Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 22

Gold Country

0
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Apr 04, 1977 on NBC
4.6
out of 10
User Rating
70 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Gold Country
AIRED:
A heavy rain has been falling in Walnut Grove for two months, and it shows no signs of stopping. Farmers like Charles fear that their families will go hungry, and after reading an article in the newspaper, they take a 400-mile journey with their wives and children for a temporary new life in Gold Country. Things start out pretty well when Charles and Isaiah dig up some gold, but Laura and Carl get a completely different perspective from a new friend that they meet near their camp site. Meanwhile, Caroline opens and teaches a school in a tent, right in the middle of town, but it proves to be a less-than-ideal learning environment for everyone.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I really wanted to like this episode, and I tried hard to do so, but it just didn't work and I found myself longing for the family to return to Walnut Grove.moreless

    4.5
    Heavy rains which continue for many months force the Ingalls family out into "Gold Territory", along with the Edwards family, where they all intend to do some prospecting and hopefully make their fortunes.



    Unfortunately, the episode, in my opinion, was about as dull as it could possibly get and was awful when you consider that it was a Season Finale.



    The children are tired,cold and sick of moving around, and Caroline's patience is wearing very thin too, especially as they only make a few minor strikes and a man they have befriended is murdered for the big haul he has uncovered.



    I don't think anyone was more glad than me when they decided enough was enough and headed back to their little house on the prairie.moreless
  • This episode shows just how bad greed and money can destroy people.

    10
    In my opinion, this is one of the best of the two hour episodes of the series. Although this episode does basically end the original Little House On The Prairie book series, we all know the rest of the stories did the books justice. Even though the gold rush was over a century ago, this episodes story stays true to today. Greed and money does destroy most people. Luckily enough, Charles realizes this and addresses the community after a killing and a suicide and moves his family back to the wholesome community of Walnut Grove. This is an excellent end to the third season of this great show.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Lindsay Greenbush

Lindsay Greenbush

Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Sidney Greenbush

Sidney Greenbush

Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Wil Albert

Wil Albert

Mr. Delano

Guest Star

Larry Golden

Larry Golden

Reverend Phillips

Guest Star

Robert Forward

Robert Forward

Harlan

Guest Star

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Edwards

Recurring Role

Bonnie Bartlett

Bonnie Bartlett

Grace Edwards

Recurring Role

Brian Part

Brian Part

Carl Edwards

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Had it been raining that hard for that many days, the dirt roads out of Walnut Grove would have been completely impassable.

    • Major Goof: As the Ingalls are heading to Gold Country in their covered wagon, we get a brief scene of them eating in the wagon at night, while the rain beats down. Well, guess what? This little scene is taken directly from the pilot movie, which was filmed four years ago! To make it even more obvious, the camera zooms in on the characters, and you can clearly see a very young Mary and Laura, as well as a younger Caroline and Charles, who are wearing clothes that they haven't worn since those very early Little House days (Charles has that infamous cinnamon red shirt that he wore in the pilot, and Caroline has a red shawl that she doesn't have in the rest of this episode). If they were going to recycle this scene, you'd think they would at least know better than to zoom in like that and let the audience notice it!

    • In Season 2's At the End of the Rainbow, Laura and her friend Jonah pan for gold and keep it a secret because of the greedy people that live around them. "Sutter's Mill all over again" became their driving force throughout the entire episode. Laura must have forgotten what she knew in that episode, because not only does Zachariah have to explain the term "gold fever" to her, but she contributes to the greed by revealing the old mines as a source of gold.

    • Look closely at the school/church in the background as Nels Olsen bids farewell to the Ingalls as they leave for Gold Country. It's pouring rain, but the school/church is completely dry, and the sky behind it is a brilliant blue! Obviously, the writers and directors weren't using their heads when they brought in this "fake rain" for the scene.

    • A seriously implausible situation develops in this episode. Caroline Ingalls wants the children of the "gold rushers" to be able to attend school, and she asks the local Reverend if they could use the church (actually, just a tent) right in the middle of town for classes. However, the noise in the town square makes it nearly impossible, in reality, for the teachers and students to accomplish anything. Also, gunshots were constantly being fired, and there were drunk people fighting and screaming all over, placing the children in great danger. At one point, a crazy man walked right into the school room and got right in Caroline's face. No parent in their right mind would have sent their child into town for any reason. They'd be better off teaching their kids at home. The Ingalls and Edwards parents, in particular, were never the type to endanger their kids that way.

    • This marks the final appearances of Bonnie Bartlett (Grace), Kyle Richards (Alicia) and Brian Part (Carl) as regular cast members. Bartlett returned for one more episode in Season 6, and Richards played a different character in Season 5 before reprising her role as Alicia for one more episode in Season 8. Part, however, left the show for good after this season finale.

    • Historical Goof: The viewer can assume this episode takes place in 1877, as the previous episode, The Election, references the election of Rutherford B. Hayes in November 1876, but Grace Ingalls, who was born in 1877, is not present yet. If so, the "wagon trail" map that shows the path through Dakota Territory is inaccurate. It shows a border between North and South Dakota, which did not exist until both became states in 1889.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Charles: (speaking to the congregation) The Reverend asked us to say a prayer tonight, and I know it's not proper to be asking people about their prayers, but seeing as I'm not a regular preacher, I guess I can get away with it. Because I'd really like to know how many of you closed your eyes and bowed your heads tonight, and asked the good Lord to help you strike it rich. Anyone who did, just raise your hand. (nobody does) Come on, if we're going to be anything while we're in this Church, I think we ought to be honest. I know I did it when I came here, and surely I'm not the only one. (long silence, some people raise their hands) That's more like it. You know, before I came here, I never dreamed of asking God for wealth. Happiness, yes. Good health for my family, strength of spirit, but not wealth. But when you come to a place like this, you change. Some more than others, but you change, and you see the people around you change, too. You see people thinking more and more about the wealth of gold, and less and less about the real wealth: your family, your friends, and even your God. So when I bowed my head tonight, I didn't ask for gold. I asked God to give me the strength to forget about it, to turn my back on it, and for the courage to take my family home. And standing up here, speaking to you tonight, He has given me that strength. And we are going home.

    • Caroline: Just how much longer do you think we'll be here?
      Charles: It's hard to say. It depends on how we do. Until we get enough.
      Caroline: I think it's hard for some folks to know when they have enough.

    • Laura: We're here to get rich!
      Carl: Yeah, our Pa's are going to find gold.
      Zachariah: It's started again.
      Laura: What?
      Zachariah: The fever. The gold fever. I've seen it before. You see those mines over there? They were dug up twenty years ago. Twenty years ago!
      Laura: Did folks find gold?
      Zachariah: Some. Just enough to change folks. Enough to make them think that they need more and more and more, until it wasn't enough, until all the gold on God's Earth wasn't enough! Now it's beginning again. The greed, the hate, the sorrow.
      Laura: But these folks are different. These are good people.
      Zachariah: They'll change.
      Laura: But you don't even know them!
      Zachariah: They'll change! God forgive them, they'll change!

    • Mr. Edwards: (after gambling at the saloon) I said I was sorry. I won't do it again, I promise. You hear me? I said I promise I won't do it again.
      Grace: You've promised before.
      Mr. Edwards: This is different. I didn't do this for fun. I did it so we could get some flour or bacon--
      Grace: That's just an excuse, and you know it! You'll never change.
      Mr. Edwards: Well, why'd you marry me in the first place? I mean, why didn't you just up and marry someone who was already the way you want me to be?
      Grace: Because I fell in love with you, that's why. (Mr. Edwards smiles at her, she smiles too) Go to sleep.
      Mr. Edwards: Yes, my dear.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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