Little House on the Prairie

Season 4 Episode 8

The Aftermath

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 07, 1977 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • The Aftermath...

    Michael Landon always explored the human nature in life. The fact that Frank and Jesse James end up taking his oldest daughter Mary as hostage when they see the posse come into town, is true even today. When someone in the wrong is afraid of facing possible punishment or death, they are quick to put barriers and lies between themselves and their judgment. With that said I still love every episode of Little House on the Prairie.
  • A little bit of history, combined with a lot of fiction actually makes for an interesting episode as Jesse and Frank James hide out in Walnut Grove following a robbery in a nearby town.

    Miss Beadle wants the class to do an assignment on the causes of the American Civil War. This raises some contentious issues among the citizenry as the war has not been over all that long and feelings are still running very high.

    Meanwhile, Jesse and Frank James, wanted for a plethora of crimes, arrive in town and hide out after a big robbery. They rent a large house and Mary Ingalls ends up running errands for them as they have artful excuses as to why they can't do these things for themselves.

    Some rather disorganised bounty hunters arrive in search of the men and the people of the town are soon aware of who their 'guests' are, but decide not to hand them over to the authorities.

    Meanwhile, Bobby Ford, a student at the school is proving very difficult with regard to the Civil War assignment. Bobby has all kinds of issues with a large number of things, including the rights and wrongs of the war.

    Six years after the setting of this episode Robert (Bobby) Ford, would shoot Jesse James dead.

    An interesting episode, even if accuracy was stretched to the limit! I guess that is what television is all about. Some terrific acting by the guest stars and several of the principals as well. Definitely worth watching on a number of levels.
  • One of the straight westerns that sort of works but its resemblance to a typical "Bonanza" episode makes it a non-sequiter for the series.

    After a famous robbery, Frank and Jesse James hide in Walnut Grove while bounty hunters are in pursuit.

    You can almost see Michael Landon get excited on learning that the James Brothers staged a well-known hold up in Northfield, Minnesota (not particularly close, but not that far from Walnut Grove) and deciding to incorporate a more classic "western" into his series. At the same time, this show was produced at about the same time that the country was re-evaluating history and motivations behind it - sometimes from a rather simplistic 70s perspective. The messages here aren't bad for a more modern time, even Miss Beadle's class assignment on the motivatons behind the Civil War are interesting (if hopelessly innacurate for the time period the series is set in).

    Its just not seamless, and season 4 seems to show the beginnings of a corruption of the show's cohesive quaities ("My Ellen", and "The High Cost of Being Right" are not stories from the 1800s). There is no doubt that Hollywood became successful with westerns, not "midwesterns" but integrating the two doesn't quite work.

    There is no gunplay here, but the idea that a gang of bounty hunters (loosely knit reward hunters not often even licensed in the 19th century) could somehow keep the town hostage in their pursuit of the James's is a little out there, and while its a nice idea to make Frank a kind and intellectual character, it just doesn't wash with history. Actually, I think the idea of outlaws on the run could have worked without the baggage of Jesse James - the sense of reality would have been better and the coincidences not so hard to swallow.