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Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 13

The Lord is My Shepherd (1)

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Dec 18, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
95 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Lord is My Shepherd (1)
The Ingalls family appears to be officially complete when Caroline gives birth to a beautiful little boy, but trouble strikes when Charles Jr. falls gravely ill. Jealous of the baby's place in her father's heart, Laura refuses to pray for her brother, which leaves her with a heavy burden to bear when fate takes an ugly turn.moreless

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  • Too bad they did not say who played Charles JR

    It is too bad that they never said who played Charles JR who knows he could be someone famous now.But we will never know.
  • Charles is delighted when Caroline tells him that she is expecting another baby and he secretly hopes for a son.

    A joyous episode to start with, and one that will have you reaching for the tissues before the mid point as Caroline and Charles learn that there is to be a new member in the Ingalls family. When Charles Ingalls Jnr. is born, everyone is delighted, but Charles himself is like a dog with two tails who cannot stop smiling and can't seem to get enough of his new baby boy.

    With all this attention focussed on her brother, Laura finds herself becoming extremely jealous and when the little boy's health takes a turn for the worst, Laura refuses to pray for his fast recovery.

    In Mankato, doctors tell Caroline and Charles that nothing can be done to save their son and he dies in a hospital there. It is a heavy task having to return to Walnut Grove and tell the children. Mary is terribly distraught, but Laura feels only guilt.moreless
  • Laura feels jealous when her mother gives birth to a boy and Charles is consumed with his first son. Feeling responsible for the baby's demise, Laura runs away to talk to God.moreless

    This episode is amazing and should be in the top ten! The writing by Michael Landon is both subtle and profound, the acting is touching all around, and the message is very spiritual and inspiring. I guess I am reviewing both parts...I finished watching the second part today so it's all fresh in my mind. See Laura's facial expressions when she witnesses instances of jealousy; it's pure genius. In the first episode specifically, a hilarious moment (in an otherwise heavy episode) is when Harriet goes up to Caroline and notes that this is Caroline's fourth kid. The exchange is great. Oh snap!moreless
  • Caroline finally gives Charles a baby boy and Laura is consumed with jealousy. The baby falls ill and dies and Laura feels responsible.

    Note: I would just like to be clear that I intend to only review the first part of this 2 hour episode. If I decide to review part 2, I will post it under the seperate episode entry.

    This is an amazing episode for a number of reasons. First and foremost are the fine performances turned in by Karen Grassle and Michael Landon. The opening scene between Charles and Caroline, the intimacy of it, really sets the tone for the episode. It's all about them. Yes, the baby will come and Laura is madly jealous, but this half is very much about Charles and Caroline, their love for one another and their faith in God. Karen and Michael certainly do them justice. They have a few scenes where communtication takes place although few words are spoken. The manner in which she reveals the pregnancy, for example, or the funny scene where she asks Charles to send Grace because she knows she's in labor. The expressions on Charles' face as he figures it out are priceless! Landon was a master.

    Melissa Gilbert does a fine job in this episode, though it's part 2 that really belongs to her. She skillfully gets across that Laura's jealousy begins early, before the baby's born she's hoping for a girl, and grows quickly. Her refusal to pray for him is much more serious than some people today may realize. As the baby grows ill and Caroline begins to get worried, it seems that Charles' faith refuses to allow him that something terrible will happen. He almost seems chipper as he readies the wagon for the trip to Mankato.

    How dramatically things can change. The next scene is in the doctor's office and it's quiet, dark and somber as the doctor tells them that their child will not live. The pain in the room is palpable-Grassle is so good.

    When Charles returns to tell the bad news you watch him as he literally has to choke back sobs in order to answer her question. What an amazing and powerful moment these two fine performers create as they hold each other and pray the 23rd Psalm. It's so moving.

    They continue this bond as Charles and Caroline steel themselves against the pain of returning home, literally leaning on one another. Watch Karen as Caroline arrives, her weary stiffness walking back to the house-willing herself to be strong for the girls-she's a wonder. She is so great in this episode. She has to go from very high highs to very low lows and does both beautifully. As the expecting and new mother she fairly glows with happiness and when the baby is ill and later dies she is so broken and sad that she actually appears to be fragile-a shell of her former self.

    This episode also gives some of the townsfolk some very good scenes, brief though they may be. Grace's scenes at the birth, Doctor Baker's frustration at being 'a country doctor', the humorous exchanges with the Olesons and of course Rev. Alden's conversation with Laura about being close to God.

    This is a fine episode with so many powerful moments, but the reason it makes my top ten is surely the fine work that Karen Grassle and Michael Landon do together. Rarley do they share an episode so completely and peform so equally well.moreless
  • One of most saddening episodes in the series, this tearjerker is the epitomy of teary eyed shows. Caroline gives birth to Charles Ingalls Jr and shortly after, he dies. Laura blames herself for his death and tries to find redemption from God.moreless

    Melissa Gilbert shows her fine acting skills in this heartwrenching 2 hour episode. Charles Ingalls Jr. is born and Laura become jealous of her newborn brother. She starts to think her parents don't love her anymore and starts taking her thoughts of betrayal and anger on her brother. Eventually Charles Ingalls Jr. falls ill and eventually dies. Laura devistated, runs away for forgiveness and to get closer to God in hopes to bring Charles Jr. back to life. A bit of faith and amazing acting throughout sucks viewers in until the very end with tears at every turn. Youm must watch this episode, it's one of my favorites.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle

Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

William Cort

William Cort

Dr. Mayo

Guest Star

Laurie Lusher

Laurie Lusher


Guest Star

Bonnie Bartlett

Bonnie Bartlett

Grace Edwards

Recurring Role

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Edwards

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • There is a significant time jump between this episode and the previous/next one. The announcement of Caroline's pregnancy, the following nine months, and the birth of her and Charles' baby boy are all crammed into the first few minutes of the episode. This is not plausible, particularly with little Carrie, who was only about three at the beginning of Caroline's fourth pregnancy and would have surely grown and changed a lot in a year. Something similar was done in Season 9's A Child With No Name.

    • When the title of the episode flashes on the screen at the beginning, you can clearly see that "shepherd" is misspelled. It was foolishly written as "shepard," and nobody fixed it before airing the episode.

    • Goof: The church/school bell is strangely absent from the building in this episode.

      This is because this episode was filmed before that in which the bell was installed, but when they were transmitted the sequence was changed.

    • This 2-part episode is Melissa Gilbert (Laura)'s favorite in the whole series. She says it's because "it really showed just what my relationship with Michael Landon was all about." Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie) also lists this episode as one of her favorites.

    • Ernest Borgnine, who guest stars in this episode, is best known for playing one of the survivors in the movie "The Poseidon Adventure" and as Lt. Cdr. Quinton McHale on McHale's Navy.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Charles: But you know, the odds are we'll have a boy. We've had three girls.
      Caroline: Remember the Stevensons back in Wisconsin?
      Charles: Mm-hmm.
      Caroline: Eleven girls.......

    • Charles: Aren't you going to eat?
      Caroline: Carrie already had lunch, and I'm not hungry.
      Charles: You've been eating enough lately to keep a bird alive.
      Caroline: I'll gain weight soon enough. All women do.
      Charles: Don't tell me you're worried about weight. You take after your mother. There's no way in the world you're gonna gain any pounds.
      Caroline: There is one way.
      Charles: Well, if there is, then I'd sure like to know.....(stops cold, looks at Caroline, she smiles and nods, he jumps up and hugs her) A baby!

    • Caroline: You said it again.
      Charles: Said what again?
      Caroline: "He."
      Charles: Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't even realize I said. I just can't seem to remember not to say it.
      Caroline: I know, that's what you keep telling me.
      Charles: It just seems kind of strange to be calling a baby an "It." I mean, wouldn't you feel a bit put out if somebody kept calling you "It?"
      Caroline: I think I'd feel worse, Charles, if I was a girl--and someone kept calling me a boy. Oh!
      Charles: What is it?
      Caroline: He just kicked.
      Charles: Who just kicked?
      Caroline: The baby, he just kicked.
      Charles: It just kicked.

    • Reverend Alden: Are you all right, child?
      Laura: I wanted to ask you a question.
      Reverend Alden: Well, certainly. Come sit down, right here by me. Now, what question?
      Laura: It's about the sermon today.
      Reverend Alden: Well, I'm happy to hear you were listening. I'm afraid some folks don't.
      Laura: What can God do?
      Reverend Alden: (pause) I don't think I know what you mean.
      Laura: Well, you said that God can make all things possible.
      Reverend Alden: Yes, that's right.
      Laura: Like what things? You mean miracles?
      Reverend Alden: Yes, sometimes even miracles.
      Laura: How could you get a miracle?
      Reverend Alden: Well, Laura, there's no way to guarantee that.
      Laura: But there would be a chance if you prayed hard enough.
      Reverend Alden: Yes, if you prayed really, really hard. You see, the closer you are to God, the more likely He is to listen.
      Laura: The closer you are......
      Reverend Alden: That's right.
      Laura: Thank you, Reverend Alden. (smiles and runs out)

    • Caroline: (about the baby) He's still not gaining.
      Doc Baker: Well, he's not gaining, but he's not losing. Just holding his own. I think we'll try putting him on regular milk. I believe that'll do the trick.
      Caroline: But his appetite is good.
      Doc Baker: Well, there might be something wrong with your milk, Caroline. It's just a difference in body chemistry. That's what they call it.
      Caroline: It's never happened before.....
      Doc Baker: Oh, now, don't start worrying. Everybody starts worrying when they don't have a fat baby.
      Caroline: Oh, I'm not worried--just so long as you say everything's all right.
      Doc Baker: Everything's fine.

    • Nels: Grace Snider told me she'd never forget the look on your face when she told you it was a boy.
      Charles: And I'll never forget the moment she told me.
      Nels: I'll bet your wife was happy.
      Charles: That she was.
      Nels: A son. You have everything a man could want now.
      Charles: That I do.

    • Laura: Do you want a brother or a sister?
      Mary: I don't care.
      Laura: Pa wants a boy, you know.
      Mary: How do you know that?
      Laura: Because every time he talked about the baby at supper, he said "him" or "he." That's how I know.
      Mary: Well, only God knows if it's a boy or a girl, so you might as well get some sleep.
      Laura: I hope God wants a girl.

    • Mary: You forgot the special prayer for Charles. Ma asked us to.
      Laura: I don't have to.
      Mary: Don't you even care about your own brother?
      Laura: Pa cared enough for all of us. But that's all he cares about anymore.
      Mary: That's not true, and you know it!
      Laura: It is too true. I asked God for a sister, and He didn't listen. So now I don't care.
      Mary: You take that back, or I'll tell Pa!
      Laura: Go ahead. He won't listen. He'll be too busy playing with our brother. Go on. Tell him, you'll see.

    • Laura: It was the best day ever, wasn't it Pa?
      Charles: That it was, Half Pint.
      Laura: And I'll always remember it. Won't you?
      Charles: I'll always remember it.
      Laura: I love you more than anything.
      Charles: And I love you.

    • Laura: Let's play, Pa!
      Charles: All right. What would you like to play, Half Pint?
      Laura: Every game we ever played. Every single one!
      Charles: Hey, what's this sudden burst of energy?
      Laura: I just want to have the best day ever.
      Charles: That's as good a reason as any. All right, let's see. Hide-and-go-seek, and I'm It! One, two, three....
      Laura: Come on, Mary! Pa's It!
      Caroline: You didn't finish your lunch.
      Charles: Lunch can wait, Ma, we've got games to play!

    • Charles: (about Caroline after the baby's death) She's got a lot of strength, that woman.
      Mr. Edwards: That she does.
      Charles: Laura's the one I'm worried about. She's taking this a lot harder than the rest of us. I try talking to her about it, but she just avoids it.
      Mr. Edwards: Well, it's only been a few weeks. Time takes care of everything.

    • Harriet Oleson: Well, now! That's fi--no, four [children] now, isn't it, Mrs. Ingalls?
      Caroline: Four is correct, Mrs. Oleson.
      Harriet: Yes. I guess that's the way it is with country folk. Sort of like being a brood mare. Of course, in my case, Nellie and Willie are more than enough.
      Caroline: In the case of Nellie and Willie, I couldn't agree with you more!

    • Mary: Maybe I can feed Freddy soon.
      Caroline: Your brother's name is Charles.
      Mary: Mr. Edwards calls him Freddy.
      Caroline: Mr. Edwards uses a few names he shouldn't.
      Charles: Caroline, you're speaking of your son's godfather.

    • Charles: How's your friend today?
      Caroline: That woman--
      Charles: Now, now, Caroline, it's Sunday.
      Caroline: She makes it very hard to be Christian.
      Charles: Well, if you can't pray for her, at least pray for her husband!

    • Reverend Alden: The closer you are to God, the more likely he is to listen.
      Laura: "The closer you are." Thank you, Reverend Alden!

  • NOTES (3)

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley, with Sierra location scenes filmed at Donnell's Vista, Clark Fork River, Iceberg Meadow and Kennedy Meadows, and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

    • The Title comes from the 23rd Psalm, which Charles and Caroline recite (in this episode).

    • Originally aired as a 2-hour episode. Shown on the DVD and (usually) in syndication in 2 parts. Because of that (and how distinctly different the 2 parts are) they have been listed on separate pages in this guide.