Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 3

The Family Tree

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 01, 1979 on NBC
out of 10
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48 votes

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Episode Summary

The Family Tree

Albert struggles with his identity when Miss Wilder assigns the students a family tree project. To complicate matters, his biological father shows up.

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  • Forgot Mary.

    Albert forgot to say Mary too when he was telling Charles to Laura and Carrie I am there brother Grace too he should have said and Mary.
  • Miss Wilder's class project on the subject of geneology has serious consequences for Albert.

    Miss Wilder assigns a project whereby each member of the class must draw up their family tree. Everyone is excited about this except Albert because he doesn't really have a family of his own. The teasing of the other children only adds to his predicament.

    Discussions in the Ingalls household lead Charles and Caroline to decide to legally adopt Albert but there is a major hurdle when his biological father turns up in the courthouse to claim him.

    From the outset, it is clear that Mr. Quinn, Albert's father, only wants the boy to use him as a farm hand but the law says that Charles has no choice but to hand him over. Albert, however, has learned a thing or two from living alone andby his wits for so long. When he meets his father (alone) all he has to do is pretend to be blind and his father can't sign away his parental rights quick enough!

    A very good episode and one that finally settles Albert's future and makes him a fully-fledged member of the Ingalls family.moreless
  • Albert saves the day! No, really. He does.

    Although I love this show, I must admit that a large part of its charm lies in its surplus of poor acting and corny lines. In this episode, however, Matthew Laborteaux (Albert) does an excellent job of demonstrating his emotions. Albert clearly recognizes that his biological father does not really care about him, and he decides he wants to stay with the Ingalls. Even so, after Albert tricks his father into believing that he is blind, he conveys a sense of his hurt and loss to the audience. It is subtle, yet undeniable, and it adds a dose of reality to a show that is often unintentionally hilarious. Well done!moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Patrick Labyorteaux

Patrick Labyorteaux

Andrew 'Andy' Garvey (1977 - 1981) (as Patrick Laborteaux)

Lucy Lee Flippin

Lucy Lee Flippin

Eliza Jane Wilder (1979 -1980)

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Look closely at the Wilder "family tree" posted on the blackboard by Miss Wilder in the opening scene. The name of her and Almanzo's younger brother is misspelled. It's supposed to be Perley, not Parley.

    • In the flashback scenes, when Albert is portrayed suffering at the hands of his abuser at the orphanage, he looks exactly the same as he does at the present, and much older than he was when the Ingalls first met him and took him back to Walnut Grove. This was unavoidable due to production order, but it's still worth pointing out. They could have at least tried to make Albert look a bit younger.

    • When Albert wakes up yelling from his nightmare, his face is an absolute pool of sweat. However, seconds later, when Charles comes up, Albert is not nearly as sweaty.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Harriet: (laughing to Nels as she gestures to their new toilet) As I'm sitting here, I shall feel like Queen Victoria!

    • Nellie: (holds up a skinny little twig from a tree branch) This is about as much of a family tree as you've got, Albert! (smiles and walks away)
      Laura: (to Albert) Don't you pay her any mind. She'll never change. She's just talking her usual nonsense.

    • Nellie Oleson: Willie told me all about your class project. How's yours coming?
      Laura: I haven't started it yet.
      Nellie Oleson: I see. It must be very hard tracing all your relatives' names and everything, having to spend all that time in the forest or wherever it is you're from.
      Laura: It's called the Big Woods, and I'll manage, thank you.

    • Nellie: You know, the Oleson family goes all the way back to royalty. We had heads of state and titles for most of my relatives.
      Laura: You mean like Nero and Ivan the Terrible?
      Nellie: I'll ignore that.

  • NOTES (1)