Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 14

The Lord is My Shepherd (2)

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Dec 18, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Lord is My Shepherd (2)
Convinced that she is responsible for her brother's death, Laura runs to the mountains in the middle of the night. Atop the mountain with her is Jonathan, a kindly old man who helps her reaffirm her relationship with God as she comes to terms with her guilt. Meanwhile, Charles and Mr. Edwards search frantically for her, but with so many miles separating them, it will take a miracle to reunite them.moreless

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  • Laura heads for the hills - again.

    This second of the two-part episode is the first Little House I can remember watching as a little kid, but that is perhaps it's only endearment to me. Seeing it again as an adult, it is painful indeed to watch, from Laura's perpetual self-centered behavior to Jonathan's questionable theology to watching an already grief-stricken Charles shoulder the additional burden his daughter places upon him with her flighty antics. Laura was selfish while her brother was alive, then self-focused in guilt and running away after his death. (Had she been like Mary and Carrie in understanding that a new baby would temporarily take some of the attention away from her, or if she had at least talked to her pa about her feelings, she would not have been struck with the overwhelming sense of guilt after her brother died. One thing I never cared for about Laura was how she never thought through how her actions would hurt others). Then there's the jovial celestial being, Jonathan. He's alright - a little overweight for an angel perhaps - but for someone claiming to be a messenger of God, he doesn't seem to know his Creator very well and makes some strange statements, such as "God doesn't have time" for certain things, etc. I know it's only fictional, but for a messenger of God to tell a little girl things about God that aren't true always kind of irked me. The roughest spot of the show for me, however, is the scene towards the end in which Charles is overcome with grief and buries his face in his horse and just sobs. I can't imagine being a parent and losing a newborn baby, then on top of it having to search the wilderness for another child who had heard the news and simply run off - and wondering the entire time if she'd been eaten by bears or mauled by a mountain lion, etc. Instead of a hug, I just wish ol' Pa would have taken a strap to her at the end, and Edwards too!moreless
  • Overcome with guilt at the death of her brother, Laura is determined to make it right.

    Laura cannot cope with the awful feelings of guilt which overpower her after the death of little Charles Jnr. She blames herself because she was very jealous of him and refused to pray for him when he was sick. She decides to run away after a chat with Reverend Alden, who tells her that the closer you are to God, the more he will listen to you.

    Laura mistakes this for physical closeness and sets out on a climb towards a high peak where she strikes a bargain with The Lord - take me and send my little brother back to Pa.

    While on her journey, sick with worry, Charles enlists the aid of Mr. Edwards to go and find her but Laura herself meets up with a kindly mn named Jonathan who gives her food and shelter and explains a lot about God that she didn't know before. When Charles and Mr. Edwards finally track her down, Jonathan explains that her father has found her safe and well because it's God's will that she be with the people she loves.

    A very moving episode with an extremely poignant message to go along with it. In my opinion, one of the series' best.moreless
  • Laura meets a protective stranger in her quest for God in the mountains. As Charles and Mr. Edwards search for her, Laura learns from Jonathan in more ways than one. A true blue tear-jerker.moreless

    I remember this episode when it first came out. I was about eight or so and I remember my father crying at the end. The spiritual message is particularly inspiring to me, yet not in a heavy-handed way. To think that Michael Landon wrote it really shows what an all-around genius that man was. They just don't make this quality of material these days and we need it badly! When you think about how Christianity is sometimes portrayed, it's nice to see something which deals about redemption instead of the usual stuff about punishment. And I think it's also important because this is a common mistake of parents: the favoring of one child over another, even if only due to a new birth. Parents need to be sensitive to the feelings of their other children. To the reviewer on here (Miller): your comments and observations seemed a bit insensitive. Laura needed a beating? A child never needs physical punishment. She was jealous and then she was guilty. She needed understanding.moreless
  • Little Laura's emotions shift from anger to unbearable guilt when the brother she thought she resented dies in infancy.Truly believing that she has robbed her beloved Pa of the one thing he wanted most in the world, Laura runs away with a desire to make tmoreless

    This is far and away the finest episode in the entire series--a favorite of Melissa Gilbert\'s and simply a landmark episode in the series\' 10-year run.

    This episode depicts the finest of childhood innocence and weaves a beautiful sense of faith into the plot that will no doubt leave you in tears. It\'s been said numerous times that Laura Ingalls Wilder\'s books--and this television series by extension--have one major underlying source: Laura\'s relationship with her Pa. The stories revolve around the entire Ingalls family, yes, but with episodes like this it is clear as day that it is really about Laura and her bond with her father.

    Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert had phenomenol chemistry on-screen as father and daughter, and this very episode leaves you wondering how they managed to do it so beautifully. Melissa Gilbert was a gem of an actress, even at that young age, and we all know what a legendary talent Michael Landon was. I have grown to love this series and all its episodes, but if ever asked what my favorite is, nothing holds a candle to the emotionally charged and spiritually uplifting \"The Lord is My Shepherd.\"moreless
  • Best Little House on the Prairie episode My favorite!!!

    The only problem with The Lord is my Shepard part two

    episode is their are no mountain ranges in south western Minnesota. Another thing about this episode is they look down from the mountain to see a large river. The largest river to Walnut Grove is the Minnesota River which is about thirty miles away. Are we to believe that Laura walked 30 miles to a area of Minnesota where their are no mountains or bluffs in one day. Clearly this episode was filmed in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Their is no

    other Little House on the Prairie episode better then

    this one. john@antihotmail.commoreless
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)

Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine


Guest Star

Bonnie Bartlett

Bonnie Bartlett

Grace Snider

Recurring Role

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Edwards

Recurring Role

James Jeter

James Jeter

Hans Dorfler

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Jonathan gives some questionable theology to Laura. He says that God gets physically tired like humans, God can't take care of everybody at the same time, and it rains because people in heaven are crying. How can any of this be true? God is supernatural, so He does not experience physical needs like fatigue, hunger, thirst, etc. He also does not experience time like humans do. He is in the past, the present, and the future all at once. Finally, people in heaven are experiencing eternal happiness, so those people cannot be crying tears of sadness. Jonathan is supposed to be a messenger of God, so how does he not understand this?

    • Laura reaches the mountain before Charles and Mr Edwards have left to look for her, so she could not have walked, mostly in the dark and off-road, farther than about 10 miles. There are no mountains anything like this around Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where the country is almost completely flat.

    • The reunion scene with Charles and Laura is an emotional milestone in the series and will almost definitely leave you in tears. In previous interviews, Melissa Gilbert has said that the particular moment with Charles and Laura running to each other and hugging was exactly what Melissa had with Michael Landon off-screen. "That wasn't just Laura and Pa--that was Melissa and Mike," Gilbert has said.

    • When Carrie asks Charles where Laura is, he just says "She went away for a while." She asks, "Did she go with my brother?" and Caroline runs to the next room in tears, and Charles leaves the house at the same time. Strangely, neither one of them stopped to truly acknowledge this three-year-old little girl's question about where her big sister was.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Laura: (about God) I just don't understand. He just won't listen. And I prayed as hard as I could!
      Jonathan: Well, like I told you, He's got a lot to do.
      Laura: It's been three days now. Maybe he just doesn't want to talk to me because of all the bad things I've done.
      Jonathan: No, child. No, He's forgiving. He has to be, or He wouldn't have anyone else to talk to.

    • Jonathan: He seems to have hurt his wing.
      Laura: Will he die?
      Jonathan: Well, not if someone takes care of him and nurses him back to health.
      Laura: I'll do it. I'll bring him back with us.
      Jonathan: Oh, that's a good idea.
      Laura: He's beautiful!
      Jonathan: Mm-hmm. And just think, if your cross hadn't floated all the way down here, we never would have found him.
      Laura: It's almost like what you said about tears making things come alive again.

    • Charles: Good morning.
      Caroline: Oh, I had a dream. It was Sunday.
      Charles: That was a dream, this is a nightmare. It's Monday, and I'm starving!

    • Jonathan: He won't be up from his nap for 4 or 5 hours yet.
      Laura: God takes a nap?
      Jonathan: Well, sure.
      Laura: I didn't think he ever got tired.
      Jonathan: Oh my, yes! With all those people asking for things and getting into trouble.....that's a mighty big job.
      Laura: You sure do know a lot about God, don't you, Jonathan?
      Jonathan: That I do, child. That I do.

    • Charles: (crying after reuniting with Laura) Why? Why did you do it?
      Laura: I thought you needed Charles more than me.
      Charles: How could you think that?
      Laura: I just did.
      Charles: (hugs her again) I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It was my fault.
      Laura: It's all right now. God wants me to be with you. He told Jonathan.

    • Laura: I wonder if God would mind if I told you.
      Jonathan: You mean, that thing you were talking about?
      Laura: Yeah.
      Jonathan: No, Laura, I don't think He'd mind.
      Laura: It's just that you know Him so well and all, and I thought maybe you'd be able to tell me for sure if He can do what I'm asking.
      Jonathan: Well, I might be able to.
      Laura: Well, the short of it is, I want to make a trade deal with God--so I could be with Him, and my brother can come back and be with my Pa. Pa wants a son real bad.....and that's about it.
      Jonathan: (long pause) Wow. That.....that's a pretty tall order.
      Laura: But God can do anything.
      Jonathan: Well, that's true. And He could do it, all right......if that's what He thinks is best.
      Laura: Oh, it is. I explained to God about my having mean thoughts and all. And I guess that's why he took my brother, kind of by mistake.

    • Laura: (on top of the mountain) It sure is a long way up here, God, but I wanted to get as close to you as I could. The Reverend Alden--you know him--he said you could help me. See, God, I was supposed to pray for my brother when he was sick, so he would get better again, and.....well, I didn't do it. I had mean thoughts. I said later that I didn't really mean it, and that I really did want him to be well again, but I guess you didn't hear me. And now I want to make it right. You see, God, Pa has three girls: me, Mary, and Carrie. And what he really needs is a son, like you had, God. So I was wondering....since you already have a son, maybe you would like a little girl with you, and you could send my brother back to Pa. Well.....that's about it. I'll just wait here. (lies down on the rocks) Amen.

    • Laura: Jonathan.....if God answers my prayer tonight, then we won't be seeing each other anymore. And I just wanted you to know that aside from Pa and my dog Jack, you're my best friend.
      Jonathan: Thank you, Laura. And don't you worry. No matter what happens, we'll see each other again. (after Laura leaves, he looks up to Heaven) A child like that makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

    • Jonathan: Everyone has a mean thought once in a while.
      Laura: Not my Ma and Pa.
      Jonathan: Well, maybe just a little one. But the point is, you do good things to make up for taking care of that bird. Why, most folks would just walk right past it and not do a thing.
      Laura: I couldn't do that.
      Jonathan: Of course not. But some folks do. Always in such a hurry. Always too busy to think about another one of God's creatures. All that time they spend thinking about themselves.
      Laura: I bet that makes God angry.
      Jonathan: Angry? Yes....but mostly sad.
      Laura: I never thought of God being sad like regular people.

    • Jonathan: Patience, child.
      Laura: I can't help it. Pa says children aren't supposed to have any.
      Jonathan: Your Pa sounds like a bright man.
      Laura: Oh, he is. So's my Ma. She used to be a schoolteacher, and she knows a bunch of stuff.
      Jonathan: You're quite fond of your folks.
      Laura: Sure. Everybody loves their Ma and Pa.
      Jonathan: Then how come you ran off?
      Laura: I can't tell you.
      Jonathan: Fair enough.
      Laura: I wish I could tell you, Mr. Jonathan. But it's just between me and God.

    • Laura: I don't want Pa to find me until God answers.
      Jonathan: He has answered.
      Laura: No He hasn't!
      Jonathan: He has answered. And He's made His decision. That's why He sent your Pa. He wants you to be with your Pa and your brother to be with Him.
      Laura: That isn't what I wanted. Pa wants a son!
      Jonathan: No, child. That's what you thought he wanted. Only God knows best about these things. That's why He sent your Pa here, because He knows that your Pa loves you and needs you. How else could your Pa have found you?
      Laura: How can you be sure?
      Jonathan: He told me, child.

    • Carrie: Where's Laura?
      Pa: She went away for a little while.
      Carrie: Where?
      Pa: She just went somewhere.
      Carrie: Did she go with my brother?

    • Laura: Heaven's tears.
      Charles: What?
      Laura: Something Jonathan told me. God talked to him, Pa, he really did!

    • Laura: Why do they call it Heaven's tears?
      Jonathan: Because that's what rain is. See, when the people in Heaven get sad about the things going on here on Earth, they cry. Makes sense, doesn't it?
      Laura: When you tell it, it does!

    • Laura: (writing letter to Pa) I can't write what's in my heart because I just can't get the words to come out the end of my pencil. I did a bad thing by having mean thoughts, but I know how I can make it right again. I can't tell you the rest because it's just between me and God. I will always remember today. I love you all, Laura.

    • Charles: I just don't see how I could have been so blind.
      Mr. Edwards: Don't start blaming yourself now.
      Charles: Who else am I gonna blame? All the time I spent with the boy, talking about him.
      Mr. Edwards: Well, what's done is done. When you find her, you'll make everything all right again.

  • 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 name of Jonathan was also used by Michael Landon for his character on Highway to Heaven, where he played an angel, and Victor French was his helper (as in this episode).

    • Originally aired as a 2-hour episode. Shown on the DVD and (usually) in syndication in 2 parts.