Little House on the Prairie

Season 2 Episode 22

Going Home

3
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Mar 31, 1976 on NBC
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

Feeling pleased and hopeful about the success of his current crop, Charles is devastated when the elements dash all his dreams.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • An excellent way to end Season 2 as good fortune turns to great failure and the Ingalls family just may have to leave Walnut Grove.

    9.0
    With a bumper crop ready to harvest, Charles and Caroline are delighted with their future prospects until the whole thing is destroyed by a freak tornado which wipes out everything. Naturally, the Ingalls family are devastated, but Caroline, the girls and family friends are stunned when Charles announces that he cannot take anymore of Walnut Grove's disappointments and wishes to return to his family home in Wisconsin.



    Needless to say, this side of Charles is one seldom seen and nobody is really sure hope to cope with it as he has always been able to start again before. Finally, it is Caroline who raises his spirits and tells him they will indeed start again - in Walnut Grove. They may have lost everything but to her, that is no reason not to put everything back together again and pick up the pieces. Which is exactly what they do. A lesson for us all and a fantastic episode for all "Little House" fans.moreless
  • Probably the best episode of Season 2 and among the series' best.

    8.6
    The Ingall's have their crop wiped out yet again, but this time Charles decides to give up and leave Minnesota.



    I sometimes think this episode is overlooked, it doesn't have the drama of "His Father's Son" or the tragedy of "Remember Me". What it does have is a real commitment to the values that Landon wanted to establish for the series -- the worth of a united family. There are many memorable lines and conversations, including Laura saying that a family that "pulls together can do anything", and Charles' out-loud realization the he decided to sell the farm without ever asking his wife or children ( a nice nod to 70s era sensibilities, and at the same time, to a recipe that probably was pretty important to pioneer families). This episode also sets up the romance between Mary and John Jr., something that continues into the next season and ends abruptly the season after that (pretty nice acting given that Radames Pera and Melissa Sue Anderson didn't like each other). The use of the older couple, the Simms, is also effective as a reminder of the type of people who established the midwestern farms of the American frontier.



    David Rose really does an excellent job with the musical scoring here, adapting his bouncy and rather 70s style "young kids in love" trumpet arrangement common to "For the Love of Johnny Johnson" and "To See the World" into a full orchestral string composition, making it much grander and more sentimental. His theme for Mary Ingalls is also embellished, and there are flourishes added onto the main musical score near the end of the episode.



    Maybe my only quibble is with the impossible time line hinted at in this episode and common to many entries in the series. Its seems possible that the Simms did homestead the land that the Ingalls owned forty years earlier, but its a lot less plausible that they were married in the same church that exists in Walnut Grove at the time of the story.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Karl Swenson

Karl Swenson

Mr. Lars Hanson (1974 - 1978)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Lurene Tuttle

Lurene Tuttle

Anna Simms

Guest Star

E.J. André

E.J. André

Matthew Simms

Guest Star

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Edwards

Recurring Role

Bonnie Bartlett

Bonnie Bartlett

Grace Edwards

Recurring Role

Radames Pera

Radames Pera

John, Jr.

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Mary and John Jr express their romantic feelings in this episode, when the character of Mary is only 13 years old. In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson stated that she "couldn't really get into the idea of being in love at such a young age," and that actor Ramades Pera (John, Jr.) was "more interested in making our scenes work than I was."

    • In this episode, Laura turns to the devout Reverend Alden for support with her family's troubles. In Season 1's The Lord is My Shepherd, Part 1 Laura had a similar heart-to-heart with the Reverend after her baby brother died--although in that episode, she didn't tell the Reverend exactly what she was upset about.

    • Early in this episode, when Mr. Edwards attempts to offer Charles some comfort and understanding, Charles quickly balks, "No, you don't understand! You still have your crop!" It's certainly very out of character for Charles to speak this way to a friend, and what's more, Charles was aware of the turmoils that Mr. Edwards went through in losing his wife and daughter--pain that arguably goes well beyond having your crops destroyed. Charles should not have instantly assumed that Mr. Edwards didn't understand his troubles, and it was not like him to behave that way.

    • Charles Ingalls displays a rare, defeated attitude in this episode, in which he's ready to just "chuck it all" and leave Walnut Grove. It seems uncharacteristic of him, until you realize that in very recent episodes his crop had failed to sell (The Long Road Home), and his property taxes were doubled (Centennial). The tornado in this episode, and the damage it causes, seems to understandably push him over the edge.

    • Charles states that he's "going home to Wisconsin, because that's where I'm from," after the tornado devastates his home in this episode. However, the real Charles Ingalls was from Cuba, New York. He lived there and in Elgin, Illinois, until he married Caroline Quiner in 1860. The writers could have kept this episode historically correct by simply changing the word "Wisconsin" to "Illinois."

    • This episode marks the first kiss between Mary and John Jr. (Sanderson) Edwards. They also admit to each other that they are in love.

    • Charles' corn crop ("higher than your head") is destroyed by a tornado. It seems that he has continued to plant corn (as suggested in Season 1, "Money Crop"), rather than switch back to the wheat he first planted (such as in the episode "100 Mile Walk").

    • When the tornado starts, Charles calls his wife Karen (the actress's real name) instead of Caroline.
      Reply: No, he doesn't. I've viewed this episode twice in the last two weeks, and he clearly calls her "Caroline," although in his panic he is speaking more quickly than normal. Remember that Charles does pronounce Caroline's name like "Carolyn," which sounds very much like "Karen."

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Charles: Did you finish your supper already?
      Laura: I wasn't hungry.
      Charles: That doesn't sound like you.
      Laura: I'm just too sad to eat, I guess.
      Charles: Just because you're sad, that's no reason to starve yourself.
      Laura: You didn't eat, either.
      Charles: (long pause) No, I guess I didn't.
      Laura: (runs and hugs him) Please, Pa, let us stay here!
      Charles: Half-Pint, we can't. I tried. I want you to know that.
      Laura: But we can do it, Pa! I know we can! I'm bigger now, and I can work like Mary does. You even said yourself that when this family pulls together, we can do anything. Please, Pa, just try!
      Charles: Half-Pint, I can't. I want you to understand.
      Laura: I do. I do understand. You quit trying. We could've done it together, but you quit trying!

  • NOTES (3)

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

    • In this episode, Charles' entire crop of "corn as high as your head" is destroyed. This would lead the viewer to believe that he's decided to stick with growing corn, a crop intorduced to him in season 2's Money Crop. However, just four episodes before Going Home aired, Charles and Isaiah Edwards were attempting to sell their bumper crop of wheat ("The Long Road Home") at market. Apparently, the writers couldn't make up their minds which crop he was growing!

    • A tornado impacted the Ingalls family in this episode. Laura would come close to being killed by a tornado a second time in Season 8's Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow, Part 2.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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