Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 6

If I Should Wake Before I Die

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 23, 1974 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Regarding the autoharp, it was invented FAR earlier than the 1950's.  There is some debate over who really invented it, but it was at latest the 1880's.  True, this is a little too late for its inclusion in the show, but not as grievous an error as implied by the earliest post.

    • Amy Hearn is often mentioned through out the series, but this is the only episode that she appeared in.

    • Robin Muir, who plays Miss Amy's little granddaughter Maureen, appears again as Charles Ingalls' younger sister Polly in a flashback sequence in Season 4's I Remember, I Remember. Aside from a simple hello, though, she doesn't have any speaking lines in either episode.

  • Quotes

    • Sean: (when the family learns that Amy isn't really dead) Mother, what in the name of common sense?!?!
      Amy: I'll get to you later. Let me deal with this one first. You miserable, ungrateful boy! All these years, I'm thinking you're dead, killed in the Indian War or Stone River, or Shiloh! How could you do this to me? How could you forget your own mother? Fifteen years of hurt and worry, waiting for a letter from the war department, and not a move you make until you think I'm dead and gone. And you, Sean. I'm supposed to forgive you too, I suppose?
      Sean: Now, just a minute, Amy Hearn! You've got some explaining to do!
      Bridget: How could you do it? How could you let them tell us you were dead?
      Sean: You had no right, Mother!
      Amy: Rights? You're talking about rights? Whose rights? I've got a right to see my own children and grandchildren. It comes before anything else! And you ask how I could do it. Well, it isn't hard when you've tried everything else, when you're so hungry for the sight and feel of your family. You can't sleep at night thinking of them, and when it comes to you, the one thing that will bring them to you is your own wake...well, it isn't hard to do at all. Sean, I heard you say it. "Why is it," you said, "you have to wait until they're gone before you know what they mean to you"? Well, you mean everything to me, you three. (long pause) 80 years old, and I don't have many birthdays left. Maybe...maybe not even one. And when you think of that, you have to be foolish. (starts crying)

    • Laura: (in bed) Mary? Mary?
      Mary: What?
      Laura: How old do you want to live to be?
      Mary: Oh, I don't know. Let me sleep.
      Laura: I want to live forever.
      Mary: Well, you can't.
      Laura: Who said?
      Mary: God.
      Laura: God never told you that.
      Mary: Will you go to sleep?
      Laura: That's what it's like.
      Mary: That's what what's like?
      Laura: Going to sleep. When you go to sleep, it's like you're dead. (smiles) Night!

    • Doc Baker: You're asking me to wire your children and tell them you're dead!
      Amy: But you'd wire them if I was dead, wouldn't you?
      Doc Baker: Of course I would.
      Amy: Why, then? Why would you please my ghost instead of my flesh and blood?
      Charles: Well, Amy, it isn't that--
      Amy: In the name of Heaven, what is it? You're like my children. A dutiful letter once or twice a year. "Do you have money, Mother? Is there anything you want"? And I write them back, "All I'd like is you. When can you come and visit me"? And Andy marched off to war when he was 19, with a smile and a whistle and a last hug and kiss, and in 15 years, I've not had a word from him! They'll come to my funeral, because it's a sin not to. And they'll weep and say all the things I'll not be there to hear. And you, both of you. You're the same. You'd do for my corpse, but not for me.

    • Laura: (when the group is singing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie") I don't like to sing about dying. It's sad.
      Maddie: There's nothing so sad about dying.
      Laura: I think it's sad.
      Maddie: Well, when you get as close to it as I am, it ain't sad. It's just like finishing a book or quilt, or maybe a long journey down the river and starting off somewhere else that may be more fun than where you were before.

    • Carrie: (about Maddie's funeral) What are they doing?
      Amy: They're saying good-bye, child.
      Laura: Well, what good does it do when she can't hear them? Why didn't they come to her birthday?
      Amy: You can miss a birthday, and nobody says much, but you can't miss a funeral.
      Mary: Why not?
      Amy: That's just the way grown-ups are.
      Laura: Hmm. It ought to be the other way around.
      Amy: A lot of things in this life ought to be the other way around.

    • Amy: Maddie will be 80 years old today.
      Doc Baker: Well, wish her a happy birthday for me......unless, of course, I'm invited, in which case I'll tell her myself.
      Amy: You're invited.
      Doc Baker: I'll be there.
      Charles: Oh, and it's a surprise.
      Doc Baker: I know. Maddie told me.

    • Caroline: You what?
      Charles: I told you, Caroline. Miss Amy's gonna die on Monday, and I'm handling her wake.
      Caroline: Charles, you're not serious!
      Charles: I know it's a little unusual.
      Caroline: Unusual?!?!? Unusual's not the word!

    • Doc Baker: (when Miss Amy wants to stage her own death) Amy, I've never put a woman—much less an 80-year-old woman—over my knee, but you're coming close to being the first!
      Miss Amy: Oh, come on, Doctor. Surely you understand.
      Doc Baker: I surely don't understand.
      Charles: I don't understand either, and I don't think it's funny, Amy!
      Miss Amy: It wasn't meant to be funny. It was meant, purely and simply, to bring my children and grandchildren back to me for the first time in more years than I'd like to count!

  • Notes

  • Allusions