Little House on the Prairie

Season 5 Episode 18

The Sound Of Children

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 05, 1979 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Adam's father arrives in town upon hearing from Mary that she and Adam are expecting their first child. The prospect of a new grandchild adds hope that Adam's strained relationship with his father might be restored.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • There's plenty of sadness in this one and it comes from more than one quarter.

    Mary and Adam are overjoyed to learn that they are going to become parents. The idea of grandparenthood is pretty thrilling for Charles and Caroline as well.

    As the time moves along, Mary decides to contact Adam's estranged father whom Adam has not seen in a very long time. Needless to say, Adam is not pleased when his father turns up in Walnut Grove but things improve greatly when it's clear that the older man wishes to make amends to his son and get to know his daughter-in-law and grandchild. Adam is startled when his father wants them both to move to New York and live in luxury with him where Adam will study law.

    Both Mary and Adam are delighted to accept ... or are they? When Mary suffers a heartbreaking miscarriage, Adam's father suddenly has a change of heart and tells Adam that perhaps the move to New York wouldn't be such a good idea after all, making Adam realise that his father only ever wanted to have a sighted grandchild and was not interested in himself and Mary at all. He lies to Mary and tells her that it was he who changed his mind and learns that Mary secretly wanted to stay where she was anyway.moreless
  • Episode about loss, grief and a moving on.

    Mary learns she is going to have a baby. She has a hard time trying to tell Adam she is pregnant but finally gets the words out.

    Mary thinks this would be a good time for Adam to get to know his father again, since he is about to become a father himself. so she writes a letter and Adam's father comes for a visit, excited about the news. At first Adam is upset with Mary for inviting his father over, but changed his mind when his father seems to have changed his ways.

    When Mr.Kendall asks Mary and Adam to move to New York with they they accept. Mary tells Adam she will be happy to move to save him from the truth that she really does not want to go because she thinks this is what he wants.

    A broken hearted Eli does not want Mary to leave since she is like a mother to him.

    When Mary miscarries, the truth is learned that Adam's father only the baby to come to New York. Eli goes to a broken hearted Mary and tells her she can pretend to be his Momma.

    Adam saves Mary from the truth that his father only wanted to to move because of their baby. Endearing, loving scene in the end when Mary and Adam realize they still have each other and their school children to care for.moreless
  • Mary discovers she is pregnant and decide it's time for Adam to get closer to his father.

    The Ingall’s are filled with joy and excitement when Mary announces she is expecting a baby. With her impending birth, Mary decides it’s time for Adam and his own father to become closer.

    When Adam’s father arrives in Walnut Grove, he offers Adam a job in his prestigious law firm and a chance to move to the city.

    The Kendall’s decide to go to the big city.

    Mary suffers an emotional miscarriage, it is at this time the Kendall’s discover the only reason Adam’s father wanted them to move to the city and be closer to him was for the unborn baby Mary was carrying.

    After the miscarriage Mary and Adam are still going to the city, until Adam discovers his father no longer wants them to move closer to him. Adam saves Mary from this truth, they decide they are happier in Walnut Grove and decide to stay there.

    This episode is filled with emotion; love, loss, happiness and family closeness and values.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Matthew Laborteaux

Matthew Laborteaux

Albert Quinn Ingalls (1978 -1982)

Linwood Boomer

Linwood Boomer

Adam Kendall (1978 - 1981)

Ellen Regan

Ellen Regan

Miss Elliott

Guest Star

Philip Abbott

Philip Abbott

Giles Kendall

Guest Star

Martha Nix

Martha Nix


Guest Star

Ketty Lester

Ketty Lester


Recurring Role

Michelle Downey

Michelle Downey


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • When Adam and his father step outside to talk, young blind student Eli is out there by himself, picking flowers. Since all the other children are in class, why wouldn't he be, too? And why would he be unsupervised like that?

    • Early in the episode, when Mary is trying to tell Adam that she's pregnant, Eli walks in to get some tools to unlock Hester Sue from the water closet. After asking Eli what he is doing, Adam just kind of says, "Oh, okay," and calmly offers to help, but Eli says he can do it himself. In an emergency situation like that, why would both Mary and Adam step back and let a 7-year-old child do it alone?

    • A little girl named Holly pursues Albert in this episode, but she looks awfully young for him (think Laura and Johnny Johnson back in Season 1), and besides that, we don't see her ever again after this episode, at least as this character. She returns in Season 8's Gambini the Great, playing a girl named Amy, and that time, it was Albert pursuing her as she played "hard-to-get."

    • Miss Elliot is the third and final irregular teacher in Walnut Grove, who only steps in as a substitute for one episode. The only other teachers to do this were Caroline in Season 1's School Mom, then the coldhearted Mr. Applewood in Season 2's Troublemaker.

    • Miss Elliot appears to be staying in the Garveys' house in their absence, as she substitute teaches.

    • Early in the episode, Laura is extremely determined to be responsible for when the new teacher comes, as evidenced by her effort to boss the other children around and get them in their seats. This is the first time we see Laura act so "teacher-ese," and she only gets more eager about it in future seasons. Furthermore, the fact that she doesn't want to start off on the wrong foot with a new teacher is clearly a link to her awful experience with Mr. Applewood in Season 2's Troublemaker.

    • Mary is at least three months along in her pregnancy when Doc Baker confirms it to her, and yet she never even has the slightest bump. You'd think she'd at least have her blouse untucked to show that she is expecting, but she never does. Even though it's implied that she miscarries early, she never looked pregnant at all.

      Reply: It depends on a person's body type. Many woman do not start showing till they are four or four and a half months along. Also, she might have been showing a little bit, but her clothes hid her bump.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Giles: (after the miscarriage) How's Mary?
      Adam: Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Before she...before all this happened, we planned to tell you that we decided to take you up on your offer.
      Giles: Oh, well, don't worry about that. I wouldn't expect you to go now.
      Adam: Well, I thought so too, at first, but I'm beginning to think that the best thing for Mary would be a complete change.
      Giles: You mean, you're still thinking about going?
      Adam: The sooner, the better. I just can't stand to see her suffer like this.
      Giles: Yeah, well, Adam, um, there's more to think about than Mary's feelings. Law school is very difficult, even under the best of circumstances.
      Adam: Well, I've never been afraid of hard work.
      Giles: Well, it's just that there are other things to consider.
      Adam: (long pause) What things?
      Giles: Well, your wife, for one thing. New York can be a very lonely place.
      Adam: Mary will make new friends.
      Giles: But she'll be leaving her family here.
      Adam: I'm her family, and so are you.
      Giles: Well, I, I haven't got time to socialize. I'm very busy. Very.
      Adam: You know, all of a sudden, I'm hearing things that you didn't mention before. If you're having second thoughts, just say so.
      Giles: I'm not having second thoughts! It's just--
      Adam: It's what? You didn't think we had any problems before Mary lost the baby. Well, why now, Father? Why now? (long pause) It was the child, wasn't it? All this time, and it was the child. Answer me. You answer me, Father!
      Giles: All right, yes! Yes.
      Adam: (feels Giles' suitcase on the bed) Leaving so soon?
      Giles: Well, I've got to get back to court. It's a big case. It's a very big case. The stage leaves at 3:30. I was gonna come tell you, Adam.
      Adam: It's all right. I understand. (moves toward the door, looks back) You still can't stand to look at me, can you? Good bye, Father. (leaves)

    • Charles: (about Mary and Adam) I want them to make their own decision. I don't want to interfere.
      Caroline: You don't want them to go, do you?
      Charles: I just don't want to interfere. It's up to them. They'll do what they need to do.
      Caroline: That's why you've decided not to help Giles persuade them?
      Charles: It's just like I told you. I don't want to interfere.
      Caroline: I know what you've told me. Now, how about the truth?
      Charles: (pauses) If they go back east, we may never see them again. There's a good chance we may never see our first grandchild. Do you want them to go?
      Caroline: Of course not.
      Charles: Do you think that child's gonna be better off being raised in the city?
      Caroline: Nope.
      Charles: All right, then. We just won't say anything. It's their decision. We won't interfere. (Caroline turns to leave) I mean, if I was gonna say anything, I'd tell them to stay right here. He'd be a lot better off growing up here.
      Caroline: But it's their decision, so you won't interfere, right?
      Charles: Right.

    • Charles: (about Mary and Adam moving to New York) I imagine it's a pretty tough decision for Adam to make.
      Giles: It is. It really is. That's why I wanted to talk to you. I thought you'd be able to put in a good word for me.
      Charles: Well, I don't know if I should do that, Giles. I wouldn't want to interfere. It's not my place.
      Giles: Well, Mary's your daughter, and that's your grandchild she's carrying. You know, Charles, the city is the best place for a new life to be born. The best facilities. The best modern medicine.
      Charles: Well, I never knew we had any reason to doubt Doctor Baker.
      Giles: Well, no. No. But I'm also thinking of the future. Just imagine the opportunities I'll be able to provide the child. And my place is big enough for an army!
      Charles: Well, I'm sure it is, Giles. I just, I figured people shouldn't measure their happiness by the size of the room they're living in.
      Giles: Oh, well, I know, but you know, the people that you're with count for something, too. Our grandchild isn't going to be blind like the other children in that school. Maybe you're forgetting about that.
      Charles: No, I'm not forgetting.
      Giles: Then you'll put in a good word for me?
      Charles: I'm afraid I can't. When my children live under my roof, they do as I see fit. When they're on their own, they make their own decisions.

    • Giles: (has a bottle of wine with him when he has dinner with the Ingalls family) I brought you something special from New York. 1865!
      Carrie: That's older than me. Didn't they have any new ones?
      Giles: (laughs) Wine improves with age, my dear. I'll just take the cork off, and we'll let it breathe for a while.
      Carrie: (pauses) Mr. Kendall?
      Giles: Hmm?
      Carrie: It's not breathing. I think it's dead.

    • Mary: (about moving to New York so Adam can be a lawyer) It is the chance of a lifetime.
      Adam: I suppose.
      Mary: It is, and you know it. It's what you want.
      Adam: All we've talked about is my future and our child's future. I want to know how you feel. What do you want?
      Mary: We aren't like most people, Adam. Walnut Grove is in my mind, not my eyes. I won't ever lose that. As long as I'm with you, it doesn't matter where I live.
      Adam: What about your family?
      Mary: That isn't easy, but...I have to put our family first.
      Adam: I'll make you proud of me.
      Mary: I always have been.
      Adam: And we can always come back if things don't work out.
      Mary: What can go wrong? You had to learn before you could teach. Is law school so different?

    • Mary: Adam, I'm going to have a baby.
      Adam: (preoccupied) All right, don't start without me. (stops cold, turns around and walks up to her) Wait, what did you say?

    • Eli: You better come right away, Mr. Kendall. The handle fell off the door, and Miss Terhoun is hopping mad!
      Adam: Miss Terhoun does have a way with words, although I don't expect you should be hearing them at your age......

    • Adam: (about his father) Mary, you just don't know what he's like.
      Mary: That's not my fault. You never want to talk about it! What did he do to you?
      Adam: Nothing. Not one thing to me or for me, ever since the accident! It was like I didn't exist anymore.
      Mary: Maybe your father needs some of that patience that you show to your students. Where would I be now without it?
      Adam: The problem is that you think every single father in the world is just like yours. Mine isn't.

    • Albert: The new teacher hasn't even gotten here yet.
      Laura: All the more reason to be prepared when she does. I'm not starting off on the wrong foot with a new teacher.
      Nellie: (to Willie) She's right, you know.
      Willie: I don't see why it matters what foot I start off on. I always end up in the corner, standing on both feet!

    • Doc Baker: (about Mary) I've given her something to ease the pain. She's going to be fine. Giles: And the baby? Doc Baker: Not this time. (turns to Adam) I'm sorry, Adam. Giles; You should have gotten here sooner. Doc Baker: It wouldn't have mattered. Nature had already decided it wasn't her time. Giles: But we just had dinner last night. She was fine. Doc Baker: I know it's difficult, Mr. Kendall, but there will be other babies. Better that it happened now than later.

    • Mary: Eli, I really don't feel much like talking right now.
      Eli: That's okay. You can just listen. (sits down next to her) Miss Terhoun told us you're not going to have a baby no more, and I'm really sorry, because I know how much you wanted one. And then I got to thinking, since I don't have a family of my own, maybe I could be your little boy. I know I'm not a baby no more, but you can't see me, you could pretend I am. Remember when I told you about my my sister? I know my mama didn't want me. Well, ever since I came here, I've been wishing you were my mama. And I thought that since we both need someone so bad, we could just pretend.
      Mary: Eli, I--
      Eli: Please don't say no right off. I'd be less trouble than a real baby, and if you give me a chance, I promise I'll try real hard to be what you want. You wouldn't be sorry.

    • Caroline: (with Mary after she lost her baby) Here, Mary. Have some soup. It's best for you.
      Mary: I'm not hungry.
      Caroline: Mary, I understand how you're feeling--
      Mary: No! No, you don't understand! You don't understand what it's like to never see the trees, or the sky, or to see your baby's first smile. And then to find out you're never going to have that baby....
      Caroline: Mary--
      Mary: How much more do I have to take? Dear God, how much more do I have to take?

  • NOTES (2)

    • This is yet another episode where historical chronology didn't seem to matter to the writers. Adam tells his students that they're going to begin studying "all nineteen presidents". Rutherford B. Hayes was our 19th president, but his term ended on March 4,1881. The Odyssey,, which originally aired just a few weeks after this one, took place after 1887. It's hard to believe that six years could have passed between the two shows.

    • Featured characters: Mary and Adam Kendall, with a small subplot involving Albert Ingalls