Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 15

Little Women

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 24, 1977 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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