Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 10

The Raccoon

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Nov 20, 1974 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • After Jasper bites Laura and gets out of the cage Jack starts barking at Jasper, and Laura says "Jasper, leave Jack alone", but it shows that Jack was trying to hurt Jasper, so it should have been "Jack leave Jasper alone".

    • At the beginning of this episode you can see that Mary and Laura were out of their characters a bit. It shows Mary wanting to play ball and Laura playing with a doll. Laura is not into dolls as much and Mary is a book worm she never wants to play ball.

    • Notice the scene where Mary is crying hysterically as she admits to Charles that Jasper bit Laura. The camera is zoomed in closely on Mary's face. Back when it was filmed, they planned on adding shots of Charles' face later, but Michael Landon became very ill with meningitis and was hospitalized. The episode was left incomplete, and Landon was not well enough to film anything else for it, so they just kept the close-up shots of Mary. Melissa Sue Anderson, the actress who played her, has said that this was one of her first really "meaty" roles on the show, and it gave her a chance to show that she could act.

    • The rabid raccoon that wreaked havoc around the Ingalls farm was much fatter than Jasper. It's a bit of a stretch that nobody in the Ingalls family made the connection that they were two different raccoons. It's not as if they were identical--quite the opposite, actually. There was one point where Charles knelt down and released the fat raccoon into the woods from a sack, and then he came home to find a much thinner Jasper in the barn with Laura.

    • Neither Caroline nor Charles bat an eye as they watch Laura hold Jasper the raccoon like a baby, after Mary brings it home for the first time. Don't raccoons tend to carry deadly diseases? And wouldn't pioneer people like the Ingallses--especially intelligent, conscientious parents like Charles and Caroline--be aware of that?

    • At the beginning of this episode, Mary gives her father attitude about the raccoon issue, which is extremely rare for her character. She almost never talked to Pa this way before, no matter what was going on.

  • Quotes

    • Caroline: (about Laura's chance of having rabies) Doc Baker, does she?
      Doc Baker: It's too early to tell.
      Charles: How long until we find out?
      Doc Baker: Watch the dog. A dog runs its course within a week to ten days. The incubation period for a girl Laura's age could be anywhere from three weeks to a month. If the dog doesn't develop rabies, chances are Laura won't.
      Caroline: And if she, um.....if worse comes to worse.....what kind of treatment would you give her? (long silence, Charles puts his hand on her shoulder)
      Charles: There is no treatment.

    • Doc Baker: (examining Laura's raccoon bite) Four days ago, you said?
      Charles: That's right, Doc.
      Doc Baker: Well, then, we'd better begin treatment immediately. One gumball, to be taken internally.
      Laura: Thank you! Then I don't have to take any medicine?
      Doc Baker: For a little bite like that? No. Just rest in bed for a couple of days. That's my prescription--Doc Baker's magic formula!

    • Charles: (about not letting the kids keep the raccoon) You think I was wrong?
      Caroline: No, I thought what you said was very sensible.
      Charles: But you would just assume that I wouldn't be so sensible about this?
      Caroline: It's just that Laura's been missing her doll so much.....
      Charles: (pauses, smiles) All right. I can't have my women thinking I'm the meanest in Hero Township. But she's only gonna keep him for a little while.

    • Mary: (about the raccoon) Oh, but Pa, look how gentle he is! I wouldn't have brought him home for Laura if he was wild.
      Charles: Mary, he's gentle now because he's a baby. You wait and see--that animal will grow to be as big as a dog, and nowhere near as reliable. A raccoon like that could really hurt somebody.
      Laura: Well, if he grew up with us, he'd be tame.
      Charles: Half-Pint, if that raccoon was tame, he'd be the first tame raccoon I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a lot. Now, you heard what I said--take him outside and play with him for a little while, then set him loose.
      Mary: But Pa, he's just a baby!
      Laura: Yeah, like Carrie! You wouldn't leave Carrie all alone in the woods, would you?

    • Caroline: (about Laura, whose doll was shattered to pieces) She is an unhappy girl.
      Charles: Well, I'm afraid she's going to be just as unhappy tomorrow. There's no way I'm gonna be able to put this thing together. The big pieces are easy, but some of them are just as small as pieces of dust.
      Caroline: Mary feels just as bad. She threw the ball.
      Charles: It was just an accident.
      Caroline: Charles, do you think we could afford to....
      Charles: I'm sorry, Caroline. It's just--it's the winter money. There's never enough.
      Caroline: I know that.
      Charles: (takes her hand) You know I wish I could.
      Caroline: Of course I do.

  • Notes

    • When this episode was filmed, Melissa Gilbert (Laura) thought it would be her favorite one, since she got to work with a real live baby raccoon for several scenes. However, when the two-part episode The Lord is My Shepherd aired later that season, that ended up being her all-time favorite.

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

  • Allusions