In the first scene, Willie is taking gumballs from the mercantile, and when Nels catches him doing it, Willie quickly put at least a dozen in his mouth. Nels then proceeds to grab his son and shake him angrily. Willie could have easily choked to death from this, and yet Nels didn't seem to realize it was completely unsafe to be doing that to a child whose mouth was completely stuffed with gumballs.
This is the second of three episodes that focus on a main male character who starts a relationship with a much younger woman and eventually sees the light. It happened first with Doc Baker in Season 1's Doctor's Lady, and it happens a third time with Mr. Edwards in Season 9's Love.
Harriet: Go on up to your room, Willie.
Harriet: Because I want to be alone with your father.
Willie: What for?
Harriet: You wouldn't understand.
Nels: (jealous about seeing Molly kissing another man) I just thought you'd rather be alone with him.
Molly: Glory be to the shamrocks! Why should I want to be alone with my own dad?
Nels: He's...he's your father?
Molly: It's he himself. Dan Reardon. He comes here regularly.
Nels: Oh. Oh! (laughs)
Nels: (about Molly) About what happened yesterday...I wanted to explain. What happened between me and the girl...I don't want Harriet to know.
Charles: Well, whatever happened is between you and Harriet and the girl.
Nels: Her name is Molly. Molly Reardon. She runs the boarding house. She's really a lovely woman, Charles. She makes me laugh, and we enjoy each other's company. Most importantly, she makes me feel young again. I love Harriet, but...I guess I'm just a little mixed up right now. I need to sort it all out. Can you understand anything I am saying to you?
Charles: I really don't think it's up to me to understand.
Nels: I suppose you're right. How can I expect anyone else to understand when I don't even understand myself?
Nels: I can't marry you, Molly.
Molly: What? Why not?
Nels: Well, for one thing, you already have a father. You don't need another.
Molly: I hardly think of you as my father.
Nels: Perhaps not consciously, but......I don't think your feelings for me are the same as a woman's feelings toward her husband.
Harriet: He's my son too, and more so!
Nels: And how do you figure that?
Harriet: Because I bore him!
Nels: Well, you bore me too! But that doesn't make you my mother!
Mrs. Oleson: What in the world is that?
Mr. Oleson: What do you think it is? It's a hair-piece.
Mrs. Oleson: Oh, a hair-piece![After a pause, Harriet bursts out laughing] Oh Nels! It looks like a dead squirrel!
Mr Oleson: A man has to look his best while he is on the road!
Mrs. Oleson: Well, I say if you want to look your best, then you better bury that thing.
Featured characters: The Oleson family, mainly Nels
The "Irish" soundtrack written for this episode is almost note for note the same as the Irish music composed for Season 1's The Circus Man.
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