Little House on the Prairie

Season 4 Episode 4

The Handyman

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 03, 1977 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Charles begins building a kitchen onto the back of the house, but a sudden business trip leaves him unable to complete the job. This brings a charismatic handyman named Chris into their midst, and while Charles is away, the man bonds with Caroline and the girls. Needless to say, this causes several rumors to sweep around town, and nobody is more affected than Mary, who fears that Chris may be breaking their family apart.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • When a handsome handyman is hired to complete the Ingall's addition while Charles is out of town, tension ensues and Mary suspects the handyman is interested in more than Caroline's new kitchen.moreless

    Wow! An episode of LHOTP that deals with, though oh-so-subtlely, the issue of sexual attraction. When Charles has to leave town for two weeks while in the middle of completing a kitchen addition, Caroline hires a wandering handyman to finish the job. Played by the very handsome Gil Gerard, the handyman quickly becomes like family (the girls even call him "Uncle Chris")--and finds himself becoming more and more attracted to Caroline. This doesn't go unnoticed by Caroline--or Mary, who in a confrontation demands that he leave their homestead immediately and not come back. This episode is full of lingering looks and pregnant pauses. Characteristically, there's no hanky- panky, and the handyman's presence and attractiveness only make Caroline want Charles to come home all the more. Interesting to view because the viewer almost feels as though he/she is spying on a courtship--though it's mostly one-sided. Worth viewing!moreless
  • Charles is adding a much-needed kitchen to the back of the house and Caroline is delighted. Unfortunately, he is called away on business before he can finish the task but a helpful handyman comes on the scene so all is not lost.moreless

    Caroline's dream kitchen is half-built when Charles must go away on a business trip. She fears the weather will cause a huge problem, what with having a gaping hole in the side of the house, but a drifter named Chris who is an excellent handyman is recommended by the Oleson's and so, he is contracted to do the job.

    From here on in, I had problems with some of the things in the episode. First of all, I understand why Mary was worried that Chris and her mother may have been becomming romantically involved as the two were entirely too familiar too quickly. Very strange for the normally careful Caroline. No wonder tongue's were wagging allover town.

    Secondly, when the girls began calling him 'Uncle Chris', I also had a major problem with this because it was not appropriate to call a total stranger 'Uncle' (even Mr. Edwards, a family friend, has always been 'Mr. Edwards' to the girls and often to Caroline as well.) Being allowed by their mother to call him Uncle Chris just didn't work for me at all, and I have often wondered if Caroline may have been swept off her feet a little by him and wasn't thinking clearly. All in all, I think it was a good idea when he left.

    Even though I really like Gil Gerrard, I can't say I liked this episode much.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Lindsay Greenbush

Lindsay Greenbush

Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Sidney Greenbush

Sidney Greenbush

Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Mary has a fit when she comes home from school and sees handyman Chris wearing one of her father's shirts. It is, in fact, the shirt she made for him three years ago, in Season 1's Christmas at Plum Creek.

    • When Chris falls off the roof, he tears his shirt and his long-john style undershirt. Caroline has him remove the bloody shirt so that she can wash and repair it for him, but why doesn't she offer to do the same to the undershirt? If the outer shirt was bloody, the one closest to the body should have been even worse.

    • Nitpick: When Chris falls from the roof and gets blood on his shirt, Caroline gives him one of Charles' shirts, saying that "they're about the same size." Actually, though, if you take a good look at the two men, they really aren't the same size. Charles has a very naturally thin frame, while Chris is much more muscular and built-up. In reality, they probably wouldn't fit into the same shirt.

    • Notice how much background noise there is in the scene where Charles stops by home for a quick visit. While talking to Caroline in the yard, the viewer can barely hear the dialogue over the buzzing of cicadas and other insects, and the constant sound of birds. Obviously this scene was filmed on a very hot day, as it sounds the way any meadow sounds at high noon in mid summer.

    • Goof/Nitpick: During the climactic scene where Ma and Mary are arguing in the barn, as Ma is storming out, Mary cries out to her, "Ma!" and hugs her. Look closely, and you'll notice that Ma turns to rush back to her BEFORE Mary calls out. Clearly, either Karen Grassle turned to rush back too soon, or Melissa Sue Anderson said her line a split second too late.

    • There is a scene where Mary is looking outside through what looks to be a window from her bedroom. She is looking out of a back window at Chris, the handyman. There were never any back windows from their bedroom. From the inside of the loft, that part of the loft had a set of hooks for the girls' clothes.
      Reply: There was always a window there, but the shutters were almost always kept closed, so it was hard to see. Episodes like Harvest of Friends made it visible.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Harriet: (about Chris coming to church with Caroline and the kids) Just like one of the family, isn't he?
      Kezia: Well, I wouldn't mind having him in my family, if I had a family.
      Harriet: Ugh. Really! If you ask me, it isn't proper, having a young man like that living in the house. I know I wouldn't feel safe.
      Kezia: Well, I didn't ask you, but if it eases your mind any, Mrs. O, I can guarantee you, you'd be safe.

    • Caroline: Chris? Chris, where were you?
      Chris: Around.
      Caroline: Didn't you hear me call you? Charles wanted to meet you, especially to thank you for all your fine work.
      Chris: Yeah, well, I'm glad he was pleased. Excuse me.
      Caroline: Why'd you stay away?
      Chris: I've been around families long enough to know when an outsider isn't welcome.
      Caroline: You're not an outsider!
      Chris: This is not my house, and it's not my family! (walks away)

    • Mary: I want you to go.
      Chris: What?
      Mary: You heard me. I want you to leave here, and never come back.
      Chris: I don't understand.
      Mary: Yes, you do.
      Chris: No, Mary, I don't.
      Mary: You love my mother, don't you?
      Chris: Mary, I--
      Mary: Just answer my question. You love my mother.
      Chris: Mary, your mother is a fine woman.
      Mary: You don't have to tell me about my mother. Just answer the question.
      Mary: (long, awkward pause) I'll be out by morning.

    • Caroline: Just a minute, young lady! Why are you speaking to me like this?
      Mary: Because I saw you! That's why!
      Caroline: Saw me?
      Mary: The two of you together, by the creek, holding each other!
      Caroline: (horrified) Mary! Oh, Mary!
      Mary: I didn't tell Laura. Now he's gone, and it's over.
      Caroline: I'm surprised you would ever think that I--
      Mary: That he loves you? He does, you know. He does, and so do I! I asked him last night, and he couldn't deny it.
      Caroline: And that's why he's gone?
      Mary: Yes! Yes, and I'm glad. I never want to see him again.
      Caroline: Now, you listen to me. What you saw was not an embrace! I slipped on the creek bank, and Chris caught me. That's all there was to that. I love your father more than anything in this world, and I always will. Chris is a kind, loving man who would never do anything to hurt me, or you. I am shocked and hurt to think that you would ever think such a thing!

  • NOTES (2)

    • Lindsay Greenbush, who shared the role of Carrie with twin sister Sidney, had a big crush on Gil Gerard, who played the title role in this episode. To this day, her mother Carole still teases her about it.

    • Gil Gerard soon went on to play Captain William 'Buck' Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.


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