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Season 4

4.01 Castoffs  (68)

4.02 Times Of Change  (69)

4.03 My Ellen  (70)

4.04 The Handyman  (71)

4.05 The Wolves  (72)

4.06 The Creeper Of Walnut Grove  (73)

4.07 To Run And Hide  (74)

4.08 The Aftermath  (75)

4.09 The High Cost Of Being Right  (76)

4.10 The Fighter  (77 - 1½ hours)

4.11 Meet Me At The Fair  (78)

4.12 Here Come The Brides  (79)

4.13 Freedom Flight  (80)

4.14 The Rivals  (81)

4.15 Whisper Country  (82)

4.16 I Remember, I Remember  (83)

4.17 Be My Friend  (84 - 1½ hours)

4.18 The Inheritance  (85)

4.19 The Stranger  (86)

4.20 A Most Precious Gift  (87)

4.21 I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away: Part I  (88)

4.22 I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away: Part II  (89)

Season 4 DVD cover

Starring: Michael Landon (1-11,13-221), Karen Grassle (1-11,13-221), Melissa Gilbert (1-6,8-14,152,16-221), Melissa Sue Anderson3 (1-8,10-221), Lindsay Sidney Greenbush4 (1-8,10-14,152,16-221). Executive Producer: Michael Landon. Produced by John Hawkins (1,3,5,7,9,10,13,15,17,19,20), William F. Claxton (2,4,6,8,11,12,14,16,18,21,22). Developed for Television by Blanche Hanalis. Based Upon the "Little House" Series of Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Town: Richard Bull (Mr. Oleson 1,3-8,10-13,17-19,205,22), Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden 1,3,6,8,15,18,21,22), Kevin Hagen (Dr. Baker 1,3-8,10,13,17,18,20-22), Jim Jeter (Dorfler 1), Katherine MacGregor6 (Mrs. Oleson 1,3-7,10-13,17-22), Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle/Mrs. Simms7 1,6,8,12,14,18,20,22), Karl Swenson (Mr. Hanson 5,6,8,10,18,21,22).

John Hawkins (Executive Story Consultant), John T. Dugan (Story Consultant 14-22), David Rose (Music), Kent McCray (Associate Producer), Ted Voigtländer A.S.C. (Director of Photography 1,3,5,7,9,108,13,15,17,19,20), Haskell Boggs A.S.C. (Director of Photography 2,4,6,8,11,12,14,16,18,21,22), Walter M. Jefferies (Art Director), John Loeffler (Editor 1,3,5,7,9,10,13,14,16,189,20,22), Jerry Taylor (Editor 2,4,6,8,11,12,15,17,189,19,21), Don Webb (Set Decoration 1-9,12,14-17,20-22), Morey Hoffman (Set Decoration 10,11,13), Dennis Peeples (Set Decoration 18,19), Miles S. Middough (Assistant Director 1,3,5,7,9,10,13,15,17,19,20), Maury Dexter (Assistant Director 2,4,6,8,11,12,14,16,18,21,22), Susan Sukman10 (Casting), Marvin Coil A.C.E. (Supervising Editor), Allan Snyder S.M.A. (Makeup), Gladys Witten (Hair Stylist 1-8), Larry Germain C.H.S. (Hair Stylist 9-22), Andy Matyasi (Men's Costumer), Richalene Kelsay (Women's Costumer), Vince Gutierrez (Sound Effects Editor 18-22), Edna Bullock (Music Editor), Edward P. Ancona Jr. (Color Consultant), Barry D. Thomas (Sound Recording 1-13), Dave Dockendorf (Sound Recording 1,2), Gordon Day (Sound Recording 3-22), Frank Meadows (Sound Recording 14-22), Reid Rummage (Second Assistant Director 18-22), Gary L. Wohlleben (Production Controller 18-22), Photographed with Panavision Equipment®, Processed by Consolidated Film Industries, Sound by Glen Glenn Sound, An NBC Production In Association with Ed Friendly.

Copyright © MCMLXXVII [1977] by National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (1-13)
Copyright © MCMLXXVIII [1978] by National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (14-22)

1 Credited across all episodes, but only appears in those indicated.
2 Only appears in long-shot in episode 15, possibly a double.
3 Melissa Sue Anderson for nominated for an Emmy for her work on this season. She lost to Sada Thompson from Family.
4 Carrie is played jointly by twin actresses Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush.
5 Only appears in long-shot in episode 20.
6 aka Scottie MacGregor.
7 Billed as "Mrs. Simms" from episode 14 onwards.
8 Ted Voigtländer won an Emmy for his cinematography for episode 10.
9 Some copies of episode 18 credit John Loeffler; some, Jerry Taylor.
10 aka Susan McCray.

Castoffs

Episode# 4.01 (68)
Written by Tony Kayden
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast September 12, 1977, NBC

Guest Star: Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey)1. Special Guest Star: Hermione Baddeley (Kezia). Featuring: John Brandon (Freighter), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert2 (Willie Oleson), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey)1. Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster)3.

1 This is the first episode for Merlin Olsen as Jonathan Garvey and Hersha Parady as Alice Garvey.
2 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).
3 Uncredited on episode's titles.

Kezia Horn, an eccentric old woman, has set up home in a ruined house in the center of town. The kids befriend her but the adults take against her. Back at home, Jack the dog has died and, by chance, Charles returns with a stray dog who has followed him. Laura feels guilty that she neglected Jack and refuses to bond with the new dog. Kezia makes Laura understand that the new dog is only after a bit of love. Consequently, Laura has a change of heart and starts to warm to the new dog, now called Bandit. Meanwhile, Kezia, feeling unwelcome, is leaving town, but Laura makes the adults change their attitude towards her.

Kezia with pet crow
Laura and stray dog Bandit

Times Of Change

Episode# 4.02 (69)
Written by Carole and Michael Raschella
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast September 19, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Radames Pera (John)1, John Milford (O'Connell), Herbert Nelson (Hancock). Co-Starring: Lisa Reeves (Claire Lawrence), Paula Shaw (Angela), Richard Stanley (Wesley Cox), Mike Lookinland (Boy on Train), Bernie Kuby (Conductor). Featuring: William Mullikin (Hotel Clerk), Hank Stohl (Reporter), Michael Dan Wagner (Chairman), Joe Medalis (Train Waiter), Len Lawson (Bellboy), Barbara Morrison (Dowager). Maggie Munro (City Girl)2.

1 This is the last episode for Radames Pera as John Jr., though the character's death is investigated in Chicago in Season 8.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; this entry has been taken from the Internet Movie Database and has not been verified.

Charles travels to Chicago for a Grange meeting and takes Mary with him so she can see her boyfriend John, a reporter in the city. Upright Charles finds the behind-the-scenes politics at the Grange distasteful and makes an angry speech to that effect. At a later grand ball, Charles discovers that John is two-timing Mary, and the pair subsequently break up. Both father and daughter return to Walnut Grove in somber moods.

Charles lets rip at the Grange
A heartbroken Mary

My Ellen

Episode# 4.03 (70)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast September 26, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: James Wainwright (Cal Taylor), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Special Guest Star: Corinne Michaels1 (Eloise Taylor). Co-Starring: Ken Johnson (Busby), Mia Bendixsen (Ellen Taylor). Featuring: Bryce Berg (Jason), Matthew Roberts (Tommy).

1 aka Corinne Camacho.

Eleven-year-old Ellen Taylor accidentally drowns while swimming with the Ingalls girls. Her mother, deranged with sorrow, begins to imagine Laura is her dead daughter and imprisons the girl in her basement. A missing local misfit called Busby is adjudged responsible for Laura's disappearance and the menfolk begin a search. When Busby is located, he makes a run for it and is shot and injured. Meanwhile, Laura takes advantage of a lapse in concentration by Mrs. Taylor and manages to escape.

The girls go skinny-dipping but tragedy strikes
Mrs. Taylor mistakes Laura for her dead daughter

The Handyman

Episode# 4.04 (71)
Written by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast October 3, 1977, NBC

Guest Star: Gil Gerard (Chris Nelson). Special Guest Appearance: Hermione Baddeley (Kezia). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Charles is called away on work and a handsome young live-in handyman, Chris Nelson, steps up to complete an extension on the Ingalls' house. Soon tongues are wagging that the relationship between Nelson and Caroline is not exactly platonic. Mary misunderstands several incidents and tells Nelson that she wants him to leave, and he does so realizing that he is indeed beginning to fall for Caroline to some degree.

Handyman Chris Nelson, played by Gil Gerard
Caroline Ingalls - behaving herself?

The Wolves

Episode# 4.05 (72)
Written by Lawrence M. Konner
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast October 17, 1977, NBC

Guest Star: Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Co-Starring: Don "Red" Barry (Larabee). Featuring: Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey)1, Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jack Lilley (First Man).

1 This is the first episode for Patrick Laborteaux as Andy Garvey.

Laura and Andy find an injured mother wolf and her cubs and take them back to the Ingalls' barn. The kids and Jack the dog – alone at home – are attacked by a pack of wild dogs and barricade themselves in the barn. Jack is dispatched to fetch help and brings back Mr. Garvey and a gang of menfolk. By now, the wild dogs have tunneled into the barn but are kept at bay by the presence of the mother wolf. The men shoot the dogs. The wolf family are released back into the wild.

Laura and Andy with the cubs
Mary fights off the dogs

The Creeper Of Walnut Grove

Episode# 4.06 (73)
Written by John T. Dugan
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast October 24, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Bernard Behrens (Bailey), Johnny Doran (Timothy), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Featuring: Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Andy Garvey and Laura become detectives to solve a series of burglaries in Walnut Grove. But they merely manage to annoy everybody with their bungled attempts to catch the thief, one of which ends up with Charles covered in green paint. Eventually, it is discovered that a boy called Timothy was the burglar all along, stealing to support himself and his ill father.

Andy Garvey, super-sleuth
Charles covered in green paint

To Run And Hide

Episode# 4.07 (74)
Written by John T. Dugan
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast October 31, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Collin Wilcox1 (Beth Novack), Burr DeBenning (Dr. Logan), Michael Pataki (Stanley Novack), Kevin Hagen (Dr. Baker). Co-Starring: Eddie Quillan (Jed Haney). Featuring: Queenie Smith (Mrs. Whipple).

1 aka Collin Wilcox Paxton.

When Dr. Baker is unable to save a patient, he feels incompetent and resigns. While he struggles trying his hand out at farming, a new physician, Dr. Logan, replaces him. However, Dr. Logan proves to be ill-tempered and has no compassion for his patients, prompting Charles to go all out to convince Baker that he is a capable doctor and that the people of the town really do need him.

Doctor Hiram Baker, played by Kevin Hagen
Doctor Baker bids farewell to his surgery

The Aftermath

Episode# 4.08 (75)
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast November 7, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Michael Conrad (Broder), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey), Dennis Rucker (Dankworth [Jesse James]), Frank Marth (Lewis Ford), John Bennett Perry (Hobbs [Frank James]). Co-Starring: Tony Markes (Bob Ford). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Troy Melton (Ned Watkins), Henry Wills (Turner), Bill Shannon (Slade). Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster)2.

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).
2 Uncredited on episode's titles.

Outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James arrive in Walnut Grove fleeing from the law. They adopt false names, rent a house, and co-opt a flattered Mary as an errand girl. A group of bounty hunters arrive in town looking to return with the pair, dead, for the money. As insurance, the Jameses take Mary hostage. While Jonathan Garvey leads the bounty hunters on a wild goose chase, Charles warns the brothers to take flight, not wanting them or Mary to be killed.

The James brothers
Guess who's at school in Walnut Grove?

The High Cost Of Being Right

Episode# 4.09 (76)
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast November 14, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey). Co-Starring: Eddie Quillan (Judge Picker). Featuring: Carl Pitti (Silas), Alex Sharp (Sloan), Hal Burton (Harris), Dick Durock (Sharp), Denver Mattson (Wiggins).

When the Garveys' barn burns down and they lose their entire harvest, Alice wants to take a job at the post office to bring in some money, but Jonathan believes that it's a man's role to support his family and so he forbids it. Their disagreement grows to the point where they attend a court hearing to get a divorce. However, as they appear before the judge, the ridiculousness of their squabble dawns on them and they make up.

Jonathan Garvey, played by Merlin Olsen
Alice Garvey, played by Hersha Parady

The Fighter

Episode# 4.10 (77)1 – 1½ hours
Teleplay by Michael Landon, story by Lawrence M. Konner
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast November 21, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Raymond St. Jacques (Moody), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Special Guest Star: Moses Gunn (Joe Kagan)2. Co-Starring: Ketty Lester3 (Janie Kagan), Paul Bryar (Jake Barky), Daryl Roach (Tim Kagan). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert4 (Willie Oleson), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey), Justin Moses (Little Tim), Sandy Rosenthal (Reporter), Thomas Moore (Referee).

1 Ted Voigtländer won an Emmy for his cinematography for this episode.
2 This is the first episode for Moses Gunn as Joe Kagan.
3 Ketty Lester would go on to play regular Hester-Sue Terhune in Season 5 onwards.
4 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

A worn-out traveling boxer, Joe Kagan, comes to town offering to take on newcomers in the ring. Charles accepts the challenge and manages to badly injure Kagan. Kagan eventually gets better but realizes the next fight might kill him, so he retires from the sport and decides to settle down locally. However, he then finds out that his estranged son – who doesn't remember him – is also trying to become a boxer. Joe takes to the ring one last time to defeat his son and teach him that boxing is not a worthy profession.

Beat-up boxer Joe Kagan, played by Moses Gunn
Charles enters the ring!

Meet Me At The Fair

Episode# 4.11 (78)
Teleplay by Arthur Heinemann, story by Bradley & Ray Berwick and Arthur Heinemann
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast November 28, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Dick De Coit (Cass), Michael Morgan (Patrick). Featuring: Steve Eastin (Shell Game Barker), Dick Armstrong (Pickpocket), Helen Hintz (Little Old Lady), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Enzio Cantini (Baseball Barker), Sandy Rosenthal (Chair Dump Barker). Clinton James Austin (Zane)2, Charles Haigh (Man With Child At Carousel)2.

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

The Ingalls and Olesons travel to the local fair, where Mary is meeting up with her newest boyfriend, Patrick, operator of a tethered-balloon ride. Instead, she falls for the charms of Patrick's smooth-talking boss, Cass. Meanwhile, Carrie wanders off and falls asleep deep inside the basket of the balloon. Annoyed with his boss for stealing Mary, Patrick cuts the balloon free and Carrie wakes up to find herself flying through the air. Patrick races to the rescue and becomes Mary's hero.

Cass with Mary (and hat)
Carrie is carried off by the balloon

Here Come The Brides

Episode# 4.12 (79)
Teleplay by John T. Dugan, story by Robert F. Metzler and John T. Dugan
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast December 5, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Joshua Bryant (Adam Simms), Bob Marsic (Luke Simms), Ivor Francis (Varnum), Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson). Featuring: Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Montana Smoyer (Philomena).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Pig farmer Adam Simms and his son Luke move to Walnut Grove. Adam – a widower – instantly takes a liking to the local schoolteacher, Eva Beadle. Meanwhile, Luke and Nellie also fall in love. However, the relationship fails to find favor with Nellie's mother, Harriet, so the young pair elope. Tracking the couple down, Nellie's parents immediately get the marriage annulled. In the end, Adam and Eva themselves get hitched.

Pa Adam Simms and Miss Beadle
Son Luke Simms and Nellie Oleson

Freedom Flight

Episode# 4.13 (80)
Written by Ron Chiniquy and Richalene Kelsay
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast December 12, 1977, NBC

Guest Stars: Richard O'Brien (Hugh MacGregor), Nick Ramus (Little Crow), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Co-Starring: Guillermo San Juan (Spotted Wolf). Featuring: Vivian Brown (Mrs. MacGregor), Brett Ericson (Rob MacGregor), Geronimo Kuth-Le (Long Elk), Dawn Biglay (Yellow Feather), Sonny Roubideaux1 (Dull Lance), Roy Gunzburg (Caleb), Dick Alexander (Sergeant). T. Dan Hopkins (Medicine Man)2, Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster)3.

1 aka Luci Christian.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; this entry has been taken from the Internet Movie Database and has not been verified.
3 Uncredited on episode's titles.

An Indian tribe comes to Walnut Grove asking for medical aid for their sick chief. Dr. Baker and Charles try to help but they are opposed by a group of citizens who have bad memories of past encounters with Indians. Charles hides the chief and his family at his farm while the chief recovers. When their secret is discovered, Charles and the doctor help the Indians rejoin their tribe and make good their escape without a skirmish.

Charles with Little Crow
The Indians prepare to hold off the angry townsmen

The Rivals

Episode# 4.14 (81)
Teleplay by John T. Dugan, story by Hindi Brooks and John T. Dugan
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast January 9, 1978, NBC

Guest Star: Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Co-Starring: Leon Belasco (Monsieur François), Chris Petersen (Jimmy Hill), Sam Gilman (Si Perkins). Featuring: Seeley Ann Thumann (Samantha Higgins), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Don Starr (Zucker).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Laura has her eye on a boy in school, Jimmy, but he seems to prefer another girl. Laura begins prettifying herself to attract Jimmy, but her plan falls flat. Her mother tells her to instead try just being herself. Eventually, Jimmy does notice her as an unembellished girl, and she has her first kiss. Meanwhile, Charles and Jonathan win a big new contract but, in the end, they reject it as it would involve spending too much time away from home.

Laura titivates herself in the tub
Laura's fantasy: herself and Jimmy

Whisper Country

Episode# 4.15 (82)
Written by John Hawkins
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast January 16, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: John McLiam (Caleb Fisher), Sandy McPeak (Jacob Bond), Mark Neely (Joshua Bond). Special Guest Star: Anita Dangler (Miss Peel). Co-Starring: Dee Croxton (Ellen Fisher), Linda McMillan (Katie Fisher). Featuring: Nancy Pearlberg (Mrs. Bond), Michelle Downey (Sarah Miller), Jennifer Brill (Hazel). Steve Izay (unknown)1, Garrick Russell (Student #1)1.

1 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

Mary gets her first teaching job: a short-term position in the decidedly strange and ultra-conservative community of Willow Prairie, where all the inhabitants are suspicious and surly. The person promoting most of the weird doctrine is community leader, Miss Peel, who seems to want the town to remain in the Dark Ages and regards education as sinful. At a local service, Mary exposes Miss Peel and the reason behind her anti-progression stance – she can't read.

Village of the damned? No, just Willow Prairie.
Mary takes on Miss Peel

I Remember, I Remember

Episode# 4.16 (83)
Written by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast January 23, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: Nicolas Coster (Lansford Ingalls), Virginia Kiser (Charlotte Holbrook), Matthew Laborteaux1 (Young Charles), Katy Kurtzman (Young Caroline). Special Guest Star: Sorrell Booke (Mr. Watson). Co-Starring: Sarah Miller (Laura Ingalls), Adam Gunn (Harold Watson), David Considine (Peter Ingalls), Gregg Forrest (Henry Holbrook), Robin Muir (Polly Ingalls), Kristi Jill Wood (Eliza Ann Holbrook).

1 Matthew Laborteaux would go on to play regular Albert in Season 5 onwards.

It is the day of the Ingalls' wedding anniversary but Charles' wagon has broken down in the pouring rain and he is delayed on the road. Back at home, Caroline tries to keep worry at bay by entertaining the girls with the stories of how she and their father first met back in Wisconsin during their childhood; of Charles' later troubles in school; and of their first dance together.

Young Charles in trouble with his teacher yet again
Young Caroline

Be My Friend

Episode# 4.17 (84) – 1½ hours
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast January 30, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: Lenora May (Anna Mears), Michael Mullins (Bobbie Harris). Special Guest Star: Donald Moffat (Nathaniel Mears). And: Woodrow Parfrey (Reverend Pritchard). Featuring: Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), John Craig (Clark Harris), Dan McBride (Stranger).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Laura finds a bottle in the creek with a note inside that reads, "If you find this, be my friend." After finding several other messages, she persuades her father to help her look for the writer. Instead, they find an abandoned baby whom Laura then looks after back at home. Pa Charles eventually tracks down the mother, an unmarried girl called Anna, who had found herself pregnant by her boyfriend but had managed (miraculously) to conceal both the pregnancy and the subsequent birth from her miserable father. The baby's parents are reunited and set off to marry; the ill-tempered father goes back to live alone in the woods.

Laura looking after the baby
The baby's parents: Anna and Bobbie

The Inheritance

Episode# 4.18 (85)
Written by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast February 6, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: Allan Rich (Otto Ripley), Michael Prince (Roger Whitehead), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Co-Starring: Michael Flanagan (Harvey Woods), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

The Ingalls learn they have inherited the considerable legacy of Charles' late Uncle Ned. While still waiting for the money to come through, the Ingalls go on a spending spree and run up a large bill at the Oleson mercantile. Harriet Oleson then insists Charles signs a lien on his farm pending the money's arrival. When the estate is settled, the Ingalls find that all is left is a box of worthless Confederate money. Harriet puts all the Ingalls' possessions up for auction. But the townsfolk thwart Harriet by bidding for all the items themselves at ridiculously low prices and returning them to Charles, leaving him to pay back the debt as and when.

Charles and Caroline are overjoyed with the news
Harriet Oleson is quick to welcome the Ingalls' spending at the mercantile

The Stranger

Episode# 4.19 (86)
Written by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast February 20, 19781, NBC

Guest Stars: Nehemiah Persoff (Mr. Lundstrom), Michael Sharrett (Peter Lundstrom). Co-Starring: Cicely Walper (Mrs. Caldwell). Featuring: Jonathan Gilbert2 (Willie Oleson), Stephen Coit (Mr. Tate), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey).

1 Sources (e.g. Epguides, Wikipedia) which list airdates of February 1, 1978, or February 13, 1978, for this episode would seem to be incorrect.
2 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Posh young Peter Lundstrom is expelled from his school for cheating and stealing. His busy father sends him to spend summer with his cousin, Nels Oleson, and be taught some values. The Olesons can't cope, so Peter is sent to live with the stricter Ingalls family, where Charles puts him to work on the farm, but also makes sure the boy joins in the fun side of family life, too. The boy is successfully reformed and his father collects him, having been advised by Charles to take a bit more notice of his son in future.

Mischievous Peter Lundstrom
Peter with Nels Oleson

A Most Precious Gift

Episode# 4.20 (87)
Written by Carole and Michael Raschella
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast February 27, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: Lili Valenty (Madame Maria), Joshua Bryant (Adam Simms), Charlotte Stewart (Mrs. Simms), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert1 (Willie Oleson), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey).

1 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Charles has always wanted a son, and has another chance to get one when Caroline announces she's pregnant. But Caroline fears how Charles will react if the baby is a girl, especially after a fortune-teller assures her the baby will be a boy. Eventually, the worrying's all for naught, as Charles loves his new baby – a little girl called Grace – just the same. Meanwhile, Carrie gets a lesson in being a "mother" herself – she raises a nest of chicks.

Caroline with newborn Grace
Carrie rears some chicks (with a little help from Mr. Garvey)

I’ll Be Waving As You Drive Away: Part I

Episode# 4.21 (88)
Written by Carole and Michael Raschella
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast March 6, 19781, NBC

Guest Stars: Ford Rainey (Dr. Burke), Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Co-Starring: Rob Kenneally (Seth). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert2 (Willie Oleson).

1 Sources (e.g. IMDb) which list an airdate of January 6, 1980 (!), for this episode would seem to be incorrect.
2 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).

Mary starts to experience blurred vision prompting a visit to the eye doctor. When Charles is told that Mary is gradually going blind, the concerned father can't at first bring himself to tell his beloved daughter. Sometime later, Mary awakes one morning and finds she has suddenly and terrifyingly gone completely blind. The girl rails against her disability, although eventually accepts a place at a school for the blind in Iowa.

Depths of despair: Mary
Mary sets off for the blind school

I’ll Be Waving As You Drive Away: Part II

Episode# 4.22 (89)1
Written by Carole and Michael Raschella
Directed by William F. Claxton
Broadcast March 13, 1978, NBC

Guest Stars: David Opatoshu (Taylor Nash), Linwood Boomer (Adam Kendall)2, Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Featuring: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert3 (Willie Oleson), Patrick Laborteaux (Andy Garvey), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey), Peter Haas (Paul), Jennifer Factor (Jenny). Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster)4.

1 This is the last episode for Charlotte Stewart as Miss Beadle/Mrs. Simms.
2 This is the first episode for Linwood Boomer as Adam Kendall.
3 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).
4 Uncredited on episode's titles.

Feeling lost and abandoned, Mary battles anger and self-pity at a school for the blind, far away from the little house by Plum Creek. But soon, Mary finds a source of hope in her new teacher, Adam Kendall, and the pair begin to fall in love. Meanwhile, back in Walnut Grove, the worsening economy forces most of the residents to leave town. The Ingalls collect Mary and make preparations to move to Winoka, where Mary and Adam have found new positions and Charles hopes to get work.

Mary, angry at her blindness
Mary begins to cope, with Adam's help
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