Little House on the Prairie

Season 3 Episode 17

To Live With Fear (1)

4
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 14, 1977 on NBC
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
112 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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To Live With Fear (1)
AIRED:
After being kicked in the stomach by one of the family's horses, Mary insists that she is fine, but she actually has internal injuries that worsen over time. Unable to be properly treated by Doc Baker, she is hospitalized in Rochester, where she must undergo surgery. As if this weren't stressful enough, Charles and Caroline are in a position where they may not be able to afford the mounting hospital bills.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • When Mary is accidently kicked in the stomach by a horse, it seems as though everything is fine, but that is not the case, as the family soon finds out ...moreless

    9.0
    A kick in the stomach by a cow leaves Mary winded and bruised but she appears to be fine and everyone is sure that there is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, they are very wrong, and when Doc Baker discovers signs of internal bleeding and realises that he does not have the euipment to treat her, she has to be hospitalised in Rochester for surgery and recovery.



    The big problem for Charles and Caroline, apart from the fact that their daughter is gravely ill, is the fact that the hospital bills cost a fortune and, in the end, they refuse to treat Mary any further until they receive more money. (Shameful!!!!)



    Mary needs more surgery, but how in the world is it to be paid for?



    Watch Part 2 and see what happens.moreless
  • A good story and nice historical detail to add realism.

    8.9
    The Ingalls must face the consequences of a severe injury to their daughter Mary.



    This is probably my favorite episode featuring grave illness. In many ways I think it exceeds "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" in realism, and at the same time sets up a sense of suspense. I have to admit that part 2 of this story is not as interesting to me, probably because the idea of Charles working away from home in a dangerous job was already done a couple of times in the series by this time.



    What I liked about this entry was the good historical accuracy. Mary's injuries are internal, a real problem for people of the time. The operating scenes are fairly faithful to the period and even illustrate the use of drops of chlorofrom dripped on a rag by the anesthesiologist. The allusions to Rochester, MN's Mayo Clinic are interesting if not really true, and the scenes of Charles battling with the hospital administrator over the bill are nicely done and still ring a bell today. Even the time of the travel from Springfield to Rochester by train is about right, at 20-30 miles an hour and with a stop in Mankato, it would take about 8-10 hours. Travel details in "Little House on the Prairie" could be inaccurate at times.



    The reactions of the family and their concern are true to the series, and as an added bonus, there is a first foreshadowing of the financial troubles of Walnut Grove and its reliance on the success of the farmers of Hiro Township's crops -- it is revealed that Sprague and the bank are gone, implying that loans made had little hope of being repaid.



    A nice example of rural life in the 1870s with good acting and drama layered in.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

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

Karl Swenson

Karl Swenson

Mr. Lars Hanson (1974 - 1978)

Darrell Zwerling

Darrell Zwerling

Horace Benson

Guest Star

Naomi Ross

Naomi Ross

Nurse Johnson

Guest Star

Sheldon Coburn

Sheldon Coburn

Dr. Washburn

Guest Star

Victor French

Victor French

Mr. Isaiah Edwards (guest star prior to season 2)

Recurring Role

Ivan Bonar

Ivan Bonar

Dr. Mayes

Recurring Role

Brian Part

Brian Part

Carl Edwards

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (8)

    • This episode marks the second time that Jack, the family dog, has spooked another animal so badly that it injured one of the Ingalls girls. The first time was in Season 1's The Raccoon, when Jack barked wildly at Jasper, causing him to bite Laura.

    • In this episode, Grace Snider and Laura have a heart-to-heart talk, just the two of them. Actress Bonnie Bartlett (Grace) has said that these scenes with Laura were among her very favorites.

    • In a previous interview, Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) joked that when this episode aired on television during her adulthood, she was flipping channels with her young daughter Piper, and she couldn't for the life of her remember what Mary was in the hospital for. "All of a sudden, I saw myself packed in ice, and I couldn't remember why!" laughed Anderson.

    • With this episode, all of the Ingalls family members have been in near-death situations. Charles Jr. died in Season 1's The Lord Is My Shepherd, Laura had a dangerous raccoon bite in Season 1's The Raccoon, Caroline had a major infection in her leg in Season 2's A Matter of Faith, Carrie fell in a mine shaft and almost died earlier in this Season 3's Little Girl Lost, Charles was accidentally shot with a gun by Laura in Season 3's The Hunters, and now Mary faces major surgery after being kicked in the stomach by a horse.

    • It was a bit unprofessional of Doc Baker to not only run and tell the Church congregation that Mary was seriously ill, but also inform them that the Ingalls couldn't afford the bills and to request a donation for them. Even though everyone was very kind, generous, and understanding about it, most doctors are not that quick to conceal personal information about patients and their families.

    • When Mary gets kicked by the horse at the beginning of the episode, Charles--who was washing up by the creek--ran to the barn, screaming her name over and over. It's very unlikely that Caroline and Laura did not hear him and come bolting out, especially since Charles ran right past the house.

    • When Charles comes home from Rochester to try and find some money for Mary's hospital bills, he is practically on his feet begging Mr. Hanson to purchase his entire farm and everything he owns, but Mr. Hanson is not in a financial position to do so. Mr. Hanson then goes on to say that he can't think of anyone around who would be able to offer that much money. If Charles was that frantically desperate, why didn't he at least try going to Nels Oleson? Harriet may have been difficult about it, but they had more money than Mr. Hanson, and probably could have at least given Charles something. Charles may have been uncomfortable doing so, but certainly this was a time where he was not concerned about his pride.

    • It is revealed in this episode that "two years of bad crops" have forced the bank to close and that banker Ebenezer Sprague has left Walnut Grove.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Charles: I should have taken care of that horse myself. This never would have happened.
      Caroline: Charles, it's not your fault!
      Charles: Oh, of course it is. She didn't have any pain before.
      Caroline: If it was, then it was an accident, pure and simple.

    • Carrie: I want to lick the bowl!
      Laura: No, I'm going to lick the bowl!
      (girls bicker back and forth)
      Caroline: That's all right, girls, I'll lick the bowl.

    • Laura: (about Mary) I was hoping there'd be a letter today. You don't suppose that--
      Grace: I suppose that everything is exactly the way it should be. Until we hear different, there's no use worrying.
      Laura: I've been having the most awful dreams.
      Grace: (gently) Forget them, Laura. Dreams are just ideas we think up while we're sleeping.

    • Mr. Benson: This hospital is for paying patients only. This will hardly cover her bill.
      Charles: I know that. That's why I'm giving you my personal word that I'm going to go home and sell my farm, and I'll pay you.
      Mr. Benson: Mr. Ingalls, it is not the policy of this institution to extend credit.
      Charles: I'm not talking about policy here, Mr. Benson. I'm talking about my daughter's life.
      Mr. Benson: I'm sorry, you don't understand--
      Charles: I do understand, and you're not sorry! But you're gonna be if you don't sign this paper. I'll pay you, Mr. Benson. I swear to God I will.
      Mr. Benson: (after signing document) I will expect payment at the end of the month, or the court will overrule this paper.
      Charles: You'll get your money. (quickly walks out)

    • Doc Baker: Laura, if you look on my desk, there might be a few sourballs left.
      Laura: Can I take one for Carrie, too?
      Doc Baker: Sure.
      Charles: Doc, if you keep handing out all this candy, you'll have more patients than you'll know what to do with.
      Doc Baker: Well, that's the secret of my success, Charles. If they don't get a stomachache, I get to work on their teeth!

  • NOTES (2)

    • Ivan Bonar, who played Mary's doctor, later went on to portray the head of the orphanage where the Olesons adopted Nancy in Season 8's "The Reincarnation of Nellie."

    • Larry Germain was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts for this 2-part episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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