Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 14


Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 17, 1977 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
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  • no itch poison ivy?

    I liked this episode, showed a side of Mr. Edwards you didn't always see, but after a show where they all got this itchy poison ivy...Laura never itched once or didn't recognize it after being in the woods so much?

    I love this show but this once stretched the imagination a bit. : )
  • After delivering Doc Baker to a town infected with Mountain Fever. Edwards has already had it and so, is immune, but he is a carrier and brings it back with him to Walnut Grove.

    Doc Baker is desperately needed in a town which has an outbreak of Mountain Fever. Having already had the disease and therefore, having natural immunity, Edwards is happy to take him, forgetting that his own immunity from infection does not stop him being a carrier. When his own adopted daughter, Alicia, catches it, Edwards takes her to a cabin to nurse her so that the other members of the family are not infected.

    Alicia is very ill, but things become worse when a kindly gesture from Laura puts her directly in the path of the deadly disease. Very soon, she too is infected and must care for Alicia as Edwards is exhausted and just about collapsing on his feet.

    When Doc Baker is summoned, he tells a relieved Ingalls family that Laura has Poison Ivy and not Mountain Fever at all. When Alicia recovers after a long battle, all is right with the world.

    A terrific and very sad episode, with some excellent acting by Victor French as he plays a father trying not to relive a nightmare.

    Wonderful television.
  • A tough time to live in...

    Watching Little House (both when I was a kid and now), I realize what a difficult time it was to live in. Crops ruined in the blink of an eye, disease with little or no way of fighting it. This episode involves "the fever," a disease that kills 50% of those that contract it. The entire town gets quarantined, no one is allowed to leave their home so no one (outside of the Edwards) is aware Edwards' adopted daughter awoke with the illness. He takes her to his old cabin to treat her. Although Grace has already been exposed, Edwards' points out she may or may not have contracted it so he needed to get Alicia away in case she hasn't. He warns her not to let anyone near the farm just in case.

    Unaware the fever has hit Walnut Grove, and the tiny Ingalls' cabin being overwhelmed with fever of another sort - cabin fever - Charles suggests the kids go play with the Edwards' children, so the womenfolk head that direction. Grace runs out to stop them, letting them know about Alicia. Back home, Charles still believes it's safe for the children to pick raspberries. Laura decides to take some to Alicia, and just leave them on the porch. However,Edwards' had gone for water and Laura hears her crying and enters. Edwards returns and sends her packing. Oddly he doesn't take into consideration if Laura contracted the disease, she would be exposing her entire family. During the night, Laura awakens with a rash, so she leaves a note and heads to the Edwards cabin to recuperate (or die). It becomes obvious early on Laura isn't getting sick other than the rash, so it might have been more effective if she appeared to not feel good, even if it was in her head or too much pie! It just seems obvious early on it's poison ivy.

    After much effort to retrieve Doc Baker, Alicia recovers, the Doc diagnoses Laura's poison ivy, and everyone is hugging and happy. I was concerned that although Laura did just have poison ivy, she had been exposed to Alicia all that time, so should everyone have been hugging her? It was never made clear how the fever was contracted, how long you were contagious, etc. which did add some confusion to things. Other than those inconsistencies, the main part of the story was seeing Edwards anguish over losing his previous wife and daughter and now potentially losing his family again.
  • Mr. Edwards delivers Doc Baker to a town with Mountain Fever--and brings the germ back to Walnut Grove with him.

    Mountain Fever is killing the residents of a town near Walnut Grove. Doc Baker is summoned to help, and Mr. Edwards volunteers to take him there, since he\'s \"already had the fever and can\'t get it again\". While there, he accepts a swig of whiskey from a man who, unbeknownst to him, already has the highly contagious fever. He is now a \"carrier\", and before you know it, Alicia becomes ill. A panicked Mr. Edwards, whose first wife and child died of the same fever, whisks Alicia away to his old cabin to care for her round-the-clock. Laura, in the meantime, decides that Alicia would probably appreciate some fresh-picked berries. She enters the cabin and when Mr. Edwards catches her, he orders her to run home immediately (why he would allow Laura to expose her family to the disease I can\'t figure). That night, Laura wakes up with spots. Leaving her family a note about the situation, she sneaks off to Mr. Edwards\' cabin to recuperate. While covered with the rash, she never gets the fever, and when Mr. Edwards collapses from exhaustion, Laura finds herself caring for him and Alicia both. A distraught Charles races to the nearby town and retrieves the doctor. Days later, Alicia is well, Doc Baker visits, and everyone is elated to dicsover that all Laura had was a severe case of poison ivy.

    It\'s hard to watch Mr. Edwards torment himself over Alicia\'s illness. He blames himself for his first wife and daughter\'s death, and Victor French does an excellent job conveying the emotion that a man is his position might feel. Despite some loose ends in the script (why does Laura never get sick, for example, after being so exposed to the disease in the cabin?), it\'s one of the best of many episodes in the series dealing with illness and death.