Little House on the Prairie

Season 8 Episode 22

He Was Only Twelve (2)

2
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM May 10, 1982 on NBC
3.3
out of 10
User Rating
177 votes
11

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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He Was Only Twelve (2)
AIRED:
As James lies in a coma at the Ingalls house, Charles increases the distress of his family by denying the child's impending death. Angry that nobody--not even Doc Baker--offers any hope for James' recovery, Charles takes his son away to the mountains, where he builds a temple and prays fiercely for a miracle.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Interesting

    8.0
    The principle of faith is to recognize objective truth regardless of evidence to the contrary. The same goes for future events. If predictions do not come true, then they are not valid predictions. In this story, Charles had faith in God's power to heal and although he claimed to know this absolutely, there is an inconsistency in the story where he asks the old man whether or not his son will be healed, to which the old man replied that "only he knows". God needs people to trust him when he makes his promises, not to predict his personal future decisions. Still, even overlooking this, we can conclude that either nobody can actually have unwavering faith, or that Charles made the mistake of putting too much faith in the idea that the old man was a messenger from God and that such a messenger should be trusted to give answers when in fact such answers should be given and heard by God. The other possibility is that after James' instability, Charles became uncertain of his faith and asked for instructions on what to do and God sent a messenger. In either case, Michael Landon proves again that he is a master storyteller and he delivers happiness through a happy ending in the form of a miracle. The inconsistency with this episode and the other episodes in the series is a valid concern when evaluating this episode but when putting this into a historical point of view, the people who actually lived at this time during the late 19th century in small communities were in fact very religious and this episode may in fact accurately reflect the beliefs of the time. Finally, I can conclude that the real message from the story may in fact not be the miracle. The message may be that in the end, there is justice for all. Justice tempered by mercy and grace for those who believe.moreless
  • Over The Top

    4.0
    This episode takes faith to unbelieable beliefs. Charles builds an altar to restore James from a coma from a possible angel in the guise of an old man which it does happen. But in about two years later Albert is dying of Leukemia and he is not saved.
  • Worst episode ever

    1.0
    Just the worst episode in the entire series.
  • Refusing to accept the impending death of his adopted son, Charles takes the comatose boy out into the wilderness, builds an altar and awaits the miracle that ultimately saves him.

    1.0
    I loved this show until this episode - at which point Michael Landon completely destroyed the show's credibility and I never watched another episode. I remember, the first time I saw it, wondering why Charles - who was never the religious rock of the Ingalls family in previous episodes - was suddenly willing to believe in miracles. Where was the altar when he was told his own daughter was going blind? This was completely out of character for Charles Ingalls.



    And, while I'm the first to admit that miracles DO occur, this one just wasn't plausible to me. This episode's second half would have been much more meaningful if the boy (who was shortly going to be off the show anyway) had died. Michael Landon (complete with the whole Moses beard and moustache look) really blew it with this one.moreless
  • James, in a coma after being shot, hovers near death. Charles builds an alter, grows a beard and prays. Miracle of miracles, James lives.

    3.0
    This episode made me begin to question whether or not Michael Landon had lost his marbles.(Just check out the beard and you'll know what I mean) I still cannot accept that after all the adversity he had faced in the past (Mary went blind for crying out loud) he's going to fall apart now over a child that's not even his!! He's only known him for a year!

    OK, Freddie died, Laura ran away, Mary had an operation, Ma nearly died, Mary went blind, etc, etc, etc...And through it all Charles had his faith to comfort him. Think of the lovely scene in Part one of "The Lord is My Shepard" when he and Ma say the Lord's Prayer together. His faith was there to help him get through the tough times, not to circumvent them.

    I never liked the addition of James and Cassandra in the first place, so I don't think I would have cared for this episode even if Charles' behavior wasn't so radical. Why couldn't it have been Albert? There is nothing here that makes any sense or adds to the series as a whole.

    Dreadful.moreless
Dean Butler

Dean Butler

Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)

Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman

James Cooper/Ingalls (1981 - 1982)

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Don Beddoe

Don Beddoe

Old Man

Guest Star

Martin Rudy

Martin Rudy

Dr. Stanfill

Guest Star

Victor French

Victor French

Isaiah Edwards

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This episode marks the final appearance of Bandit, the dog. He is seen for a few seconds outside the Little House during Cassandra's final scene.

    • Doc Baker brings a friend and colleague by to see Charles named Dr. Stanfill, who is a psychiatrist and who just happens to be in town after Doc hears about Charles' plans to take James away for a miraculous healing. However, individual psychology was a very new idea during the late 1800's, particularly in the United States. Psychology at that time, especially in the West, would have been limited to committing a family member who was "touched" to an asylum.

    • Charles retorts to being told that it isn't necessarily God he's hearing by saying, "It's a good thing you weren't around 2,000 years ago" when Moses received the Ten Commandments. However, Charles is mixing up his Biblical chronology, as Jesus walked the earth 2,000 years ago, and Moses was alive 1,400 years before Christ.

    • Notice that the past four season finales of the series have involved characters dying or being near death. There was leukemia-stricken young Dylan in Season 5's The Odyssey; diphtheria-stricken Almanzo in Season 6's He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Part 2; the wagon accident that killed James and Cassandra's parents in Season 7's The Lost Ones; and now James is near death from a gunshot wound in this episode.

    • Charles' character goes down a road that we have not seen in previous episodes, at least not in this way. Although he was always extremely religious, Charles also knew when to accept reality and understand that not everything could be made better simply through prayer. In this episode, however, Charles detaches himself from all reality and clings solely to his faith, depending wholly and completely on a miracle to save his son.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Cassandra: Why does Pa keep talking like James is getting better? Why?
      Caroline: Because he wants it to be true.
      Cassandra: But it's not. And I can't stand to watch him anymore. Please, Ma, let me go away. Let me stay with Laura. I love James, but... I can't.

    • Doc Baker: What you're asking for is a miracle.
      Charles: I've spent my whole life believing in God's word. Why shouldn't I ask for a miracle?

  • NOTES (10)

    • This episode marks the final appearance of Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, so we don't get to see the character past the age of about 10. Less is known about the real Carrie Ingalls than Laura and Mary, but she married David Swanzey, the man who gave Mt. Rushmore its name, and lived out her life in the shadow of that mountain in Keystone, South Dakota. She and her husband are buried in the Keystone town cemetery, which bears a historical marker in honor of the town's two most famous residents. Their graves are just a 10-minute walk from Mount Rushmore.

    • This is Carrie Ingalls' last episode. It should be noted that when asked which Greenbush twin did more scenes over the course of the series, it was said that Lindsay did, because Sidney had a bone cyst in her left arm, which caused her to break her arm multiple times. Because Sidney was in a cast so often, Lindsay had to do most of the acting as Carrie.

    • Martin Rudy, who plays psychiatrist Dr. Stanfill in this episode, appeared in Season 7's Dearest Albert, I'll Miss You, also as a doctor.

    • This is the only time in the series that we see Charles Ingalls with a beard, and it really is a sight to see!

    • This the the final appearance of Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie, Brenda and Wendi Turnbaugh as Grace, Jason Bateman as James and Missy Francis as Cassandra. The episode also marks the last appearances of Michael Landon, Karen Grassle and Matthew Laborateaux as regular cast members.

    • Part 1 of this episode was a re-write of the 1972 Bonanza episode, He Was Only Seven. The second part of this episode, however, is not recycled.

    • Featured characters: Charles and James

    • David Rose won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) for He Was Only Twelve, part 2.

    • Ted Voightlander was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series for He Was Only Twelve, part 2.

    • Charles has a beard in this episode to show us of how time has passed.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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