Little House on the Prairie

Season 4 Episode 2

Times Of Change

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Sep 19, 1977 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: When Charles and Mary are in their hotel room, the bellhop shows Mary her room and says "and the bathroom is right through there." When back then they didn't use the term "bathroom", they would call it a "water closet."

    • Editing Goof: When Charles goes to the newspaper editor's office the second time, Michael Landon has already opened the door and is in the room before the actor playing the editor loudly says, "Come in!"

    • Early in the episode, Caroline tells 14-year-old Mary that she was just about her age when she went to a dance with Charles, and the two of them "barely knew each other then." However, in episodes like Season 1's The Love of Johnny Johnson and Season 4's I Remember, I Remember, it's clear that Caroline and Charles were much younger when they met--more like 9 or 10--and they had fallen in love by that time, so Caroline's story here doesn't quite match up with what has been said before about their romance.

    • The huge, lavish hotel room that Charles and Mary stay in looks like the exact same one that Laura and her niece Jenny get in Season 9's Once Upon a Time. Furthermore, the famous "fountain" is used as a prop in many of the Chicago scenes. Michael Landon loved to use this fountain over and over again throughout the series, whether the characters were visiting Minneapolis, Chicago, or some other large city.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Charles told his family that the trip was already paid for. When he arrived at the hotel, though, he was surprised to find a room had already been reserved for him. If he knew his costs were covered, why would he be surprised that a room was ready for him? Furthermore, he comes to realize at the end that these expensive accomodations and perks have been paid by a railroad tycoon, presumably to curry favor with him over the vote. If this is the case, what happened to the accomodations the Grange would have made for him?

    • The dress that Caroline takes out of the chest for Mary to wear to the cotillion looks different than the dress that Mary wears. Caroline's had flowers down the bodice of the dress, and the sleeves have 2 layers of puffiness to them. When Mary wears it, the sleeves aren't as puffy, and there is a bow instead of flowers.
      Reply: It's entirely possible that Caroline had to alter the dress to fit Mary, and while doing so, also "updated" the style of the dress by adding or removing certain materials/features.

  • Quotes

    • John: Here, you want to try some chewing gum? They just came out with it a few years ago.
      Mary: What do you do with it?
      John: Well, it's just like it sounds. You just chew it. But don't swallow it.
      Mary: Why? Is it poisonous?!?!

    • Mary: (reading a letter from John): "Recently, I attended a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. The melodies at the piano reminded me so much of you, my sweet Mary, and the peaceful surroundings of Walnut Grove. Mendelssohn's title no longer seemed appropriate, as the music had words flowing through my mind."
      Laura: He always writes such sloppy things! Falling in love is such a waste of time. I'm going to stay right here with Pa forever and ever!

    • Mary: I don't think I'll ever be happy again.
      Charles: Oh, yes, you will. You don't believe that now, but you wait and see. One of these days, this will all be over and forgotten. You'll meet a new beau, and you'll fall in love again.
      Mary: (starts crying) No, I won't. Love is too painful.
      Charles: Oh, come on. Shhh. (hugs her)
      Mary: Nothing makes sense anymore.
      Charles: Why don't we go home, huh? I just don't think you and I belong here.

    • Mary: (about John) I could learn to be what he wants. I could change, too.
      Charles: Oh, now, hold on. Change isn't always for the better. There's only one thing in this world that you can do better than anyone else.
      Mary: What's that?
      Charles: Just be yourself.
      Mary: It hurts too much to be yourself.
      Charles: Well, if you never felt a little bit of the pain of sorrow, then how would you ever know how good it feels to be happy?

    • Charles: (to Mary, who is pretending to be asleep after John broke up with her) I'm so sorry, darling. I wish there was something I could do.
      Mary: His letters.....I believed them.
      Charles: I know you did. But you know, sometimes things happen when there's a lot of distance between people. Maybe he just wrote you the things he thought you wanted to hear.
      Mary: But I feel the same, Pa. I love John.
      Charles: But he's not the same anymore, darling. He's changed, he's different. He's a city boy now, and he has different needs.

    • Charles: I've had a bad evening, young man, and right now I'm about as angry as I've ever been.
      John: I know, sir.
      Charles: All right. You know. What kind of game are you playing?
      John: It's not a game, sir. I didn't know you and Mary were coming.
      Charles: Oh, and I'm supposed to understand that? You're supposed to be engaged to my daughter. Do you love her?
      John: I care for her deeply.
      Charles: I asked you if you were in love with my daughter.
      John: (long silence) No, sir.
      Charles: How long have you known?
      John: I'm not sure. When you're far apart, it's easy to avoid knowing the truth. But seeing her again....I knew. And I did plan to tell her, but in a letter when she got back to Walnut Grove.
      Charles: When she got back to Walnut Grove. And I'm supposed to understand that, too?
      John: I'm a writer. The words come easier on paper.
      Charles: When you first told my daughter you loved her, did you write her a letter about it?
      John: This is different. I can't face her.
      Charles: John, Mary has a right to hear this from you. And she has the right to let you know how she feels. You owe her that much.

  • Notes

    • It's hard to believe that Mary hadn't heard of chewing gum. Chewing gum has been around since ancient times, and was first available commercially in 1848.

    • Viewers will notice that Ramades Pera (John Jr.) clearly experienced a growth spurt between his last appearance, in Season 3's I'll Ride the Wind and this episode. He's much taller, has a deep voice, and his hair is lighter. He looks so much older that it might seem that several years have passed since he last appeared, when in reality, only nine month's time elapsed between these two episodes.

    • Featured characters: Charles and Mary Ingalls

    • In keeping with the era in which the show was made, this episode had a subplot that more in line with the 1970s than the 1870s. Government regulation of businesses is a relatively new concept that gained popularity in the 1970's with issues such as consumer safety, worker protection, and environmental awareness.

    • Mike Lookinland, who is most famous for playing youngest son Bobby Brady on The Brady Bunch, appears briefly in this episode as the boy on the train who is immediately interested in Mary. Interestingly, Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) appeared in the 5th and final season of The Brady Bunch as a little girl that kisses Bobby and gives him the mumps.
      Reply: Lookinland isn't the only "Brady" connection here. Look quickly for the woman walking her dog outside the hotel in Chicago. That's veteran British character actress Barbara Morrison, a scene-stealer whenever she appeared. She played the drama coach of Greg Brady's girlfriend, Randi, in Season 2's Call Me Irresponsible on The Brady Bunch. Ms. Morrison died of heart failure in California in 1992, at the age of 85.

  • Allusions