Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 7

Journey In The Spring (1)

1
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 15, 1976 on NBC
8.1
out of 10
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54 votes
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Episode Summary

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Journey In The Spring (1)
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In the wake of his mother's death, a devastated Charles travels home with the intention of bringing his father back to Walnut Grove. This will not be an easy task, however, seeing as Lansford Ingalls would rather commit suicide than continue his life with anyone. Meanwhile, with Thanksgiving approaching, Mary and Laura aren't quite sure how to tell Carrie the truth about the turkey they just purchased.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A very moving episode which showcased Michael Landon's superb acting ability to perfection as Charles Ingalls must come to terms with the death of his beloved mother.

    9.0
    When Charles receives a letter from his father, Lansford, telling him that his beloved mother, Laura Colby Ingalls, has passed away in Wisconsin, Charles sets off to see his father, Lansford, as soon as he is able.



    After several years, Charles is unimpressed by the thoughts and feelings of his brother, Peter, and his wife, Eliza, who is Caroline's sister. They tell him he has had a wasted trip as all the old man wishes to do is die and be with his wife. Eliza, however, is far warmer and understanding than her husband.



    Visiting his father for the first time in almost five years, Charles mourns deeply for his mother and must cope with his father's attempted suicide at the same time. Finally, he encourages the older man to return to Walnut Grove with him, at least for a visit.



    Stunning work by Michael Landon, who was always one of the most capable actors on television when it came to showing depth of feeling.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)

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Young Charles Ingalls

Guest Star

Arthur Hill

Arthur Hill

Lansford Ingalls

Guest Star

Jan Sterling

Jan Sterling

Laura Colby Ingalls

Guest Star

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Isaiah Edwards (guest star prior to season 2)

Recurring Role

Brian Part

Brian Part

Carl Edwards

Recurring Role

Kyle Richards

Kyle Richards

Allicia

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • In this episode young Charles says he has two sisters, but in Season 4's I Remember, I Remember, he only had one, Polly.

    • This episode brings up painful issues about Charles Ingalls' strained relationship with his father. In real life, Michael Landon (Charles) also had a rough time with his dad, who was abusive and fought frequently with Landon's mother. The two parents actually often used their son as a go-between, saying things like "Tell your father dinner's ready" and "Tell your mother I'm not hungry." This sad childhood prompted young Landon to often go into his backyard and play make-believe, imagining himself as different people in different situations. This paved the way for his talent as an actor, director, screenwriter, and general storyteller.

    • Nitpick: Charles' brother Peter has a daughter and son in this episode, Amelia and James. The real Peter and Eliza Ann Ingalls had six children, named Alice, Ella, Peter, Lansford, Edith and Edmond. You'd think that if Michael Landon was going to portray the couple on the show as having only two children, he would have at least refrained from making up two completely random names.

    • As emotional as the house fire/suicide attempt scene is, it is also a bit humorous. First, Charles smashes a window to get inside and jumps in without cutting himself at all. Then he runs right through a huge wall of fire to his father's bed, drags Lansford and himself back through the fire, and makes it out the door without any injuries for either of them. In reality, any human being's skin would be burned and cut from all that.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Lansford: (watching the kids dance) I don't know where they get the energy. Look at that Laura! She reminds me so much of Mama. When she went to dancing, there wasn't a partner who could keep up with her.
      Caroline: I remember.
      Lansford: Oh, Laura.
      Caroline: You certainly picked the right name for her.
      Lansford: I did pick it, didn't I?
      Caroline: You insisted on it. You said "Any babe who can move her feet that fast had to be named after Grandma!"
      Lansford: Well, you gotta admit, I was right.
      Caroline: You were right. I wish Grandma could have seen her one more time.

    • Lansford: (after Charles pulls him from his burning house) Why didn't you let me die? Why?
      Charles: Not this way, Papa. Not this way. You've done enough to Mama already. Pa.....we're going home. We're going home.

    • Lansford: Go home. Let me die in peace.
      Charles: (getting angry) Oh, that's right, just talk about dying!
      Lansford: It's what I want.
      Charles: It's always been what you want! Whenever things didn't turn out just right, you saw to it that everyone else was just as miserable as you were!
      Lansford: You watch the way you talk to your father!
      Charles: Why, Pa? Am I telling a lie? You know, you once told me that a man could say anything he wanted, as long as he was speaking the truth. Well, that's what I'm doing now. You're staying here and mourning, talking about dying!
      Lansford: I want to be with her.
      Charles: You're with her now! If you had some of that faith you were always talking about, you'd know that.
      Lansford: God forgive you for saying that!
      Charles: No, no. God forgive you for wasting the life He gave you, feeling sorry for yourself! (Lansford slaps him; long silence) You know, all Ma ever cared about was you being happy. I pray to God she can't see you now!

    • Charles: I think I better get on over to see Pa. I'll stop in and say good-bye on my way home.
      Peter: Don't go and see him, little brother. It won't do no good. Just go on home. Remember him the way he was when we were little.
      Charles: That's all I do remember, Peter. That's why I've got to go see him.

    • Peter: (to Charles about their father) Oh, what in God's name do you expect me to do??
      Eliza: Peter--
      Peter: No! Who does he think he is, coming back here and accusing me of not treating Pa right? It's well and good for him, living halfway across the world, away from all of us!
      Charles: I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm just trying to figure out what's best for Pa.
      Peter: And I'm trying to figure out what's best for me and my family! I'm not going to have him around here with his talk about failing, about being useless! He did that to Ma for years, right up until the day she died! Well, he's not going to do it to me, or to my family.

    • Peter: Well, I expect we better talk about Pa now. I appreciate you not saying anything until the children were through. I don't like to talk about it in front of them.
      Charles: Go on.
      Peter: Well, you, uh, you haven't seen him for what? Four years?
      Charles: Almost five.
      Peter: Well, if you thought he was bad when he lost the farm, wait til you see him now. He just don't do nothing except talk about failing and dying....mostly dying.
      Charles: It's only been a month since Ma died. It takes some time. I'm not so sure it's good for him to be alone so much.
      Peter: It's what he wants. It's his choice.
      Charles: Well, maybe we shouldn't let him make that decision.

    • Carrie:Ma?
      Caroline: Yes, dear?
      Carrie: Pa cried.
      Caroline: I know.
      Carrie: Because his Ma went away?
      Caroline: That's right.
      Carrie: Where did she go?
      Caroline: She went to Heaven.
      Carrie: It's good up in Heaven. Jesus is there.
      Caroline: Yes. It's beautiful there.
      Carrie: Why did Pa cry?
      Caroline: Well.....it's like when your brother died. Your Pa and I cried.
      Carrie: I cried, too.
      Caroline: I know. But we cried because we missed him....because we wanted him to be with us. Do you understand?
      Carrie: A little bit.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Mark Lenard is best known as Sarek, Mr Spock's father on Star Trek.

    • Featured characters: The Ingalls family, mainly Charles

    • This episode marks the first significant scene between little Carrie and her mother, as they talk about death and why Charles is so sad about his mother passing away. They also briefly discuss Charles Jr's death from Season 1.

    • It's interesting to note that Arthur Hill, the actor playing Charles' father in this episode, was in reality only 13 1/2 years older than Michael Landon. A well-known character actor, the Canadian-born Hill had small roles in numerous TV dramas of the 1960's and 70's. He also appeared in the movie "The Andromeda Strain," along with Richard Bull (Nels Olsen). Hill died of Alzheimer's disease in October 2006.

    • This episode marks the first appearance of Hersha Parady as Charles' sister-in-law Eliza Ann. She returned to the show for Seasons 4-6 as a regular member, Alice Garvey.

    • This episode marks Matthew Laborteaux's first appearance on the show. He makes his first of two appearances as young Charles Ingalls, before becoming a regular as Albert.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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