Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 20

Silent Promises

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 28, 1980 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Either this episode covered a very long period of time, or Laura managed to teach sign language to Daniel extremely quickly. While it's natural for people to learn basic conversational signs, like "Hello," "How are you?" and "How much does that cost?" relatively fast, it can take several years to talk back and forth in the magnitude that the characters did here.

  • Quotes

    • Laura: I don't know what to do, Pa. I mean, if you love someone, really love them, and you just knew that person didn't feel the same way about you.....well, what I mean is, if you couldn't have the person you love, wouldn't it be good to make someone else happy, be with them, and help them?
      Charles: Sharing your life with someone is fine, but you've gotta love them. You can't pretend to feel something you don't feel.
      Laura: How can I tell him, Pa? How can I make him understand without hurting him?
      Charles: Well, I don't think there's any way you can do it without hurting him, but it'll pass.
      Laura: He'll give up his studies. I know he will.
      Charles: If he does, it's his own fault, because he's doing it out of spite.
      Laura: But Pa, he's--
      Charles: He's deaf. That's all the more reason he needs teaching, not your pity. Look, if you want to be a teacher, young lady, you're gonna have to be a lot tougher with your students--and a lot more honest.

    • Laura: (about teaching Daniel sign language) It won't hurt anything, Mr. Page. Please?
      Nathan: It's kind of you to offer, Laura, but you're just a child, and Doc Baker says it takes special training for it.
      Laura: Well, I'm a teacher--or at least I'm gonna be. And I'm willing. You got someone better in mind?
      Nathan: It's a waste of time. It's God's will for my boy to be the way he is.
      Laura: It's my time I'm wasting, and God gave us our own wills! Just give me a chance, please.

    • Nathan: (about his son, who is deaf) I should have never brought him to town. He can't hear, he can't think--
      Doc Baker: Well, now, wait a minute, Nathan! I know he can't hear, but as to his thinking, that's something else.
      Nathan: Oh, come on, Doc! He's like a helpless baby.
      Doc Baker: All babies learn. They just need teaching.

    • Laura: (overvoice) Daniel came back, and he did learn--and so did I. I learned that a student has an obligation to himself that is as great--or greater than--a teacher's obligation to his student.

    • Albert: (in response to Laura's perfume) How come you smell like Ma?
      Laura: None of your business.
      Albert: You're going to see Almaaaaanzo.
      Laura: I'm going to see Miss Wilder!
      Albert: Right.
      Laura: Well, it's true!
      Albert: You don't care how you smell for Miss Wilder. Trust me, I sit next to you in class--I know!
      Laura: That's disgusting!
      Albert: Yeah, it is!
      Laura: And so is your dumb doghouse! (storms off)
      Albert: Why did I ever have to have a girl for a sister?

    • Laura: (about Daniel) He was doing so well.
      Caroline: We're all responsible for our own lives, Laura. You'll see that once you start teaching--you can't get through to all your students. But you can't blame yourself.

    • Laura: Nothing's going right.
      Almanzo: Well, something must be going right. Chained ring.....I haven't seen that before.
      Laura: Its just from a friend.
      Almanzo: Now, you aren't getting serious at your age, are you?
      Laura: So what if I am? I'm not a little girl, you know!
      Almanzo: Look, I know. I'm your friend, remember?
      Laura: Right. A friend.
      Sarah: (comes up) Hey Manny. Ready to go?
      Almanzo: Hi, Sarah. I'd been looking for you. You know Laura Ingalls, right?
      Sarah: Of course. Taking care of him for me?
      Almanzo: She always does. (tugs at her braid) My favorite girl, you know that. Let's go, I'm starved! Cheer up, Beth, things are gonna get better. Goodbye. (Almanzo and Sara walk away)
      Laura: (signs) I love you.

    • Nathan: Daniel, Laura taught me how to tell you "I love you." And I do love you. And I can treat you like any other child now, thanks to her. God sent her to us for, boy. Don't turn your back in spite.
      Daniel: (signs) I love you.
      Nathan: Don't tell me you love me. Show me. Learn.

    • Nathan: Why, Daniel? Why? Answer me.
      Daniel: (signs) Laura lied to me.
      Nathan: Do you know why she lied? (he shakes his head) Well, I know. She lied because you're deaf, and she felt sorry for you, same as I did. I kept you away from folks so they wouldn't hurt you. We both made a mistake, and we both corrected it. Now it's up to you. Ask her to teach you again.
      Daniel: (signs) No.
      Nathan: Yes. I'm not treating you like a deaf child anymore. You're just a child. You have a teacher, and you're gonna learn, same as any child who goes to school.

    • Laura: Mr. Page, what is it going to take to convince you? Don't you want Daniel to understand you?
      Nathan: But he can't understand me! Next, you're going to tell me he can talk.
      Laura: Well, in his own way, he can.

    • (Miss Wilder is giving the school back their test results...)
      Miss Wilder: I'm not saying the results were bad, but if this class ran the government, we'd be in a state of anarchy.
      Willie: Is that near Massachussets?
      Miss Wilder: Willie! The corner!

    • Mr. Oleson: I think its wonderful that he can communicate.
      Mrs. Oleson: Well I say its not natural. Good heavens, if God wanted me to talk with my hands, he wouldn't have given me a mouth.
      Mr. Oleson: Even God can make a mistake.

  • Notes

  • Allusions

    • In this episode, Melissa Gilbert's character Laura takes on the job of teaching a deaf student. A year earlier, she starred opposite Patty Duke in a film version of The Miracle Worker, where Gilbert played deaf and blind child Helen Keller.

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