Little House on the Prairie

Season 7 Episode 1

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1)

17
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Sep 22, 1980 on NBC
9.7
out of 10
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154 votes
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Laura Ingalls Wilder (1)
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Upon being sold a piece of land, Almanzo is eager to begin building a home for him Laura. He hires his friend Harv Miller to assist him with his crop. Meanwhile, Laura is offered a teaching job at a faraway school.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Laura and Almanzo's impending wedding is threatened by the loss of Almanzo's crop as well as their opposing views of equality in marriage. Meanwhile Eliza Jane has a drama of her own unfolding............moreless

    10
    This is possibly one of the most beautifully written episodes of the entire series. While it does deal with the relationship of Laura and Almanzo and the obstacles they face as they prepare for marriage, it is also very much about the lonliness and pain of Eliza Jane's life and of the profound love she has for her brother.

    When I was younger, this episode to me was all about the wedding of Laura and Almanzo; let's get to it already! But as I have grown older, I have come to appreciate the story of Eliza and Harve and of Eliza's sacrifice.

    Lucy Lee Flippin has never been better than she is here. The emotions of the lonely awkward schoolmarm who "has never had a beau" are plain on her face and in her voice. As she begins to fall for Harve we see an emerging flower beginning to blossom. And finally, when she is in love but rejected, we see a defiant and angry Eliza that we have never seen before. Almanzo is struck into silence when she tells him he can mend his own shirts. And though we, the viewers, are privy to her pain, she manages to put up a front for all around her. In the scene when she decides that she will make sacrifices in her life in order to ensure her brother's happiness, we hear only her voice, but we can feel every ounce of pain and love.

    Almanzo and Laura will marry. We know that because it is historical fact, but we are kept rapt to find out what will become of Eliza. When Charles and Hester Sue encounter Harve in Sleepy Eye, we hold our breath. But, to be sure, Charles is discreet.

    The scene in the kitchen, when he confronts her with his knowledge, is riviting. When he tells her that he saw Harve, we cannot even see her face, but her reaction is evident in her body language. Her explanation, her lovely speech about why she is doing this and how it will play out it heart-wrenching.

    At the end of the wedding, Eliza is seen staying at the back of the room for a few moments before finally coming forward to embrace her brother. She loved him enough to change her life for him and as she embraces him we feel it. As she "reads" the lines from her diary that close the episode, "my brother was married today; I don't think I've ever been happier. Really I don't" (forgive me if I got that a little wrong), you can hear both the love and the pain in her voice. Truely a tour du force performance.

    I recently read that Michael Landon wrote this episode as a farewell to Lucy, as she was leaving "Little House" for another show. I don't know if this is true or not, but if it is she must have been very grateful. It is a gorgeous piece of writing that allowed a very talented woman to shine in an episode when she might have otherwise been overlooked due to the drama and romance of Laura and Almanzo's wedding.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer

Matt Gray

Guest Star

James Cromwell

James Cromwell

Harve Miller

Guest Star

Dean Butler

Dean Butler

Almanzo Wilder

Recurring Role

Lucy Lee Flippin

Lucy Lee Flippin

Eliza Jane Wilder

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (6)

    • While talking to Laura about "giving up certain dreams" when you get married, Caroline mentions that there were things she wanted to do--such as continue teaching--but she couldn't, because she had her newfound married life to focus on. This doesn't match up with what she told Mary in Season 3's I'll Ride the Wind, when she claimed that she doesn't even remember the girl she was or the dreams she had before meeting Charles.

    • Even considering the fact that men are sometimes slower to notice the same things about relationships that women do, I find it very hard to believe that at the very least, Almanzo never caught on about his sister having feelings for Harv. The hints were very obvious, such as Eliza Jane taking her glasses off, insisting on walking Harv to his wagon alone, and even walking arm-in-arm with him after Church. Furthermore, Eliza Jane did confide in Laura about it all, and it's surprising that it never came up in conversation between Laura and Almanzo. It's not like Eliza Jane asked Laura not to tell anyone about it, so why would Laura never mention it again?

    • In the scene right after Harriet faints in Church, we see the congregation leaving, and Eliza Jane is walking arm-in-arm with Harv. Given the way the small town of Walnut Grove typically is, it's strange that nobody noticed this and thought it was odd that Eliza Jane suddenly had a beau. At the very least, you'd think that gossipmonger Harriet Oleson would have spread that information around as quickly as possible.

    • In last season's finale episode, Charles made the final decision to make Laura wait one year before marrying Almanzo. However, in this Season 7 opening episode--which is only a few months later--they get married, and there is absolutely no evidence that Charles has permitted them to speed up the wedding plans. We are supposed to believe that a more significant amount of time has passed for the characters since Season 6's finale, but are we supposed to believe that a full YEAR has passed? That's not very likely.
      Reply: Actually, we are supposed to believe that six months have passed. If you recall, when she is talking with Caroline early in the episode she says that she can't believe that in 6 months, she is going to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura and Almanzo just make it sound like it's sooner.

    • This season marks Laura's decision to ditch her braids for good and wear her hair in a bun. It is also the first time little Carrie begins wearing braids. She always used to wear it down, like Mary, but now that Laura has grown up and gotten rid of her braids, it appears that Carrie is stepping up as the Ingalls family's little schoolgirl.

    • nitpick: When Laura throws her teaching job offer over the side of the wagon after Almanzo's cool appreciation over it. A bit dramatic to throw it over the side. But this can be considered nitpicking.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Laura: I can't believe it. In six months, I'm going to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.
      Caroline: You told me a long time ago that you knew you would be.

    • Caroline: You know, when your Pa and I were first married, it was a very difficult time for me. I'd been teaching, and I felt I was doing my students some good, and myself some good. I missed that after I was married. I loved your Pa, but……I wasn't always happy, and when you're first married, well, you expect to be happy all the time. I still wanted to teach, but I couldn't, and with your Pa, there just wasn't a school close enough……and I doubt he would have let me, anyway. It's one of the first things that's hard to get used to when you're first married. Your life just isn't totally your own anymore. You can't do everything you want to, and it's not just the women folk. I'm sure there are things your Pa would have loved to do. Places he wanted to go, places I knew he wanted to see. But neither one of us would change a thing, because if we did, there wouldn't be a Mary, and a Laura, and a Carrie, and Grace, and an Albert. I know how you're feeling, believe me. But don't worry, you'll be a teacher.
      Laura: How?
      Caroline: Oh, Laura, a mother is all things! A cook, a dressmaker, a disciplinarian, a nurse, but above all, a teacher. And I know that when your children are ready to graduate from your family, they'll be as ready to face the world as you are. I know they will.

    • Nellie: (when she's not feeling well) I wish I knew what it was.
      Harriet: Yeah, well, I'll tell you what I think it is. I think it's all that strange food you cook for your husband!
      Nellie: But he likes it, and it doesn't make him sick.
      Harriet: Well, of course he likes it. He's used to it. He's Jewish! A person can get used to anything. Look at the cannibals. They eat each other, and they think it's just dandy!
      Nellie: Mother, I hardly think it's the same thing!

    • Almanzo: (after Harriet Oleson faints in Church) It sure took Doc Baker a long time to revive Mrs. Oleson.
      Charles: That woman faints more than any ten women I know!
      Almanzo: Nels sure took it calm.
      Charles: He's used to it. He probably likes it. When she's unconscious, she can't talk!

    • Eliza Jane: (about not being able to share her feelings with Harv) I'm at my wit's end. Can you help me?
      Laura: Well, I'll try, but you should know more about this stuff than I do.
      Eliza Jane: Because I'm older?
      Laura: Well, yes. I mean, I just figured that--
      Eliza Jane: No. Wrong. Very wrong.
      Laura: Well, how did you do it with your other beaus?
      Eliza Jane: (pauses) I've never had a beau. I've never been close to having a beau. I've never really been in love before. I've never kissed anyone. I've never even danced with anyone, except your brother Albert.

    • Almanzo: Its perfect! (runs up hill) Its even better up here!
      Laura: (still in wagon, confused) Almanzo Wilder, what are you talking about?
      Almanzo: The land. I bought it today. All of it. Its our home, Beth!
      Laura: Our home? Our home! Oh, Manly, our home!

    • Almanzo: I'm gonna go check on the crops. Wanna come, Beth?
      Laura: On Sunday?
      Almanzo: Well, the Good Lord hasn't been giving me much rain, so I think he'll understand.
      Laura: I need to get the meal ready, but you go ahead.
      Almanzo: All right. (kisses Laura and goes off)
      Laura: Don't forget, supper's in two hours, so don't be late!
      Almanzo: (to Charles) See what I mean, sir? We're not even married yet, and she's already giving me orders!

    • Charles: I'd like to apologize for the actions of my future son-in-law. You can understand why it made him angry.
      Mr. Gray: But it's business.
      Charles: I know, but he doesn't understand that. He's just a boy, he's ornery and hot-headed. Hey, you know who he reminds me of? His future father-in-law! (Charles punches Mr. Gray) And you know when he'll sell you that land for $100? When hell freezes over!

    • Harv: (trying to break the ice with Eliza Jane) Well, I guess we could just sit here and listen to the grass grow.
      Eliza Jane: And then later, we can listen to the sun set.
      (awkward giggles from both)
      Harv: Or maybe even the stars twinkle. (more giggles) Well, we're talking. It may be kind of silly, but we're talking.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Lucy Lee Flippin (Eliza Jane) credits this 2-part episode as her favorite. She was cast in a sitcom called Flo right around this time, and her agent felt it was a better money-making opportunity, so Flippin could not continue on Little House. Flippin says that Michael Landon--after giving her permission to leave the show--wrote this 2-parter (which featured Eliza Jane in a very prominent role) as a "good-bye present" for her.

    • You may note also how Albert, not only has shorter hair, but has grown taller and has a deeper voice.

    • This story is set several months after the end of the last season and here, we see Laura so much more grown up. She makes a mention of her impending wedding in 6 months time (letting us know that several months have passed).

    • Lucy Lee Flippin as Eliza Jane was credited as a special guest star, (as she is a main part of the story). This story is actually told in part through the words of Eliza Jane Wilder and her diary.

    • Dean Butler as Almanzo Wilder was credited a guest, (as he is a main part of the story).

    • Steve Tracy as Percival Dalton is credited in the main towns credits for the first time.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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