Created by TV legend Michael Landon, who also starred as Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie is one of the most beloved family shows.
Created by TV legend Michael Landon, who also starred as Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie is one of the most beloved family shows of all time. Based on the “Little House” series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the TV series was notorious for emotionally charged episodes that often left viewers in tears.
Episodes were stuffed with hugs, kisses, triumphs, tragedies and life lessons that could reduce an otherwise restrained viewer to a blubbering mess. Here are 10 episodes of Little House On The Prairie that will make you cry.
Against his better judgment, Pa allows Laura to keep an orphaned raccoon which she names Jasper. The animal causes more trouble than he’s worth but ultimately becomes part of the family.
Jasper bites the Ingalls loyal dog Jack after feeling threatened and also bites Laura during the fracas. The animal runs away but appears to come back a few nights later, at which point Charles kills him after the raccoon attacks. Further investigation reveals the dead raccoon to be rabid which means both Laura and Jack could have rabies. A week later Charles reluctantly goes to the barn with his shotgun after hearing Jack barking wildly – a sign the disease has arrived. Charles discovers Jack was actually barking at Jasper who had returned, meaning the dead raccoon was an imposter. The family tearfully celebrates with hugs and laughter.
Laura is jealous of her newly adopted “brother” – an orphan named Albert. Pa seems to be spending all his time with the boy and Laura feels left out. After gifting Albert a bull calf he calls Fagin, Laura completely turns on him, wishing that he never came to live with the family.
Feeling guilty about causing trouble between Laura and her Pa, Albert runs away. Charles searches but is unable to track him down. Laura and Pa eventually bring Fagin to the county fair where he is entered in a competition and wins. While accepting the award Laura tells the crowd the prize really belongs to Albert, whom she finally refers to as her brother. Surprisingly, Albert had been watching the competition and finally reveals himself after hearing Laura’s acceptance speech. They embrace and everyone goes home together.
Laura is nervous about an essay she has to read in front of her class on parents night. Her mother encourages Laura to simply do her best, noting that no one expects her essay to be like Mary’s until she’s older.
After Laura reads a seemingly well-written essay about her wonderful mother it is revealed that the story was from memory and her essay contained only brief sentences about Ma. After discovering the truth Laura’s mother encourages her to show the real essay to her teacher, Ms. Beadle -who smiles thoughtfully upon seeing the actual writing and tells a beaming Laura to keep up the good work.
CHRISTMAS AT PLUM CREEK
While everyone else is excited as Christmas approaches, Laura has the holiday blues because she has no money to buy her Ma a Christmas gift. She eventually works out a deal with the town’s kindly shopkeeper, Mr. Oleson.
On Christmas morning Caroline is shocked after opening a brand new stove from Laura who confesses to trading her beloved horse, Bunny to Mr. Oleson in exchange for the stove. It gets worse for Laura after she opens a gift from Pa – a saddle he made for the horse. While sad for their daughter, Charles and Caroline are extremely touched at the sacrifice Laura made.
I’LL BE WAVING AS YOU DRIVE AWAY
Often cited as the best episode in the series the season four finale deals with Mary’s blindness. With dreams of becoming a teacher and marrying her sweetheart, Mary’s eyesight begins to deteriorate. The Ingalls worse fears are confirmed when an eye doctor informs them Mary is going blind. In Little House’s most chilling moment Mary soon wakes up screaming for her Pa, terrified to be completely blind.
The Ingalls send Mary to a special school for the blind where she slowly comes to grips with her condition. She meets a caring teacher, Adam Kendall, who will later become her husband. Mary eventually returns home but only to say goodbye, since she is joining Adam in Winoka, South Dakota to teach at his blind school.