Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 6

The Preacher Takes A Wife

0
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 22, 1979 on NBC
6.1
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The Preacher Takes A Wife
AIRED:

Reverend Alden begins spending time with a single woman his age. Their budding relationship is threatened by gossip from Harriet.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Harriet had a past

    7.0
    I liked the side-story about Harriet and her old beau, but it made me sad to think she married Nels on the rebound. He was a good husband but they made it seem the torch was never really put out. Maybe that is how memories are sometimes, not real, but real to us. To see her so emotional made you remember she was human.



    Although I was glad things worked out well in the end, it would have been nice to show the Reverend and his wife in subsequent shows. I never really saw them together again which was a shame. Since he didn't have restrictions from marrying, I wondered why he wasn't scooped up before this. : )moreless
  • Reverend Robert Alden has performed marriage services for many people, now it's his turn to walk down the aisle.

    8.5
    Reverend Alden has devoted his life to serving God and the people of his several congregations. He is a kindly man who is always there in times of need but his is, by its very nature, a lonely life and he has missed the opportunity to have a home, a wife and children of his own.



    Enter the widow Anna Craig who is also very lonely and extremely smitten with the good reverend. She makes her feelings quite plain but he is completely thrown and is unsure what to do. To make matters worse, Harriet Oleson is totally against a union between the two elderly people and tries to use all her influence to stop it taking place. It is here that we learn the astounding news that Harriet was once engaged to the preacher who happens to be Reverend Alden's superior in the church!



    I can believe a lot of things because of artistic license, but Harriet as a preacher's wife is a little more than I can cope with. It seems he broke off their engagement just before the wedding which might be one of the reasons she is so bitter and twisted today.



    When the church gives its permission, Reverend Alden and Anna Craig become man and wife in what I consider a sweet and moving episode, especially as I can't recall too many which have actually focussed on the reverend.moreless
  • Rev. Alden has an admirer and at first he is a little overwhelmed by her ardor! When their relationship attracts negative speculation, complications ensue. Finally, we learn the reason behind the persecution.moreless

    8.0
    I just read the other review on this episode and one thing I'd like to remind others on here is that when reviewing an episode, please make sure you don't give away the surprise twist(s)! And there is a very nice little one here that was already mentioned. I was watching this episode, puzzled by Harriet's behavior (more cruel than she usually is!) and it was interesting to have everything come together in the end. Not an earth-shattering effort, but entertaining none-the-less.moreless
  • Harriet Olsen... one-time candidate for preacher's wife?!?

    8.9
    Besides the cutesie romance between the aging Alden and his wrinkled-but-fiesty lover, one of the best features of this episode is observing an old flame of Harriet's, who was/is a MINISTER no less! The question posed in my mind by this episode was: did Harriet become who she was and the hard-nosed character whom we all knew and loved to hate because of this broken engagement some 20 years ago? Would she have been a kinder, gentler soul if not for the bitterness caused by a dashed heart and upended dreams? hm-m-m-m-m...



    Also love the fact that, typical of Harriet, she incites scandal by proposing there is something indecent going on between the Reverend and his Lady. Imagine! Reverend Alden, beloved and kindly confidante, softspoken and meek minister, the spirit and wisdom of Walnut Grove...now speculated to be an unrestrained reprobate and the horny hound dog of Hero Township! Harriet should be amazed to believe that these two antiques could even accomplish something like that!moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Patrick Labyorteaux

Patrick Labyorteaux

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

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Jon Lormer

Jon Lormer

Jeremy Tyler

Guest Star

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Guest Star

Iris Korn

Iris Korn

Anna (Mrs. Craig)

Guest Star

Ruth Foster

Ruth Foster

Mrs. Foster

Recurring Role

Ketty Lester

Ketty Lester

Hester-Sue

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (9)

    • We learn in this episode that Reverend Alden's first name is Robert.

    • After Anna and Reverend Alden finish their first meal together, Anna suggests that they take their coffee into the living room. Reverend Alden agrees and quickly charges right past Anna, into the next room, to the point where he almost runs her over. This seemed unusually rude and out of place for the scene.

    • When Reverend Alden and Anna ponder their wedding in the middle of the episode, the Reverend comments that it won't be long before Charles Ingalls is pronouncing them husband and wife. What Christian religion gives an ordinary parishioner the power to preside over marriage vows???
      Reply: The real Charles Ingalls was indeed, a Justice of the Peace for some time and would have been qualified to marry people.

    • Notice the striking physical and character-based resemblances between Dean Harmon, Harriet's first fiance, and the man she eventually married, Nels Oleson: Not very tall, thin, balding, subservient, well spoken, but generally quiet. In the final, symbolic scene where Harriet Olesen stands on the church steps, flanked by both men, they look like they could be brothers.

    • William Schallert (Dean Harmon) later went on to appear in Michael Landon's successful series Highway to Heaven, which began as soon as Little House on the Prairie ended. In that show, Schallert appeared in Season 4, in the two-part episode Man's Best Friend, and even more interestingly, he portrayed the father of actor Stan Ivar, who played John Carter in Seasons 9 and 10 of Little House and also guest starred on just those two episodes of Highway of Heaven.

    • It is crystal clear that the inside of Anna's home is the exact same house that Almanzo's girlfriend Christy lived in during the episode Annabelle, which aired right before this episode. More than that, it's the same sets that were used for Almanzo's home, and anyone who watches this show regularly can instantly notice that.

    • Many viewers were surprised and baffled to learn that after Reverend Alden and Anna had a wedding in this episode, the character of Anna never appeared again, and for all the viewers knew, Reverend Alden didn't even appear to be married. Iris Korn--who played Anna--became ill and passed away shortly after this episode was filmed, which would explain the absence.

    • In a previous interview, Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden) expressed that he and Michael Landon differed in their opinions regarding how Reverend Alden's love affair with Anna should be executed. Greer believed that at the Reverend's age, he would not be at the point where he would realistically sacrifice his career to fall in love like a young schoolboy. However, Landon wanted to write this episode his own way, so that's how it went.

    • It's ludicrous that Reverand Alden would believe he was somehow going against God by taking a wife. Hello, he's a PROTESTANT minister not Catholic. In real life, Reverand Alden was a circuit-preacher of the Congregationalist denomination who married twice and sired large numbers of children by each wife (one daughter, in particular, was a good friend of Laura's, as indicated in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books).
      Reply: Even though Protestant ministers are permitted to marry, that doesn't mean the ministers don't sometimes fear that they are "going against God." Marriage is a huge undertaking for anyone, and a married minister would not be devoting his entire livelihood to God in the same way he would if he remained single. If you watch the episode, that's why Harriet's former fiance (also a minister) broke off the engagement: because he didn't feel he could properly serve both God and a wife.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Reverend Alden: It's a miracle.
      Dean Harmon: Don't sound so surprised. If a Reverend doesn't believe in miracles, who else will?

    • Dean Harmon: It's been a long time, Harriet.
      Harriet: Yes, it has, Russell. Twenty three years come June 15th, the day that you broke our engagement.
      Dean Harmon: If I had known it was you, I would have sent somebody in my stead.
      Harriet: Still afraid to face realities, Russell?
      Dean Harmon: I thought I was facing reality then, Harriet. As I told you at the time, I believed I could not serve two masters: marriage and the ministry.
      Harriet: I remember. You said you decided that you were already wed to the Church, that your duties would be all consuming, and that it would be "unfair" to me to go ahead with the marriage. Do you think it was "fair" to humiliate me so?
      Dean Harmon: Of course not. It was grossly unfair. It was cruel. But I didn't mean it to be that. As the day approached, I had terrible doubts and fears. It wasn't a question of whether or not I loved you, Harriet, but the question in my mind was, "Could I devote myself to you and to God?" The question was, did I love you or God more? I thought.....I thought I was doing what was best for both of us. I hope it was for you, Harriet. I've met your husband. He seems to be a very fine man.
      Harriet: I'm very proud of my family.
      Dean Harmon: You should be.

    • Dean Harmon: So the question, then, is how to deal with the matter of the Reverand Alden, and the reality of his relationship with Mrs. Craig. Now, I've known Reverend Alden for 26 years, Harriet. He taught me theology at the seminary. I've never known a finer minister, or a better man. You must know that. He's been your minister and your friend for years. You must know in your heart that Robert Alden is not capable of conduct that is anything but the most honorable.
      Harriet: Oh, well, surely, Russell, you must know that even the just man can fall!
      Dean Harmon: Yes, but not Robert Alden! Not in the way that you suggest! Don't punish him for my mistakes, Harriet! Why should he be forced, especially by you, to make the same mistakes I did? Now, he has a chance for happiness with the woman he loves. Don't deny him that. This time, it's your decision, Harriet.

    • Anna Craig: (Anna is trying to bring the Reverend Alden soup, but Mrs. Oleson continues in her efforts to keep them separated) Mrs. Oleson, if you do not move out of the way, I will hit you with this tray!

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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