Almanzo finally proposes, to Laura but Charles insists that they wait two years. Harriet Oleson wants Nellie to be trained to to take over the restaurant, but the hiring of Percival Dalton creates more drama.
Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder
Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)
Dr. Hiram Baker
Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)
In this episode, Laura is told she has to wait till she is 18 before she can marry. Charles states that Laura is too young to make such an important decision. He must have more faith in Mary. She got married in "The Wedding" at age 16, and was engaged to John Jr. in "I'll Ride the Wind" at age 13 (though she had to wait two years).
Reply: With many parents, they tend to cling much tighter to their younger children. I think Charles was seeing Mary as an adult much sooner because she was the oldest and very mature for her age. With Laura, he just always viewed her as his little girl, no matter how big she got. One can imagine how he would have been with Carrie and Grace if they kept the show running long enough to see them get married :)
Houston: What are you doing?
Laura: I'm trying to catch my breath after you scared me half to death. Let go of me!
Houston: How old are you?
Houston: You don't look like no 16!
Laura: That's because you're old. Everybody looks young when you're old!
Houston: Says who?
Laura: My grandfather!
Nellie: Mr. Dalton?
Nellie: I want to apologize for the way I acted. It was very rude, and I'm deeply sorry.
Percival: Apology accepted. Now, if you'll excuse me--
Nellie: Please......could you give me another chance? I can learn; I can. Please?
Percival: I know you can learn. Do you want to?
Nellie: Yes. Very much.
Percival: All right. You go get cleaned up.
Nellie: Thank you. (leaves)
Harriet: Oh, I'll help her. I'll help you, honey! (scampers after Nellie)
Percival: (to Nels) Well, maybe now we'll get someplace. (walks out)
Nels: (stunned) I don't believe it. I just don't believe it.
Nellie: I don't like to do dishes, and you know it!
Nels: Well, I don't care what you don't like.
Nellie: Well, that's obvious.
Nels: What do you mean by that?
Nellie: This hotel, this restaurant. I never asked for it in the first place.
Nels: Well, I didn't give it to you! It was your mother's idea.
Nellie: You shouldn't have let her.
Nels: How was I supposed to stop her?
Nellie: By being a man.
Nels: By being a......?!?!? Now, look here, young lady. If you behaved like a woman, you wouldn't need this hotel and restaurant to find yourself a man!
Nels: That's why your mother gave you this restaurant in the first place, so somebody would marry you!
Laura: (about Almanzo) I can't lose him.
Caroline: What makes you so sure you're gonna lose him?
Laura: Well, he said that he just can't wait two years.
Caroline: I see. So if he doesn't get his own way, his love for you just goes away?
Almanzo: I got a raise.
Charles: Hey, that's wonderful! I'm proud of you.
Almanzo: I was hoping you would be, because I want to marry your daughter.
Charles: Well, I have to be honest with you, son, that does not come as a big surprise to me.
Almanzo: Next month.
Charles: That does.
Almanzo: Mr. Ingalls, I know how set you are on having Laura wait until she's 18.
Charles: Good. Then it won't come as a surprise to you when I tell you the answer's no.
Laura: But Pa--
Charles: Do you mind? This is between myself and the man who may become my son-in-law in two years.
Laura: (about Almanzo) He left?
Laura: He wouldn't just leave. What did you say to him?
Charles: I told him you two would have to wait.
Laura: I'm not gonna lose him, Pa. If waiting means that I'm going to lose him, then I'm not gonna wait. I mean it, Pa!
Laura: Ma, if it was up to you, would you have made us wait two years?
Caroline: Probably not.
Laura: I thought so.
Caroline: On the other hand, I might have made you wait until you're 21!
Percival: You know, your father is paying me a great deal to teach you. The least you can do is make an attempt.
Nellie: I didn't ask to be taught. I didn't ask for this restaurant. And you're short!
Percival: Let's try this again.
Nellie: How about a shortcake? Want any short ribs? Need any shortening? You know, you really ought to write a book--"Shortcuts to Cooking!"
Percival: Let's try this again.
Nellie: That will only take you a short time.
Percival: Would you like to try this--
Nellie: No, I wouldn't! I wouldn't like to try again! I hate this place, I hate cooking, and I hate short people! My mother gave me this place so I could get a husband. Did you know that? Well, I don't want a husband, and I don't want to cook, and I don't want to separate eggs! (throws all the eggs and shells into the bowl) There, Quasimodo! I'm all done.
Percival: (smiles and calmly dumps the eggs over her head) I also have a very short temper.
Percival: Mrs. Oleson, you are not paying me enough to be insulted. Now, my advice to you is--
Harriet: Don't you advise me, young man! You come in here and--
Percival: WILL YOU BE QUIET! (long, dead silence; Harriet and Nels are stunned) Now, my advice to you is to forget about Nellie's Place. If Caroline's willing to stay and run the place, fine. Otherwise, forget it. Your daughter has no intention of making a go of it.
Laura: (when Almanzo is struggling to tell her something) Well, do you want to write me a note?
Laura: Okay. (gives him a pencil and paper, he starts writing)
Almanzo: Danburnit, the point broke!
Laura: Let me see what you've got so far. "My dearest Laura, I love you and I want to--" That's where the point broke.
Laura: You want to what?
Almanzo: I want to, uh....I want to sharpen this pencil and write another note....
Laura: Manly, look at me. You want to what?
Almanzo: (pause) I want you to be my wife.
Laura: I'd love to!
Laura: You're awfully quiet.
Almanzo: There's nothing wrong with being quiet.
Laura: Well, there is when you bring me all the way out there because you have something important to tell me, then you don't say anything at all!
Almanzo: Some things are just harder to say.
Charles: (to Almanzo, who wants to marry Laura right away) Almanzo, now I want you to listen to me. You're a great deal older--
Almanzo: Mr. Ingalls, I don't think my age should have anything to do with it!
Charles: Well, neither do I. Just hear me out. All right, the difference in your ages stopped bothering me a long time ago. It's Laura's age that bothers me, not yours. A man in your position, you know what you want. Laura's young. She's still growing, she's still changing. You know she loves you, but you want to be sure--sure that she really wants to spend the rest of her life with you, through the good times and the bad. And believe me, son, there's gonna be plenty of bad. When you're as young as Laura, and you're being courted, everything's just sweet music and starry skies--and life just isn't like that. If you love each other now, you should love each other just as much two years from now. Do you understand?
Almanzo: Yeah, I understand. I just can't say I agree with you.
Charles: Well, I don't think it's important that you agree with me. What is important is that you understand why I'm telling you no.
Almanzo: And that's your final answer?
Charles: (about making Laura wait to get married)) What did you think I was going to say?
Caroline: I knew what you were going to say, Charles.
Charles: And you think I was wrong?
Caroline: It's not about right or wrong, Charles! It's about folks loving and wanting what's best for each other.
Almanzo: (in response to Charles wanting him and Laura to wait 2 years before marrying)) It's your choice, Beth--your Pa or me.
Laura: Almanzo....I love you. But I love my Pa, too.
Almanzo: I want an answer.
Laura: I can't. Not now. I just need some more time.
Almanzo: I guess your Pa was right. You're still a little girl!
Percival: Why your mother ever gave you this restaurant, I'll never know. You can't cook and you certainly have no right to be dealing with the public! And as pretty as you are, you don't need a restaurant to catch a husband in the first place!
(Nellie is clearly frustrated with the discussion over the restaurant-hotel's future and meeting with Percival.)
Nellie: Doesn't anybody want to hear what I think?
(When the Oleson's are fighting, Nels says that they should close the Hotel.)
Mr. Oleson: Listen to me, Harriet.
Mrs. Oleson: I have never listened to you before and I'm certainly not going to start now!
Although the scene where Nellie goes to apologize to Percival is supposed to take place right after he dumped the eggs on her, the scene was filmed on a different day. Therefore, Alison Arngrim (Nellie) had to go through quite a procedure to make herself look like she did in the previous scene. Her wig was covered in egg, the shells had to be placed exactly where they had been on her head, and a paintbrush was used to spread the egg yolk all over her clothes.
The real Laura Ingalls Wilder did marry when she was 18. However, it was not due to any restriction set by her father, as it is in the TV series. Almanzo courted her from ages 15 to 17. After he proposed, they had to wait a year for him to build a house and take care of some other business.
In the final scene of this Part 1 episode, Charles smokes a pipe while sitting in bed. Not only is this extremely risky, as mattresses at that time were stuffed with hay, but in light of the recent tragedy at the blind school, you'd think Charles would be more careful in general about smoking. Additionally, one has to wonder what kind of message his smoking in bed--a known cause of many real-life house fire deaths--sends to the viewing public when this is supposed to be a family-friendly, positive show.
This episode marks the second time that a member of the Olsen family gets a bowl of eggs dumped on their head during an argument (see also Season 1's "Family Quarrel").
Savor the first half of this episode, because it's absolutely the last that you will see of the trademark hilarity that is Nasty Nellie. Thanks to Percival, she goes from nasty to angelic literally within minutes, and she stays that way for the rest of the series.
Alison Angrim as Nellie Oleson was credited as a guest in this episode (as she meets her future husband in here).
There's love, marriage and heartache and changes (blind school & hotel) in this story for many of the residents of Walnut Grove. Plenty of humorous scenes thrown in (like the first meeting between Laura and Houston).
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