Besides the entertainment value, this episode is notable for some stellar acting on the part of the Sanderson children, as well as Michael Landon reflecting the tremendous strain he is under to do the right thing with the task that he has been given. This episode also featured what became many "staples" of the Little House series: the problem of how to care for orphans became a common story thread.; Laura pitching a fit and running off; this would be the first but not the last undertaking by Mr. Edwards of the care of children not his own.
Some problems of this episode that were not properly addressed: Why would the wealthy Miss Farnsworth not take care of the boys as well? I can understand her desire to have a little girl as a ward, but with all her resources, surely the boys would not be that big of a burden, especially as they were well-behaved and she could have easily sent them to a local boarding school at the very least. She also states at one point that she has no heir. In those days, females had no rights to property anyway, so Alicia's fortune would have been entrusted to her nearest male relatives, which would have been her brothers!
I also have a problem with the way Laura talks to her Pa in the barn when she tells him she is going to give the puppy to Nellie, just like Pa is going to give the orphaned children to people who want them but can't really love them. While I understand that Laura is upset, she is so brutal and flagrantly disrespectful to her father (who stands there and takes it before hanging his head) that it's really hard to watch and you just wish she'd get a much-needed spanking or something before Ma's tender explanation. It might have kept her from similar behavior for seasons to come!