Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 21

May We Make Them Proud

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 04, 1980 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • Mary and Adam's infant son and Alice Garvey die in an inferno at the blind school, accidentally started by Albert and a friend--unbeknownst to anyone else.

    This episode is gut-wrenching and extremely painful to watch, in particular the scene where Alice Garvey attempts to escape the blaze at the blind school through a second-story window by smashing the glass with her arms--all while holding Adam and Mary's screaming baby boy. Honestly, this scene is so realistic I wonder how they managed to film it without anyone getting hurt. It's not for young children, period. Equally painful to watch is the hell Albert Ingalls goes through as he tries to cope with the knowledge that he is responsible for the deaths, and Mary's subsequent mental deterioration. This two-part episode has the usual tidy LHOTP ending: Albert's secret is discovered, Mary comes out of her catatonic state, the townsfolk rally, and the new blind school--named the Kendall-Garvey School, of course--is dedicated. One of the classic series episodes, despite the fact that it's totally inaccurate, historically speaking; Mary Ingalls never even married, and there was no Albert Ingalls. Still, a must-see for true LHOTP fans.
  • great episode

    I don`t really care about the books as this is the show i grew up watching and could care less if it is historically accurate. The story telling is fantastic throughout the whole series and the show would have lost a lot of the character and charm it was known for if it had been rigidly tied to the books this was by far one of the best episodes of the series and a truly fantastic experience to watch.
  • Over the top

    I'm watching this episode again and thinking why oh why did Mr. Landon do this episode this way? I read all the bios out but forgot their take on it except that Mary and Adam couldn't really raise a baby, it didn't make sense, you need to see or have someone that sees to raise a baby especially back then. Killing Mrs. Garvey, even she didn't know in an interview, but I suppose helping to save the baby would seem better than leaving it there.

    I love this show, but certain episodes did go over the top and this was one of them.

    Albert did do a fine job showing guilt and grief and in some ways it was nice to see people really grieve, not in the stoic way, many were shown too in past episodes, but in a painful angry way, that many have to go through.

    As someone said after watching it, "Can we see Christmas at Plum Creek" again and forget this.
  • The official end of the series for me.


    THIS is the episode where I'd finally had enough of the character assassinations and overt dramatic licenses and stopped watching the show. Aside of the obvious (Mary never married, never had a baby, never worked for a blind school, never was a whiny, tragic figure, there was never an Albert, etc.), anyone who knows anything about pipes knows that pipes tend to go out easily; that's why you always see pipe smokers relight them. I had been losing patience with this series (and I'm talking about when it first aired, when I was actually in the show's prime demographic) and this episode was the final straw for me. I've never watched it again, or since.

  • Albert cause fire to the blind school, he was smoking pipe. And cause the death olf Mary's baby and Mrs. Garvey.

    This episode really made me mad. I think it was wrong and unfair to had Mary have a baby which she didn't in real life and she was never married, and kill the baby in the fire. Because of this episode, I'll always hate Albert for causing the fire. He should've gone to jail, for 1. Smoking a pipe underage, 2. created an Arson fire, 3. and the death of 2 people. To me he's a murderer. Accident or not he should've pay for his crime. I like this show, but I don't like this episode. So I give this episode a big thumps down.
  • Mary and Adam are stunned and distraught when their infant son dies in a fire that results when Albert and his friend steal a pipe and hide in the basement of the blind school so they can smoke it.

    I am a lifelong fan (since '74, when I was 7), and this is by far one of the best episodes. MSA's acting is incredibly real, outstanding dramatic depiction of a mother in deep denial and shock over the sudden death of her child.

    I only have one serious nitpick with this episode as a mother. Yes, a number of stupid mistakes lead to the rapid spreading of the fire, but the thing I can't get my brain around is how Mary sits right next to the baby when Adam says they have to get out because of the fire...and she doesn't instinctively grab the baby on her way out. If they had planned to kill the (fictional) baby, there were other ways that would have made more sense (e.g. smoke inhalation). A mother ALWAYS sees to her child's safety before her own. Other than that, the plot is well-written and the show is well-acted.
  • Albert and a friend escape to the basement of the school for the blind to experiment with pipe smoking. Nearly getting caught they hide the still lit pipe. Which later ignites a fatal fire that takes the life of both Mrs Garvey and Adam Jr.

    I have to disagree slightly with a previous review. I found this episode VERY real, daringly real even. I can think of not one but two news stories in recent years where one could argue the parents could have saved their children. One was an explosion where both parents made it out, two children didn't. Another was a fire, the parents made it out the baby didn't. The truth is, in situations like that for many it's hard to think. Much less act for some. I liked that this episode reflected that side as many assume in that situation one could do anything. This is such a haunting episode. Because of this and leaves you wondering honestly to yourself, could you think and act in such a situation? Many parents think they will think and act but find in such a terrible situation they couldn't for whatever reason. Many parents live with their own questions and haunts after such a terrible thing. Which is also reflected on with how Mary deals with the death of her child. I also liked that it was a pipe that a child was experimenting with that caused it as a child experimenting is the cause of many terrible accidents. It could be a learning experience for young people watching. Another piece of what makes this episode so real is showing a grieving widower and how grief can grab and gain such a hold on a person. They lose sight of what is around them and that others are grieving too and still need them. It truly was a touching moment to see Mr Garveys' son resting on his lap with grief on both of their faces. It is one of the harshest emotions you'll feel. This episode also covers that "blood" is not always thicker then "water". That adopted children really are children of their adoptive parents.

    This episode goes over, happiness, shock, grief, forgiveness, love and that life still goes on.
  • Psychiatrists in New York

    I have a huge a problem with this episode because
    Adam stated that he was going to take Mary to New York to see a Psychiatrists. The problem is that Sigmund Freud born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939 born in Austria) didn't get
    his medical degree until 1881 at the age of 25. Furthermore, he didn't come to the United States until 1887. Freud, known as the father of modern psychology wasn't even in this county when this episode took place (late 1870's) From the 1890s until his death in 1939, Sigmund Freud developed a method of psychotherapy known as psychoanalysis which is the foundation of todays psychology.
  • "Painful to watch" really doesn't even begin to cover it, but that'll give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from one of "Little House's" most tragic episodes ever.

    While I cannot say that this episode is one that I will ever really want to watch again, I feel that a good review needs to examine the actual power and emotion of the episode, and this one is, far and away, is one of the strongest and most intensely written shows that you will ever see from "Little House on the Prairie." Audiences have watched single-episode characters lose their lives before, but there is nothing like seeing a recurring character die tragically, and that is exactly what we get here when a shocking fire at the blind school kills not one, but two people--Alice Garvey, and Mary and Adam's infant son. The whole fire takes up less than five minutes, but it will take a lot from you to sit through it, and you will be hard-pressed not to have tears in your eyes by the time Adam tries to crawl back into the school, and Hester Sue holds him back saying, "It's too late! It's too late!" Wow, I literally got chills just writing that. This is a prime example of a moment in television that drastically hits home, and when it's over, you almost feel as emotionally exhausted as the characters you've come to love.

    In the wake of this tragedy, the viewer is then exposed to the aftermath, which finds Jonathan Garvey turning to alcohol and alienating his distraught son as he slowly comes to accept that his beloved wife is not coming back. With her baby gone, Mary goes into shock and lays in bed for days on end, leaving her husband and family at a loss over how to help her. Through all this, the character who carries perhaps the heaviest burden is young Albert Ingalls, who has a devastating link to the fire and cannot bring himself to admit the truth to anyone. Can you imagine holding such a deep-rooted, horrifying secret inside of you for so long? It is beautifully acted by Matthew Laborteaux; you feel every inch of his pain, and it may even make you realize that maybe your own problems aren't so bad after all. Again, the only reason I would ever revisit this episode is if I wanted a glance at some truly dramatic plot material and well-fought acting, but for the most part, there are other "Little House" episodes that suit me better than this one. Still, you have to give Michael Landon credit for being so brave and coming forward with this kind of storyline. There aren't many screenwriters or directors who would do that, and while Landon headed some of the most inspiring shows on television, he was no stranger to depicting some of the harsher realities of life, too.

    The biggest gripe I have about this episode is that the fire scene is one of the most insanely disorganized and unrealistic scenes I have ever seen. After all, what mother would leave her child in his crib not once, but TWICE when a huge fire was blazing around them, and what made Alice think that she would have enough time to leave the baby for a minute, help another child down the stairs, and go back for the baby? Some people argue that it's important to remember that Mary and Adam were in a state of panic and "were only human" when they didn't take the baby with them, but personally, I don't buy into that. Between the two of them--a married couple that has wanted a child for a long time--they can't remember to get their baby out of that fire in time? Then we see Mary and Adam sitting on the grass with the blind children--well before they realized that Alice was trapped inside--and they didn't look the slightest bit upset that their infant was not safely with them. In such a situation, I don't know many mothers who would be able to be at any level of peace until their children were safe and sound in THEIR arms. I truly, truly don't. Every time I watch the scene, I can't help but think how avoidable the deaths were, but by the same token, if Alice hadn't had to go back for the baby, she would have never realized that the other little boy was trapped in the bathroom, and he would have almost definitely died. Isn't that just the way life is sometimes? But if Michael Landon really wanted to kill off Alice and the baby, I wish he would have done a little more than just expect the audience to believe that a mother who has miscarried before would leave her one and only living child behind in a vicious fire. I think that even a 10-year-old viewer would be smart enough to question that.

    I guess all you can say is that death--whether it's on TV or in real life--rarely ever makes sense, but if you can feel as strongly for characters and their emotions as I did for everyone involved in this episode, then you know that it's really something. Even if you only watch it once, I'd have to say that this one is definitely worth seeing.
  • Mrs. Garvey and Mary's baby are killed in a fire at the blind school caused by Albert's pipe.

    Its obviously difficult to believe how there wasn't some way Mary got her baby out of that burning school pronto, and to mothers out there (not one myself, I'm only 13!) its probably absolutely horrific to see a mother whose child wasn't her number-one priority during a scenario like that. However, its still a very painful-to-watch yet beautiful episode, with the emotional breakdown Mary goes through. Its creepy to watch her humming that lullaby, and especially scary to see Albert's emotions when he finds out the fire was his fault.

    Still, the episode contains good messages about remembering the people you've lost but continuing your life, and being honest. Also, you'll be advised to get a fire alarm in your house after watching it. I watched this episode for the second time just yesterday, and today when my mom was cooking a huge roast for Easter the smoke alarm went off-- I began freaking out! The image of Mrs. Garvey pounding through the window is something you never forget. What Adam says at the very end is true-- no matter what pain you've suffered, just remember to keep going and make them proud.
  • VerRate this episode on how you feel it stacks up against other episodes from this show. Ratings go from 0-10 with 10 being the highest. Be sure to click "Submit" next to your rating, before you continue with the rest of the review form. y sad episode.

    Very sad episode and hard to watch for many. Some very famous scenes happen. Albert is smoking at blind school, and it burns. Alice and Mary's baby die in a very graphic and sad scene. Albert blames himself and runs away. Mary is on denial and a little crazy at times. Jonathan is mad at God and drinks a lot. Pa and Jonathan go and get Albert back. Jonathan stops blaming God. They have a church service and dedicate the future buliding to Alice and Adam Jr and want to live their lives for them in a way to make them proud. Sad episode.Great acting.
  • Episode that changed the show

    This is the only episode that is painful to watch, although when it is on I catch myself watching everytime. It is about love, grief, true lose and forgivness. It is the stand out episode of the series in my opinion.
    I still have trouble with this episode. I know the Alice character was to be written out, but I never understood why they had her die such a horid death. More so I never understood why they killed Mary and Adam\'s baby in the fire. After both dealing with being blind and overcoming so much, this happens.
    The visual of Alice and the baby in the window is something that stays with you for a long time.
    Almost worse than that is seeing Adam try and go into the burning house and the look for complete shock and hurt on Mary\'s face.
    I always wanted to know WHY Mary did not grab her child first before getting the other children, WHY Adam did not get him and WHY Alice did not pick him up as she walked out of the room.
    Seeing Mary put her arms through the window was painful to watch too.

    Melissa Sue Anderson stands out in this episode, as does the Albert and Jonathan characters.

    Mary and Jonathan deal with their grief with the help of their family in the end.
  • When Albert and his friend smoke a pipe in a basement, it smoulders until it burns down the blind school, resulting in the deaths of both Mary's baby boy and Alice Garvey, who had been on the show from virtually the start. Everyone must deal with

    This was the show's pinnacle. Mrs. Garvey would leave the show. Why didn't Mary pick up the baby when Adam told her there was a fire?

    Why didn't Mrs. Garvey pick up the baby later on?

    Nevertheless, this stand as one of the most chilling moments in tv for me.

    I've only recently seen this two-parter again since it first aired and it was all the same as I remember it; the climactic music sounding when Mary realized the baby was dead.

    Phenomenal performances from 'Hester Sue' and 'Alice Garvey', as well as Linwood Boomer.

    May we make them proud, indeed!