John Jr. is the first character in the series to earn and accept a full college scholarship, but not the last. Another student gets one in Season 4's The Creeper of Walnut Grove.
Goof: John Jr. is supposed to be out in the field plowing, but you'll notice that there's no plow. He's behind a horse, just dragging his feet.
Mary becomes engaged to John Jr. at 13 and has Charles' permission to marry at the age of 15. Charles is considerably stricter with Laura, and when Almanzo proposes to her at the age of 16 in Season 6, Charles initially insists that she wait until she's 18.
The quilt on John Jr.'s bed is the same one that the Rev. Alden uses at the Hodgekiss' house in the previous episode, "The Collection."
Mr. Edwards: What's the matter, Mary?
Mary: You know what's wrong, Mr. Edwards, just as well as I do. What we're doing here is wrong. What we decided back in the beginning was wrong!
Mr. Edwards: Wrong? There's nothing wrong about it. Look at him down there. He'll have that field busted by sundown tomorrow. You've got yourself a good farmer down there, and he's doing it all for you.
Mary: That's what's wrong about it! He's doing it for me, and for you, not for himself! He isn't a farmer. He wasn't born to be a farmer. He was born for this. He was born for books, and words, and the music he can make with them, and we're taking that away from him!
Mr. Edwards: When you marry a girl, you don't want to--
Mary: It's true! You know it's true! We can't hold him like a meadow lark in a cage! He'll stay if we ask him to, with the life gone out of him, and the music. I want him, more than you do, maybe, but not that way. I don't think you do, either. Do you?
Caroline: That's what happens when you fall in love and get married. You start a new life and leave the old one behind. Mary: Is that what happened to you? Caroline: Sure. It happens to everybody.
Mary: What kind of a world did you leave behind?
Caroline: I can't remember. Oh, if I think back to the time before I met and married your Pa...it's like I don't even know that girl. The things she wanted to do, the places she wanted to go, the person she wanted to be. Things change so. You get married, and you have one another to look out for. A house to build, crops to grow. Children to raise, feed, and clothe. Bills to pay. Mary: And that'll happen to us, too.
Caroline: But you'll be glad, for all of it. You leave one world behind, and you go on to the new. And you forget the dreams you had before.
Mary: Will John forget about his poetry?
Caroline: Well, your Pa still plays his fiddle, doesn't he?
Mary: How long will you be away?
John: Four years.
Mary: Four years?
John: I talked to him for not even five minutes, and it changed my whole life. Four years at the university, everything paid. I don't even know what a university looks like.
Mary: Wonderful, I expect.
John: It's a great opportunity.
Mary: You'll be gone a long time.
John: But I'll be back in the summer for two weeks, maybe three, and at Christmas. We'll see each other twice a year.
Mary: Twice a year......
John: Well, it's better than nothing. We'll have so much to talk about.
Mary: You'll be different.
John: No I won't.
Mary: You will too. Living in Chicago, going to the university......that's like living on the moon compared to Walnut Grove.
John: What do you want me to do?
Mary: I want you to go. You can't turn down four years at the university. It'll be different, John, and you'll be different when you come back at Christmas.
John: You really want me to go?
Mary: Of course I do. When it's done, we'll both be glad you did it.
John: I thought about it all last night. I'm gonna stay here and farm with Isaiah. I could spend four years at the university and never become a writer after all. Nobody's promising anything.
Grace: You don't need promises! All you want is an opportunity!
John: I have an opportunity here.
Grace: Are you sure you know what you're doing, what you're giving up?
John: I know.
Grace: You haven't the faintest notion, John! They're offering you the world!
John: My world's right here. I've made my decision.
Charles: What did you say?
Mary: I said we're gonna save our money.
Charles: Well, who's "we?"
Mary: John and I.
Charles: What for?
Mary: A house. A place of our own.
Caroline: (when Charles looks at her for help) Well, why not?
Charles: Well, I don't know why not. I never even thought about it. I mean, she's only thirteen years old!
John: I thought my mind was made up. It seems like it ought to be. Grace: You'll ride the wind one day, John.
John: Will I? And Mary? Grace: Well, she'll be here, waiting for you. If she's fond enough of you, she will be. You're both so young. You've got so much to do.
John: I know. I know. But knowing doesn't make it any easier. What will I be like when I come back? Will I be the same? Grace: No. Neither will she. She's a girl now. She'll be a woman then, and you'll be a man, and you'll see each other with different eyes. John: That's what I'm afraid of. I don't want things to change.
Grace: But they do, John. They do. There's a great big world out there for you, John. Think of it as an enormous house with a million rooms all filled with treasures, and the university will give you the keys.
John: What about Mary? Grace: She's a very bright girl. No telling what she might do if she sets her mind to it.
John: But if I go away, I'll lose her.
Grace: Maybe. John: Things won't be the same. Grace: Things never are the same.
Charles: All right. In a year and a half, when Mary's 15, she's yours.
John: A year and a half, sir? That's an awful long time.
Charles: You and my daughter are going to be spending the rest of your lives together. That's a long time.
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