Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 12

The King Is Dead

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 12, 1979 on NBC

Episode Recap

The episode opens featuring an aging wrestler, Milo Stavroupolis, bringing his wife Anna flowers in her hospital room. He tells his ailing wife that he must leave her for a while to go and wrestle. She pleads with him not to go, citing that he's too old, and decrying the kind of wrestling that he's doing as more of a freak-show than actual "Greco-Roman wrestling." Milo bids her farewell, and in the hallway urges the nurse to take good care of her while he's gone. When the nurse enters the room, a stubborn Anna refuses to take her medication, as she hates the sickness that keeps Milo returning to the ring to earn her support.

Milo takes a train with his manager, Jimmy Hart, and a much younger, brutish wrestler named Mueller. They travel to Hero Township where Hart spots Jonathan Garvey at a loading dock. He makes Milo approach him and start a fight, which Milo allows Jonathan to win. Hart comes over and smooth talks Jonathan into wrestling for real with a $100 purse as a prize. Jonathan admits he's never seen that kind of money before, and Hart sweetens the deal by promising Jonathan his name will be in all the local papers.

Walnut Grove is abuzz when they hear the news that their own local farmer will be featured in a wrestling match in Mankato, and Harriet is seeing stars…and also big bucks when she thinks about putting money on the match. Alice is less-than-thrilled with her husband's new endeavor, but he shrugs it off. Jonathan is too excited about his newfound fame and his stage name "Big Jon Garvey." Meanwhile, Harriet – because she is treasurer – decides to gamble with the church's money.

Milo knows that Hart is planning to scam the town of Walnut Grove by staging the first fight and getting all the locals to then place their money on Jon Garvey on the second fight, which will be fought by the young Han Mueller. Milo doesn't want to do it, but he's prodded on by Hart, who knows that he needs the money badly to pay for his wife's medical bills. The town comes out to see Jonathan wrestle Milo, and Harriet is so excited when Jonathan "wins" that she accidentally knocks out Nels with her flailing arms.

After the staged fight, Milo is given a letter that was written by his dying wife, who can't bear to see him mocked. At the end of her heartfelt letter, a doctor penned the words, "Mrs. Stavroupolis passed away in her sleep Thursday morning."

Milo, with nothing left to continue, secretly approaches Jonathan Garvey in his hotel room. He explains that he let Jonathan win, and that Jimmy Hart set him up in order to take the town folk's money. When Jonathan protests, Milo challenges him to a quick bout in the ring. With some basic wrestling techniques, Milo shows him immediately that Jonathan stands no chance in the ring against a real wrestler.

As the town places their bets, an arrogant Hans Mueller pounds some shots as he prepares to "break Jonathan's leg." In his hotel room, Milo prays for strength "one last time" so that he can beat Mueller.

Nels berates Harriet for breaking her promise and gambling the rest of the church's money on the match. Harriet sees her moment of reckoning when Jonathan enters the wrestling hall with his arm in a sling. He designates Milo to wrestle in his place, and Charles validates that those are the rules. Hart nervously watches as Milo takes on Mueller. Harriet can't bear to watch, and the rest of Walnut Grove goes crazy as they watch Milo win. Harriet is so enthralled when she discovers her money is not lost, she accidentally knocks out Nels a second time. Meanwhile, the crowd chants "Milo! Milo! Milo!" and Milo requests Charles take him back to his room.

Jonathan and Charles accompany Milo back to his room. When Milo requests that the lamp be lit, and it already is, Charles tells Jonathan it's time to get the doctor. Alone in the room, Jonathan listens to Milo recount his rediscovered greatness like it was in the old country, and Milo sees a vision of Anna beckoning him to her to come home. Milo says aloud to the vision of Anna, "Love is forever," and reaching out to her, gives up the ghost. The scene closes out with Jonathan standing by the body of the former champ.

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