Little House on the Prairie

Season 4 Episode 19

The Stranger

1
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 20, 1978 on NBC
7.2
out of 10
User Rating
58 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
An work-obsessed man, who is unable to pay any attention to his son Peter's troubling behavior, sends the boy to his cousin Nels Oleson for the summer. The idea is to expose Peter to some human values that were representative of his father's childhood, but with Harriet's constant pampering and Peter's self-pitying attitude, Nels decides that Charles is a better candidate for this job. Charles does what he can to support and guide the child, but the real challenge will be getting through to Peter's father, the only man capable of saving his son.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

Sunday
No results found.
Monday
11:00am
INSP
Tuesday
11:00am
INSP
SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A nephew of Mr. Olson’s comes for a visit to try to learn some morals. Mr. Olson ends up sending the child to Charles. Charles has the child help him on the farm. After being with the Ingalls, he learns how he should behave.moreless

    8.2
    The Olsen’s wealthy nephew, Peter comes to stay with them, after being expelled from his boarding school for stealing and cheating, He comes to Walnut Grove so that he can experience the life that his father did as a young boy living on a farm. His father hoped that farm life might teach the boy some values. But the Olsen’s life isn't quite the same, Mr Olsen tries his best and Mrs. Olsen babies him. When he busts out a store window, it's the last straw for Mr. Olsen, and Charles agrees to let the boy stay with him and work off the amount needed to pay for the window. This is more of the life his father wanted him to get a taste of. Under the positive guidance and strict discipline of Charles young Peter changes over the summer and grows into a fine young man. When Peter’s father comes to pick him up, the meeting does not go smoothly; Mr Ingalls’ has a talk to Peter’s fathers. The father and son reconcile and decide to stay on in Walnut Grove for while to rebuild their father / son relationship.moreless
  • Nels cousin sends his pampered and indulged young son to Walnut Grove for the Summer to help the boy learn real values but with Harriet's interference, the Oleson's aren't up to the job.moreless

    8.0
    Nels is surprised to learn from his immensely wealthy cousin that he wants his young son, Peter, to spend the Summer in Walnut Grove to learn the true value of having so much. Nels is more than willing but Harriet, seeing nothing but dollar signs, as usual, spoils the boy shamelessly and they get nowhere. Enter Charles who takes Peter to his place to work for him for several weeks. The spoiled youngster is made to work like a man and sleep in the barn. It turns out that the boy loves being a part of the Ingalls family, and adores spending time with Charles in particular as his own father never has any time for him. Charles even teaches him to swim but when his father comes to collect him, it turns out that not only Peter has lessons to learn.moreless
  • A wealthy man obsessed with his work doesn't have the resources to deal with his troubled son, but maybe a certain Charles Ingalls from Walnut Grove does! A likable episode with even more likable morals attached.moreless

    8.0
    In the classic tradition of "Little House on the Prairie" (namely in its earlier seasons), this was a very heartfelt and well-written episode that even managed to mainstream some "outside" characters into the plot without deviating too much from the typical goings-on in Walnut Grove. Not all the episodes in this series were child-friendly, but this one will make a wonderful hour of family viewing, and it's got a solid message or two for all audiences--kids and adults alike.



    The story opens with a widowed father and child that we have never seen before. Mr. Lundstrom is a workaholic who doesn't have much extra time for his young son Peter. Unsure of how to handle Peter's recent expulsion from school, the man ultimately decides that a summer on the prairie (which is where he himself grew up years ago) would be just the ticket to "teach the boy some values," but if he were to be completely honest, most of it is an underlying plan to avoid having to deal with the kid himself (and Peter knows it). From there, Mr. Lundstrom gets in touch with a distant cousin from Minnesota--who just happens to be our beloved Nels Oleson--and arranges for Peter to pay an extended visit from Walnut Grove. It quickly becomes evident that the wealthy Olesons are not the right people to give Peter much of what his father has in mind, so after a week or two, Nels sends him off to the Ingalls homestead, where Charles completes the job himself. Aside from being taught some real work ethic, Peter learns to be a truly happy, humble, and pleasurable child, but there's really only one person capable of giving him the long-term help he needs, and that's the distant father who is essentially letting someone else (in this case, Charles) handle the bulk of his parenting work for him.



    It really is a beautiful episode that allows a troubled relationship between father and son to evolve through the realization that in the end, there's more to life than just deciding that kids needs "good values" and placing them in an atmosphere where they can obtain them. There is love, as Charles says, and in the end, you can't substitute anything for quality time spent with your children. Charles' methods of straightening out Peter's attitude are a simple, yet valuable lesson for any parent. Raising a family is never easy, not even in the pioneer days, but it can be done the right way when time is put into it.



    Aside from the nice scenes between Charles and Peter, as well as the moments with Peter and his father, there was some great comedy involved with the Oleson family. I absolutely loved the part where Harriet ordered Willie a fancy Church outfit exactly like Peter's, and Willie used some impressive resourcefulness to ditch the clothes without making it look like his fault. It was the kind of thing that only Willie Oleson could pull off with such ease and hilarity! Harriet's constant pampering with Peter in the earlier scenes are also entertaining, serving as a humorous contrast to what Charles Ingalls achieves by episode's end. It was all summed up when Harriet asked what some "dirt poor people" like the Ingalls could give to Peter, and Nels responded with a simple "Just about everything, Harriet." That certainly is the truth!



    If you're looking for a sweet, poignant episode of "Little House" that is appropriate for the whole family, here's a great one to consider, with solid acting performances all around and a powerful lesson for everyone who watches! 8/10moreless
  • A lesson is learned by a boy who is sent to work off a debt at Charles' farm. The boy broke a window and in order to pay for it he has to work off his debt with Charles and is subject to his form of strict discipline.moreless

    8.6
    A good episode that shows how Charles is able to relate to boys who need a firm hand. Charles was able to deal with Nels nephew as he needed to be dealt with and teach him life lessons. A good episode that teaches children that actions can have unpleasant consequesnces.
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Charlotte Stewart

Charlotte Stewart

Miss Eva Beadle/Mrs. Simms (1974 - 1978)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Alison Arngrim

Alison Arngrim

Nellie Oleson/Dalton (1974 - 1981)

Nehemiah Persoff

Nehemiah Persoff

Mr. Lundstrom

Guest Star

Michael Sharrett

Michael Sharrett

Peter Lundstrom

Guest Star

Cicely Walper

Cicely Walper

Mrs. Caldwell

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Mrs. Oleson: Oh my goodness, your poor hands! They're all blistered!
      Peter: Better on the hands than on the behind. That's what Uncle Charles says! (Charles looks really embarrassed)

    • Charles: Your uncle packed some work clothes for you. Hurry up and change, and I'll meet you downstairs.
      Peter: I prefer to wear I have on.
      Charles: Well, I don't prefer it. And you work for me--as long as you do, you do what I say.
      Peter: And if I don't?
      Charles: Well, then I'm gonna have to bare your bottom and give you a whipping.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Actor Michael Sharrett (Peter) later went on to star in Wes Craven's Deadly Friend, which also starred Matthew Laborteaux (Albert Ingalls).

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

More
Less