Notice that Mary correctly refers to 'Thou shalt not bear false witness' as being the ninth commandment. But in season 5's "Harriet's Happenings", Charles mistakingly refers the same commandment as being the eight commandment. The eight commandment from the book of Exodus is 'Thou shalt not steal.'
Laura and Carrie appear briefly in the opening scene of the episode, but they do not have any speaking lines and are not seen again after that.
Goof: In the opening scene at the Ingalls' home, Reverend Alden, Charles and Caroline all refer to Mrs. Simms as Miss Beadle. They all seem to have forgotten that she was married three episodes earlier, in Here Come the Brides, and we know from later episodes that she definitely took her husband's last name.
In this episode, Mary has just about the most difficult first teaching job that a young girl can possibly have. Her experience is much more indicative of the one that the real Laura Ingalls had when she got her first job, although in Season 6's "Sweet Sixteen," Michael Landon chose to portray Laura's initial teaching position as a sunny and happy one.
The pivotal final scene of this episode marks one of the very few occasions where Mary really loses her cool. In a 2005 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) discussed this scene and admitted that she felt it was too overdone--although many fans believe that it was a testimony to Mary's typically hidden strength of character. Still, Anderson says she dislikes this episode and can't stand to watch her acting in that final scene.
Mrs. Fisher: Caleb said that's not a proper dress for teaching.
Mary: I know, but I happen to like it. (keeps walking)
Mary: (to a student who is goofing off in class) Go home.
Joshua: But my Pa said--
Mary: I don't care what your Pa said! I say go home!
Joshua: I don't--
Mary: Look, we are not here so you can goof around and make silly jokes. I'm here to teach, and these students are here to learn. You come back when you're ready to learn, and not before. And be here when the bell rings, or don't come at all!
Joshua: But my Pa told me--
Mary: You tell your Pa to come to me. I'll be glad to tell him why I sent you home. Go on, get!
Mary: We're gonna have a talk, Miss Peal. We can start now, or after the meeting.
Miss Peal: I have nothing to say to you, Jezebel!
Mary: Oh, but you have! You're going to tell me, and you're going to tell my father, and you're going to tell all these people how you dare to call me that!
This episode is loosely based on events in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "Those Happy Golden Years", although, in the book, it was Laura who had the experiences, not Mary. In the book, Laura went to her first teaching position 12 miles away from her town, and had some misgivings about the family she boarded with as well as the students. She returned home on a weekend distraught, but returned to the school and finished the job. The book was again revisited in the series during the end of the seventh season (the episode entitled "Sweet Sixteen" portrayed Laura's first teaching experience), although the storyline about her boarding family was not portrayed.
Anita Dangler (Miss Peel) went on to appear in one episode during Season 2 of 7th Heaven, another family-oriented television show that ran for over a decade (1996-2007). Dangler died of cancer in 2000, shortly after appearing on 7th Heaven.
Featured character: Mary Ingalls
Actress Michelle Downey, the blond-haired little girl who plays one of Mary's students (Sarah Miller) in this episode, went on to have a recurring role as Susan Goodspeed, one of Mary and Adam's blind students, in later seasons.
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