Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 8

Journey In The Spring (2)

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 22, 1976 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Lansford settles in with the family while he continues to grieve for his lost wife. Meanwhile, Laura misbehaves quite badly a number of times and appears to get away with it, and we see a side to Lansford which doesn't paint hi in a very good light.

    Being with the family in Walnut Grove is clearly good for the elderly Lansford Ingalls and he becomes especially close to Laura, who spends a lot of time with him during his grieving and healing process.

    Things start to become unstuck, however, when Laura's horse, Bunny gets trapped in a barbed wire fence and whilst Grandpa tells her the horse will be fine, Charles knows the beloved pet will have to be destroyed.

    Things go more than a little pear-shaped from here as Grandpa runs away and Laura attempts to follow him. Falling out of the carriage of a freight train, Lansford is mildly injured but refuses to come home until Laura threatens to catch a train to Boston with stolen money. The old man goes back to the farm with her and stays for the winter before heading back to Wisconsin.

    Not a terrible episode, but one which could have been handled much better than it was with regard to scripts and moral outcomes. Having said that, this show is usually right on the money in that department so I'm not going to complain too much.
  • Half Pint and Grandpa both try to outdo one other with blubbering and tears and threats of running away, all at the small expense of the rest of the family.

    This episode just grates me, from nearly the time it begins until the last scene in which Laura sits pouting by the brook instead of spending her last few minutes with her grandpa. Here's the plot: mealy-mouth Gramps has problems telling the truth and keeping his word - the audience witnesses him flip and flop, this elderly man who supposedly raised Charles to be the man he is and still hasn't learned his lesson even after he promised his wife something, didn't keep it, then she croaked. So when Laura accidentally runs her horse into some barbed wire, causing fatal injury to the animal, Grandpa assures her the felled beast will be just fine. Naturally, it is not and instead needs to be shot. When Pa comes running to assess the damage, Laura throws a fit and openly defies his instructions to go home...several times. (This is one of the times we see that quality in Laura that goes beyond spunk and that made me really think of her as a perpetual brat). When she continued to tell Pa "No" and appeal to her grandfather, I really was hoping that just maybe, Pa would put ol' Half Pint out of her misery instead of the horse. The episode goes on and on, with Laura hating Grandpa, Grandpa hating himself, Laura feeling sorry for herself, Grandpa feeling sorry for himself, Laura getting sense talked into her by Mr. Edwards, Grandpa trying to hop a freight train and nearly biting the dust, Laura running off without telling a soul in the world where she's going and stealing the family money as well. Did this noodlehead ever think to tell an adult first, or ask for some basic help? No, that would be too sensible. Finally, Laura finds Grandpa lying on a cot, supposedly all banged up from his futile train-hitching attempt. She manipulates him with threats to buy a ticket to Boston (and do what pray tell?) with her stolen dollars and Gramps overhears it, rushes off his cot to stop her, and suddenly he's healed, he's repentant of being a liar all his life, and the two walk all the back towards Walnut Grove. Pa and Mr. Edwards find them and it's all smiles. Laura doesn't even get in the least bit of trouble for raiding the family money pot and taking off without a word to who-knows-where. In the final scene Half Pint sulks by a stream until Grandpa explains he's gotta vamoose before he bites the dust, and then she's suddenly okay with it. Again, one of my least favorite episodes.
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