Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 16

The Angry Heart

1
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Dec 17, 1979 on NBC
6.5
out of 10
User Rating
49 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The Angry Heart
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A boy abused by his alcoholic father is now an angry teenager. Arriving in Walnut Grove, his grandparents find they can no longer handle him, and invoke Charles' help.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Alas, a situation we see far too often in the real world and quite frequently on "Little House on the Prairie" as well.

    5.0
    When a young boy who has known nothing but violence and fear from his alcoholic father begins to show signs of turning out the same way, his poor mother feels that she simply cannot cope with a repeat of everything she had endured in the past. In order to make things better, she sends her son off to his elderly grandparents in Walnut Grove where she hopes he will change his ways and learn to deal with his anger and unhappiness.



    Naturally, this proves to be a very difficult task and the boy causes as much trouble as he possibly can and makes himself very unpopular with everyone until Charles decides to take him in hand and help him turn his life around.



    This is the part that I find annoying. Even though I love this show very much, Charles and Caroline are either always helping wayward or orphaned children or adopting them into their family. Now, I must state there is nothing wrong with adopting children at all and absolutely nothing wrong with helping them in times of trouble but everybody seems to do it constantly - the Ingalls, the Edwards, even the Oleson's do it later on. I know that in real life, Michael Landon adopted some children of his own and I greatly admire that, but can we have some episodes where Charles occasionally gets it wrong and finds a child that he simply can't assist? It would be much more realistic if that were the case. I had no problem with the episode or with its premise, just the inevitability that Charles was going to make everything ok, and real life just doesn't work out that way all the time. It would be wonderful if it did.moreless
  • A child of an abusive alcoholic grows up to take after his wayward father. When his mother has had enough, she sends him (now a young man) to his grandparents in Walnut Grove, where he wreaks havoc on everyone he meets.moreless

    8.0
    This is not a new plot for "LHOTP." We see, over and over, the idea of the bully/angry person causing trouble in sleepy Walnut Grove and the mobilization of townspeople (or just Charles kicking butt!). What I like about this episode is the connection between childhood abuse and acting out in adolescence/adulthood. I also enjoyed the "villian" (young man) because they really created a true jerkoff of a character. Even though I had a bit of sympathy for him (because of what had been done to him), I was just waiting for the confrontation between Charles and him. And the ending, while expected, was still satisfying and touching.moreless
  • A teenage boy brings plenty of emotional baggage with him when he's sent to live with his grandparents, neighbors of the Ingalls family.

    6.8
    An angry alcoholic abuses his wife and son. He is killed, and after some years pass the teenaged young man is sent to live with his elderly grandparents, the Dortmunders. They happen to be neighbors of the Ingalls family. The angry young man, Tod, does as he pleases, mouths off to his grandma and even slaps his grandfather around. But when he steals Charles Ingalls' watch, he's gone too far. After stealing his grandfather's buckboard to go to Mankato, Charles catches up with him, only to discover that Tod has lost the heirloom timepiece in a poker game. It costs Charles $10 to get it back, and he offers Tod an ultimatum: work off the money on my farm, or go to jail. The young punk chooses jail, at least for one night. When Charles comes back the next day, Tod decides that plowing and planting might not be so bad. Once the debt is worked off, Charles thanks Tod with the gift of a blue dress shirt, exactly like the one Tod's father had torn from him the night of his murder. Tod goes into a rage, destroys the shirt, and flees. Charles tracks him down, and as he bear-hugs Tod, the young man has a good cry, all the while crying out about his love for his father. It's pretty emotional...



    This is a good episode, but it's nothing special. The central characters are people we've never seen before (and never see again, by the way), so it's hard to feel an attachment to what's going on. Michael Landon does put in an excellent performance here.moreless
Dean Butler

Dean Butler

Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)

Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Lucy Lee Flippin

Lucy Lee Flippin

Eliza Jane Wilder (1979 -1980)

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Susan French

Susan French

Virginia Davenport

Guest Star

Malcolm Atterbury

Malcolm Atterbury

Brewster Davenport

Guest Star

Richard Donat

Richard Donat

Joe Dortmunder

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The actress who plays Virginia Davenport also plays Lou's mother in the episode Little Lou.

    • In this episode, Charles drives from Walnut Grove to Mankato and back in the same day, two days in a row. This would seem impossible since in reality, the two towns are 74 miles apart. Also, in at least one earlier episode, Charles states that the round trip to Mankato takes about three days.

    • Goof: After Charles has gone to the Davenports' house, and the rest of the Ingalls have gone to church, we see them enter, but where is Grace? The youngest can't have been left at home. She isn't seen in the wagon, either. The Ingalls usually took her with them to church, so this is strange.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Some viewers who are aware of Michael Landon's traumatic childhood must wonder how he felt while his character was advising Todd that his bad relationship with his parents "happened a long time ago," adding that he needs to "move on." Landon's poor relationship with his own parents--especially his emotionally abusive mother--was something he never hid, therefore suggesting that he hadn't fully moved past it.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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