Little House on the Prairie

Season 7 Episode 17

Sylvia (1)

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Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 09, 1981 on NBC

Episode Recap

Albert, Willie and a few of their buddies from school are looking through a magazine of ladies undergarments. They opt instead to check out the "real thing" and try to spy on a schoolmate named Sylvia. They head over to Sylvia's home and peer through the windows, hoping she will undress. Sylvia's father comes home and scares everyone off. However, Albert gets caught and is recognized as "the Ingalls boy." Albert later apologizes to the girl, who lives alone with her father, and she and Albert become friends.


Mrs. Olesen learns that Willie has also been caught peeping. She refuses to believe that her son is guilty, and blames Sylvia for distracting the daily lessons. Calling a school board meeting, Mrs. Oleson is found to be in the minority with her concerns that Sylvia is to blame.

An unknown person begins watching Sylvia's every move with lecherous fascination. Even when she and Albert are alone together, this unidentified set of eyes is peering from behind trees and bushes, watching. One day, on her way home, Sylvia stops to admire a flock of birds that have flown out of the tree, when she is suddenly attacked from behind. All that her assailant is wearing is a mask - like a clown's face - and black clothing.


That night, Sylvia comes home, battered and bruised. Mr. Webb finds out what happens and then tells her to keep quiet about the matter. Sylvia is now living in a world of fear - her calloused and domineering father blames her for what has happened, and she must endure the horror of being raped. Meanwhile, her relationship with Albert continues to grow.


Laura keeps Sylvia after school one day after Sylvia collapses in the schoolroom. A visit to Doc Baker reveals that Sylvia is pregnant, and asks if Albert is the father. Albert strongly denies this, and both Laura and Dr. Baker believe him.


That night, Dr. Baker - knowing Mrs. Olesen's talent for gossip - tries to have Mr. Webb come to his office to tell him what's going on. However, Mr. Webb stubbornly refuses to come until Dr. Baker tells him over the phone exactly what's going on. Dr. Baker tells him his daughter is pregnant, while Mrs. Olsen listens in on the call.

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