Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 15

Little Women

1
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 24, 1977 on NBC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
97 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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As a special school activity, Miss Beadle allows the children to create group skits that they will later perform for their parents. Mary and Laura team up with Nellie and Ginny Clark, a lonely young girl whose widowed mother has been neglecting her daughter's emotional needs. Meanwhile, Willie is having trouble getting the other boys to perform "Tom Sawyer" with him.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • nellie wants lead in the school play

    10
    it starts out where willie,in his mother's hat,as robin hood is holding people up and is asking for money. the ingalls's girls have none,but the brat willie is,he won't let them through to go to school,so laura and willie children and miss beadle see this. of course laura is to blame,by always picking on my poor willie. it was his fault. only thing damaged was best hat. they fight in the schoolhouse,after miss beadle says she doesn't like what she saw. they are both sent to the corner. mary suggests they put on a play. nellie wanted little women.moreless
  • The daughter of a bitter widow yearns to make her mother happy.

    10
    This episode is darling, and I have always wondered why the characters of Jenny, her mother and her beau weren't made permanent. Such are the plotlines in Walnut Grove. Jenny, an adorable blonde classmate of the Ingalls girls, has a bitter, overworked, widowed mother who rarely smiles and certainly has no time for fun. Alternately, a gangly and somewhat awkward, but not unattractive, single man in town has eyes for the widow--and he absolutely adores Jenny. Everyone in town (and TV Land) sees this as a perfect match--except Jenny's mother; try though he might, his every attempt at courtship is swiftly rebuffed. When Jenny is chosen for a part in the school play, her mother refuses to come, using the excuse that she "doesn't have a decent dress". When a wigmaker stops by the mercantile, Jenny sells her locks to him--secretly--in order to obtain money for a dress for her Ma. Without ever removing her bonnet, she presents the new frock to her mother, happily adding, "now you can come to the play!". Her mother angrily accuses her of lying to her about the origin of the dress, claiming that the man from town must have bought it for her to wear. Jenny runs from the house, where she is discovered crying by the roadside by none other than her ma\'s wanna-be beau. When she tells him what happened, he angrily storms to her residence and, in a bold display of male assertiveness, informs her that she WILL wear that dress and that she WILL be ready for HIM to accompany her to the play, pronto. And oh, by the way, he adds, he has no idea how Jenny got that dress. Exactly how is revealed in the climactic moment during the play, when Nellie pulls off Jenny's bonnet, the crowd gasps at her short new-do, and Jenny confesses to all in attendance why she sacrificed her golden tresses. There's not a dry eye in the schoolhouse as the newly softened mother bolts from her seat to embrace her daughter onstage. Naturally, the three happily ride off together afterward. Nellie breaks the tension with a chagrined, "she ruined the play", to which Miss Beadle replies, "be quiet, Nellie!". Beautiful.moreless
  • The wig!

    7.0
    I agree this was a cute episode about the girls putting on a play, "Little Women" but did the show have to make it so obvious "Ginny" had on a wig...it was almost distracting to look at.

    Mr. Landon and others did a great job with so many special effects, but every once in a while, it seems everyone was on vacation. : )
  • Miss Beadle allows the class to put on small plays in groups and rarely have I been so bored.

    3.0
    Miss Beadle decides that the children will learn more about literature and working as a team by putting on short plays for the parents, she doesn't realise what she is getting herself in for. The girls (Nellie, Mary, Laura and a young girl named Ginny) agree to do "Little Women". Naturally, Nellie wants the lead and, of course, Mrs. Oleson who has visited a 'real theatre', decides to write the parts for each of the girls.



    Willie, meanwhile, has some problems getting the boys to work with him on his chosen play, "Tom Sawyer".



    The only shining light for me in this entire banal episode was the young actress who played Ginny because she did a great job of someone battling a bad stutter and a widowed mother who doesn't seem to care much about her. I don't find the rest worth mentioning except to say that I almost fell asleep.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Charlotte Stewart

Charlotte Stewart

Miss Eva Beadle/Mrs. Simms (1974 - 1978)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Warren Vanders

Warren Vanders

Harold Mayfield

Guest Star

Kay Peters

Kay Peters

Della Clark

Guest Star

Roger Bowen

Roger Bowen

Samuel Mason

Guest Star

Bryce Berg

Bryce Berg

Teddy

Recurring Role

Ruth Foster

Ruth Foster

Mrs. Foster

Recurring Role

Alison Arngrim

Alison Arngrim

Nellie Oleson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (12)

    • Actor Roger Bowen, here playing wigmaker Mr. Mason, played Col. Henry Blake in the original M*A*S*H movie. Ironically, in 1996, he died just one day after actor MacLean Stevenson, who had played Colonel Blake on the TV show M*A*S*H.

    • Laura, Mary, Mrs. Oleson, Mr. Mayfield, and just about everyone in this episode refers to the little girl as Ginny, but her mother clearly says Jenny. One has to wonder which pronunciation is correct.

    • The actress who plays Ginny wears a wig throughout the episode, as evidenced by the almost unnatural light blondeness of the wig, as well as the way it hangs awkwardly on the sides.

    • This is one of the first and only times that we see Harriet Oleson really toughen up on Nellie near the end of the episode, when she refuses to be in the play with her ugly curled wig. Harriet even threatens to whip her if she doesn't come out of her room, which is quite shocking coming from her!

    • During the uproarious laughter that occurs after a paint-covered Willie enters the classroom, the viewer can clearly hear Michael Landon laughing much, much louder than everyone else, even though he's in the last row of the classroom. It seems odd that he had a mike on or nearby, as no one in that scene in the back of the room had any dialogue, including Landon.

    • Notice that little Alicia Edwards obviously doesn't participate in any of the plays at all, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Edwards holds her throughout the scene. Miss Beadle never said anything about the activity being optional, and it seems unlikely that not all the children would take part in some way.

    • Laura gets sent to the corner by Miss Beadle for the first and only time in the series. This is the first time someone other than Willie has been told to go in the corner. The next time somebody besides Willie gets the honor, it's Nellie in Season 4's The Inheritance.

    • In this episode, Laura is given the role of Beth March in a school play based on Little Women. Later on in the series--3 years later, to be exact--Beth would become Laura's new nickname, given to her by her husband Almanzo.

    • After Ginny confesses her hair-cutting escapade in the middle of the play and hugs her mother, everyone claps, and Mr. Mayfield has a strange look on his face as he quietly slips out of the room. His behavior doesn't seem to make much sense, because it makes it look like he's angry or turned off. But then he, Ginny, and Ginny's mother happily ride away together in the final scene.

    • When Mary, Laura, Ginny, and Nellie decide to act out Little Women, Nellie says that they'll have just enough people to play Meg, Beth, Jo, and the mother Marmee. Apparently, they are forgetting Amy, the fourth and youngest daughter from the story. If Alicia hadn't left the group when Nellie joined, they would have had a perfect number.

    • One can assume that Ginny chopped her hair off as soon as she started wearing her bonnet all the time. Apparently, her mother never knew about this until Nellie took Ginny's bonnet off in the middle of the play. How did Ginny keep it a secret from her mom all that time? It's doubtful that she got away with wearing it to bed without her mother questioning it.

    • As Mary and Laura are walking home from Nellie's, Laura's complaining that her only lines in the play are "Oh yes. No my. That's it!" But when they get home minutes later and are talking to Ma, Laura says her only lines are two "yeses," one "Maybe," and "Let Meg tell you."

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Charles: (when his daughter is crying) Carrie? What's the matter, honey?
      Carrie: I want to be in the play with Mary and Laura.
      Charles: Aww. Well, you will be, when you get bigger.
      Carrie: Everybody always says that. What if I don't get bigger?

    • Laura: I still don't see why we had to let Nellie in our group.
      Mary: You saw the look on Ginny's face. It meant so much to her, getting to go to Nellie's and all.
      Laura: That's like wanting to go to hell instead of Heaven!
      Mary: Laura Ingalls!
      Laura: Well, like Pa always says, it's gotta be there for somebody!

    • Caroline: Laura?
      Laura: Yes, Ma?
      Caroline: Have you see the mop?
      Laura: The mop?
      Caroline: Yes, the mop.
      Laura: The new mop?
      Caroline: Yes, the new mop.
      Laura: Well, I......
      Charles: Laura?
      Laura: Yes, sir?
      Charles: Would you come to the stairs please, dear?
      Laura: Right now?
      Charles: Right now.
      (Laura comes to the stairs, wearing the mop on her head; Charles and Caroline laugh)
      Charles: Well, I can see you found the mop. Now why do you have it on your head?
      Laura: Well, Nellie gets to wear a wig in the play. I was just seeing how it looks.
      Caroline: Well, you look more like Medusa than you do like Beth.
      Laura: Who's Medusa?
      Charles: Never mind who Medusa is. You just get that thing off your head and back on the handle where it belongs.

    • Charles: You've been calling on the Widow Clark, have you?
      Mr. Mayfield: Not that you'd notice. She's just not interested in me, I guess. I've tried everything.
      Mr. Edwards: You know what you ought to do? What you ought to do is, you gotta let her know how you feel, see? Then you tell her how it's gonna be. I mean, there ain't a woman nowhere that don't appreciate a firm hand! Well, take Grace, for instance. I mean, she'd still be pining her nights away alone if I hadn't spoken up. Yes, sir, I mean, I told her how it was gonna be, I told you what was gonna happen, and I--
      Charles: (looks behind Mr. Edwards) Oh, good morning, Grace! Isaiah was just talking about you. We'll leave you two alone. (he and Mr. Mayfield leave)
      Mr. Edwards: (gulps multiple times, is nervous) Gracie, I...... (turns around, realizes that nobody is there)

    • Harriet: (after volunteering to write the script for Nellie's school play "Little Women") Well, after all, Willie needs a part, so I'll just write something in for him.
      Willie: I'm not gonna be a little woman!
      Harriet: Oh, don't be silly!
      Nels: This is one time that I tend to agree with Willie.

    • Della: I don't see where Ginny is any of your concern.
      Mr. Mayfield: Did you speak with her this morning?
      Della: No. She was gone before I came back from doing the milking.
      Mr. Mayfield: I thought so. Did you know she bought this dress for you?
      Della: Yes, and I know where she got the money too, Mr. Mayfield--
      Mr. Mayfield: Well, you know a heck of a lot more than I do, Mrs. Clark! All I know is that I found a little girl crying this morning on what should be the biggest day of her life, all because her mother can't handle what's self-pitying for her, and what's selfish for her daughter!
      Della: Mr. Mayfield, are you telling me--
      Mr. Mayfield: Yes! If you decide to do what's right, you'll put on this dress while I wait with the wagon, because I, for one, want to see Ginny's play. (leaves)

    • Mary: (after Nellie gets all the lines in the play) At least now you won't have to memorize many lines.
      Laura: I already know them. "Oh yes," "No my," "That's it!"
      Mary: See what I mean? You know them already.
      Laura: I think I'll add one more line.
      Mary: What?
      Laura: "Shut up, Nellie!"

    • Nels: You know, Willie, you can't buy friends.
      Willie: I wasn't going to buy them, I was just trying to rent them for a while!

  • NOTES (7)

    • This is one of the only episodes of the series where Alison Arngrim's real hair is shown.

    • When Willie gets paint dumped on him, he rushes over to talk to his parents, and white paint splatters all over the desk top. Yet in the very next shot of the desk, which only occurs a few seconds later, there's no paint anywhere.

    • It seems odd that Grace Edwards does not attend the play, since her son Carl is in the opening skit.

    • Nitpick: All the schoolchildren broke up into groups of 3 or 4 to perform skits for the school play. Yet, after just one skit (the pivotal "Little Women"), Miss Beadle announces, "the play is over". Granted, a very touching moment has just occurred between Ginny and her mother, but would Miss Beadle really call off the rest of the skits, when all the other parents were waiting to see their children perform? The viewer can't assume that she only meant the Little Women skit was over, because several parents are seen standing up and leaving.

    • Warren Vanders (Mr. Mayfield) previously appeared in five episodes of Bonanza with Michael Landon.

    • In this episode, Mr. Edwards refers to his wife Grace as "Gracie" for the first and only time in the series. He says it when Charles tricks him into thinking that Grace is right behind him.

    • Actress Rachel Longaker, here portraying Ginny Clark, went on to play Aimee Godsey, the daughter of Ike and Cora Beth Godsey, in many episodes of The Waltons. She was also a regular fixture in ABC's After School Specials.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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