in the three-legged race with Laura.

    Guest star Forrest Tucker (from F-Troop) did a great job in this episode as a man, formerly a great woodsman, who is getting older and desperate to win the chopping events to prove that he still 'has it' and to maintain his pride. It was also great to see the whole town (except Miss Beadle) in this one as, being a season finale, it's nice to catch a glimpse of everyone, even nasty old Mrs. Olseon!

    Terrific episode to end the season on and one that can be re-watched many times without boredom or a sense of repitition. Great work!
  • The Founder's Day celebration arrives with surprises in store for just about everyone.

    This is a charming episode. The town-wide celebration of Founder's Day provides the writers with an opportunity to explore lots of different characters and character relationships. The Ingalls/Oleson rivalry is three-fold here with Laura losing to Nellie, Mary losing to Willie and Harriet and Caroline competeing against one another in a pie contest (neither wins). The 'elitism' of the Oleson's is reinforced by the fact that they eat at a table in their yard, set with china and silver no less, while the Ingalls family picnics on the grass. Mr. Hanson has some fine moments in this episode. He has always been a favorite 'townie' of mine. I love the look of pride on his face each time he announces that the prize for the wood chopping contest was donated by Hanson's Lumber!
    Charles is interesting here. There are several facets of his personality on display in this episode. Traits we've seen from him before, to be sure, but never all at once. There is proud Charles. He is fiercely determined that he is going to put Mr. Tyler away in the contest. He has allowed the man to get to him and he is going to feel so much better after he whoops him.
    And then there is 'family Charles'-so proud of his girls, having a good old fun time at the celebration, laughing that belly laugh of his when they fall in the mud-such a fun guy. And finally there is empathetic Charles. After a beautifully delivered speech by Mrs. Tyler he decides to do the 'right' thing and lets Mr. Tyler have his day. This is a great scene. The monologue was well written and, as I said, delivered with eloquence. Charles says nothing in this scene, which is very powerful. We are left to decide for ourselves what he will do. It's not until the close-up shot of the old axe do we realize what the outcome will be.
    His explanation to Laura at the end was simple and lovely, a touching moment that didn't have to try too hard.
    This was a great episode with which to end the first season; it definately leaves one wanting more.