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Season 9
Little House: A New Beginning

9.01 Times Are Changing: Part I  (182)

9.02 Times Are Changing: Part II  (183)

9.03 Welcome To Olesonville  (184)

9.04 Rage  (185)

9.05 Little Lou  (186)

9.06 The Wild Boy: Part I  (187)

9.07 The Wild Boy: Part II  (188)

9.08 The Return Of Nellie  (189)

9.09 The Empire Builders  (190)

9.10 Love  (191)

9.11 Alden's Dilemma  (192)

9.12 Marvin's Garden  (193)

9.13 Sins Of The Fathers  (194)

9.14 The Older Brothers  (195)

9.15 Once Upon A Time  (196)

9.16 Home Again  (197 - 2 hours)

9.17 A Child With No Name  (198)

9.18 The Last Summer  (199)

9.19 For The Love Of Blanche  (200)

9.20 May I Have This Dance?  (201)

9.21 Hello And Goodbye  (202)

Season 9 DVD cover

Starring: Melissa Gilbert (1-13,15-211), Dean Butler (1-12,14-211), Katherine MacGregor2 (1-13,16-211), Richard Bull (1-11,13,16-211), Victor French as Mr. Edwards (1,3-12,14,16,17,19-211). Executive Producer: Michael Landon. Produced by Kent McCray. Developed for Television by Blanche Hanalis. Based Upon the "Little House" Series of Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Kevin Hagen (Dr. Baker 1-12,16-18,20,21), Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden 1-4,7-11,17-20), Ketty Lester (Hester-Sue 3-5,8-10,16,17), Jonathan Gilbert3 (Willie Oleson 1-9,11-13,15-21), Allison Balson (Nancy Oleson 1-8,11,12,15-17,184,19-21), Stan Ivar (John Carter 1-11,13,14,16-18,20,21), Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter 1-11,13,17,18,20), Lindsay Kennedy (Jeb Carter 1-8,11-13,15-20), David Friedman (Jason Carter 1-8,11-13,15-20), Shannen Doherty (Jenny Wilder 1-4,6-8,10-12,15-21), Leslie Landon5 (Etta Plum 1-6,8,10,12,15-17,19,20).

Don Balluck (Executive Story Consultant), Marvin Coil (Associate Producer), Gary L. Wohlleben (Associate Producer), David Rose (Music), Ted Voigtländer A.S.C. (Director of Photography 1-4,8,11,13,16,19,21), Harry L. Wolf A.S.C. (Director of Photography 5-7,10,12,14,17), Brianne Murphy A.S.C. (Director of Photography 9), Haskell B. Boggs A.S.C. (Director of Photography 15,18,20), Walter M. Jefferies (Art Director 1-14,16-21), George Renne (Art Director 15), Jerry Taylor A.C.E. (Editor 1,5,6,8,11,13,14,16,19,21), John Loeffler (Editor 2-4,7,10,12,17,18,20), Bob Fish (Editor 9), Larry Strong A.C.E. (Editor 15), Susan Sukman6 (Casting), John M. Dwyer (Set Decoration 1), Don Webb (Set Decoration 2-14,16-21), Sam Gross (Set Decoration 15), Miles S. Middough (Production Manager 1-17), Kent McCray (Production Manager 18-21), Reid Rummage (Assistant Director 1-4,8,11,13,16,20), Robert Enrietto (Assistant Director 5-7,10,12,14,17,18), Charles R. Scott (Assistant Director 9), Ray De Camp (Assistant Director 15), Miles S. Middough (Assistant Director 19,21), Buck Edwards (Second Assistant Director 1-8,10-14,16,17), Brad Yacobian (Second Assistant Director 9,15,18-21), Lynn Reynolds (Makeup 1-7,14), Allan Snyder S.M.A. (Makeup 8,10-13,16-21), Hank Edds S.M.A. (Makeup 9,15), Lillian Barb (Hair Stylist 1-8,10-14,16-21), Darby Hoppin (Hair Stylist 9,15), Michael Faeth (Men's Costumer 1,2,5), Dallas Dornan (Men's Costumer 3,4,6-21), Linda Taylor (Women's Costumer), Glen Feldman (Property Master 1-14,16,17), Dean Wilson (Property Master 15,18-21), Bryan Renfro (Animal Trainer 19), Edward P. Ancona (Color Consultant), Ron Housiaux (Key Grip 1-8,10-14,16-21), Clarence Tindell (Key Grip 9,15), Bob Farmer (Gaffer 1-8,10-14,16,17), Lon Massey III (Gaffer 9,15,18-21), Kenneth Hunter S.O.C. (Camera Operator 1-8,10-14,16-21), Tim Vanik7 (Camera Operator 9,15), Duane Toler (Script Supervisor 1-8,10-14,16,17), Erika Wernher (Script Supervisor 9,15,18-21), Luke Tillman (Special Effects), Vince Gutierrez (Sound Effects Editor), Fred Prior (Music Editor 1-9,11,12,14,15,17,18,20), Tom Gleason (Music Editor 10,13,16,19,21), Kay Suffern (Negative Cutter), Anthony F. Brissinger (Sound Recording 1-8,10-14,16,17), Frank Meadows (Sound Recording 9,15,18-21), M. Curtis Price C.A.S. (Sound Recording), Tim Engel (Production Controller), Photographed with Panavision Equipment®, An NBC Production In Association with Ed Friendly.

Interiors shot at MGM Studios, Culver City (now Sony Pictures Studios).

Copyright © MCMLXXXII [1982] by National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (1-12,14)
Copyright © MCMLXXXIII [1983] by National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (13,15-21)

1 Credited across all episodes, but only appears in those indicated.
2 aka Scottie MacGregor.
3 Jonathan Gilbert is the brother of Melissa Gilbert (who plays Laura).
4 Uncredited on episode 18. Top of head appears very briefly.
5 Leslie Landon is the daughter of Michael Landon.
6 aka Susan McCray.
7 aka Richard Tim Vanik.

Overall Nielsen rating for season: 17.4 (28th).

Times Are Changing (Part I)

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.01 (182)1,2,3,4
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast September 27, 1982, NBC / Production #8451

Guest Stars: Nicholas Pryor (Royal Wilder), Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls)5. Featuring: Richard Lilley (Man #1). Jack Lilley (2nd Stage Driver)6, Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)6, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)6.

1 A new title sequence and arrangement of the theme music is used from here onwards (see the end of this page).
2 This is the first episode for the Carter family: Stan Ivar (John Carter), Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter), Lindsay Kennedy (Jeb Carter) and David Friedman (Jason Carter).
3 This is the first episode for Shannen Doherty as Jenny Wilder.
4 This is the first episode for Leslie Landon as Etta Plum, though the actress had played several one-off roles on the show previously.
5 This is the last regular episode for Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls, but he would return for Home Again later in this season, and two of the three "Season 10" telemovies. He would continue as Executive Producer and sometime writer and director.
6 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

After a hard winter, Charles Ingalls moves his family to Burr Oak in Iowa where he has a new job as a men's outfitter. Moving into his old house is the Carter family – John, a blacksmith, and Sarah, a newspaper editor, together with their boys, Jeb and Jason. At the Wilder house, Almanzo's widowed brother, Royal, and his daughter Jenny arrive for a visit. A while later, Royal collapses and subsequently confesses to Almanzo and Laura that he has a terminal heart condition but begs them not to tell Jenny. Meanwhile, at school, Jeb takes an instant shine to Jenny.

With Michael Landon increasingly occupied with setting up Highway To Heaven and Karen Grassle getting restless feet, the Ingalls family, bar Laura, moves out of the show, with Charles taking an unlikely new job selling gentlemen's clothes in the city(!) Into this revamp of the series comes replacement family, the Carters (John, Sarah and their two sons), together with the Wilders' new adopted daughter, Jenny.
The show lasted one season in this incarnation.

"I could never live in the big city, cities suck," but then he takes the family to Burr Oak, Iowa to work in a fancy men's shop, cause he lost yet another crop? What kept him out of Burr Oak after the other 500 crops he raised failed? (prairiegirl)

On the card the kids give to Laura, look just below the "T" of "Forget". There appears to be a signature from "Jonathan Gilbert" (i.e. the actor using his real name, not that of his character).

The problem is that, just a season or two before, we had met Royal and Millie, who had only two children, the evil Myron and Rupert, who were probably around 7 and 9 years old. In that episode we find out that Millie is pregnant with another child. But the child couldn't possibly be Jenny, because just a couple [of] seasons later she is suddenly like 11 years old. So there are some serious continuity and/or chronological problems. I don't know if they thought we wouldn't notice, or just didn't care. (RhondaGC)

Whatever happened to Perley (Wilder And Wilder)? Royal had said that Almanzo was the only family that she has, but that's not true, unless they are all dead, which is not known, we can only assume. (Belle T)

Isn't Eliza Jane still alive? She would be Jenny's aunt. (Michele J)

Dr Baker tells Almanzo to take Royal to Saint Paul for some tests when he is stronger. Seconds later, Almanzo tells Royal he is going to take him to Minneapolis. OK, they're twin cities, but it seems a strange change (in scripting terms).

Little House: A New Beginning title card
New occupants of the cabin: John and Sarah Carter
Jason Carter
Royal Wilder has an attack
Times Are Changing (Part II)

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.02 (183)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast October 4, 1982, NBC / Production #8452

Guest Star: Nicholas Pryor (Royal Wilder). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

While running to shelter from a rainstorm, Royal Wilder has a heart attack and subsequently dies. His daughter, Jenny, rails against Laura for not telling her about her father's heart condition. After seeking reassurance from Rev. Alden that she will meet her parents again in heaven, Jenny tries to drown herself. Jeb finds her just in time and, despite not being able to swim, manages to rescue the girl, though he nearly drowns in the process. Laura castigates Jenny for only thinking of herself, and Jenny pulls herself together to begin a new life as the adopted daughter of Laura and Almanzo.

In the swimming scene, Jason's hair suddenly becomes both drier and neater as Jeb climbs the tree.

I don't know why Jenny would be unconscious when Jeb rescues her. She hasn't been deprived of air for more than a few seconds and there has been no bang to the head etc.

When Jenny is thanking Jeb for saving her from drowning, her books alternate from being held up near her chest to being held down, at arm's length (or not there at all?)

In the swimming scene near the end, Nancy's hair is bone dry, but then suddenly wet (even before Jeb dunks her).

An angry Jenny Wilder, played by a young Shannen Doherty
An apprehensive Jeb Carter gets ready for a dive
Welcome To Olesonville

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.03 (184)
Written by Paul W. Cooper
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast October 11, 1982, NBC / Production #8454

Guest Stars: Lew Ayres (Lem McCary), Charles Lane (Jess Moffet). Co-Starring: Sam Edwards (Mr. Anderson), Norma Ransom (Maddy Sutherland), Noni White (Elsie Moffet). Featuring: Elmore Vincent (Floyd), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster), Carl Pitti (Dance Caller), Doc. Livingston (Farmer #1), Thomas Murphy (Famer #2), Clyde Harper (Pig Farmer). Paul Bradley (Townsman At Debate)1, Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Tom Willett (Cowboy)1.

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

Harriet Oleson finds she has inherited an old Walnut Grove bond, now worth $14,000. Cashing it in would bankrupt the town, so she uses this to get the town council to do her assorted favors. She also calls for an election for mayor, and puts henpecked husband Nels forward as a puppet candidate. An elderly citizen, Lem McCary, rallies the town's old folk in opposition, promising them a better deal. The result is Oleson, 64; McCary, 67. A disgusted Harriet attempts to carry out her threat to cash in her bond, but finds she is trumped by an earlier bond held by somebody else, and learns she won't be paid for centuries.

It was a big deal that the only reason Mary could return to Walnut Grove with her husband ... was because they received Lars Hanson's house. Then it burns down. So to have it magically reappear 5 years later as a senior citizens' home (something that didn't even exist in those days) is reeeeaaalllly stretching it. (Mugsy)

In A Most Precious Gift in season 4, the population of Walnut Grove was said by Mrs Simms to be 127. In this episode, the number of votes cast in the election is 131 (64+67). Presumably this does not include children, but it isn't clear if women are allowed to vote in this election, or what the turnout is. Whatever, there seems to have been a big population rise.

Harriet Oleson finds the old bond
Standing against the Olesons to champion old folk: Lem McCary

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.04 (185)
Written by B. W. Sandefur
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast October 18, 19821, NBC / Production #8456

Guest Stars: Robert Loggia (Thomas Stark), Michele Marsh (Constance Stark), Tammy Lauren (Elizabeth Stark), Ronnie Scribner (Randall Page). Co-Starring: J. Edward McKinley (Phillips). Featuring: Kurt Smildsin (Tracy). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)2, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)2.

1 Little Lou was originally billed for this date and remained unchanged in many listings.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

Walnut Grove resident Thomas Stark is in financial difficulties yet again; his bank forecloses on his mortgage and orders him out of his house. Stark flips, takes a gun, shoots and injures both his wife and daughter, then flees on a horse. The townsmen form a posse to track him down. Meanwhile, Stark, now completely deranged, arrives at the Wilder house and takes Laura, Jenny and Rose prisoner. Jenny manages to escape and leads the posse back to the house. Surrounded, Stark walks out of the front door and fires his gun; the returning hail of bullets kills him instantly.

Quite an engaging episode despite it being a bit of a rerun of My Ellen. However, there are a few plot holes of the, "Why doesn't Laura send Jenny to get help earlier?" and, "Why doesn't Laura take Stark's gun when she knocks him out?" variety. Also, the love interest for daughter Elizabeth Stark could easily have been (the almost identical) Jeb Carter rather than introduce yet another never-seen-before-or-again teenager.

When Jeb gets out of bed to look out of the window during the storm, he seems to be wearing modern blue boxers under his nightgown.

Mad Thomas Stark with baby Rose
Jenny up against Stark's gun
Little Lou

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.05 (186)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast October 25, 19821, NBC / Production #8453

Guest Stars: Billy Barty (Lou Bates), Susan French (Mrs. Bates). Co-Starring: Patty Maloney (Alice Bates), Sam Edwards (Mr. Anderson). Featuring: Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster), Steve M. de France (Customer).

1 This episode was originally billed for October 18, 1982, and was a late change.

A dwarf circus clown, "Little" Lou Bates, arrives in town with his pregnant wife. She bears him a healthy daughter but dies in childbirth. Honoring a promise to her to give up circus life, Lou applies for a job at the local bank. Harriet Oleson, having taken a dislike to Lou because of his size, threatens to close her substantial business account if the bank gives him a job. Penniless, Lou steals some food from the Oleson mercantile to feed his daughter, but is found out at once. While Lou is awaiting trial, Nancy Oleson falls down a narrow well, and Lou is the only person small enough to rescue her. Harriet tearfully apologizes to Lou for her attitude, drops her charges, and allows him to take the job at the bank.

Harriet's prejudices reach new levels of nastiness. Played straight without too much hamming-it-up from Katherine MacGregor.

I still love the scene in Little Lou when he bursts into the doc's office in full clown make up. Hiram and Pa2.0 don't even bat an eye. (kafski)

What's the deal with the make up? Lou and his family dropped out of the circus a few days prior when his wife went into labor, so either he never bothered to wipe off his makeup from his last show, or he made a point of putting on this face for his long-awaited child's birth. (awomanawoman)

Little Lou's wife looks a little old to be having babies!

Mrs Oleson says she's never seen a midget before. But she has – in Annabelle in season 6. He was even played by the same actor – Billy Barty.

Someone way back pointed out just how stupid this plot was: Little Lou was short and rather chubby. It would have been MORE difficult for him to fit into the well and go far enough down to rescue NotNellie than for an average size thin man (Nels?) (charlieboo)

After Lou rescues Nancy from the well, she goes and hugs her mother. Lou, still wearing the rope he used to be lowered into the well, comes to her and wipes away a tear from Nancy's eyes. Lou then walks towards the icehouse, still wearing the rope. The camera then pans across the crowd to catch their reaction and then moves back to Lou, still walking towards the icehouse but without the rope. He did not stop, and no one approached him to remove the rope, so how did the rope come off? (Alex Trenta)

Little Lou Bates, played by Billy Barty
John Carter helping in the rescue attempt
The Wild Boy (Part I)

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.06 (187)
Written by Vince R. Gutierrez
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast November 1, 1982, NBC / Production #8457

Guest Stars: Jonathan Hall Kovacs (Matthew), David Hooks (Luther). Special Guest Star: Anthony Zerbe (Doctor Joshua McQueen). Featuring: Ancel Cook (Farmer #1), Steve M. de France (Farmer Tom). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

Joshua McQueen arrives in town promoting his sideshow attraction, a mute "wild boy" in a cage. One night the wild boy escapes and holes up in the Wilder barn. Subsequently, Isaiah Edwards volunteers to clean the boy up and secretly look after him. Dr. Baker diagnoses the boy's intermittent wild moments as simply morphine withdrawal, the substance used by McQueen to control the boy. Laura, Jenny and Isaiah teach the boy sign language and learn his name – Matthew.

Phoney doctor, Joshua McQueen
Wild boy, Matthew
The Wild Boy (Part II)

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.07 (188)
Written by Vince R. Gutierrez
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast November 8, 1982, NBC / Production #8458

Guest Stars: Jonathan Hall Kovacs (Matthew), David Hooks (Luther), Walter Brooke (Judge Simpson). Special Guest Star: Anthony Zerbe (Doctor Joshua McQueen). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

To gain a large reward, Nancy and Harriet Oleson tip off McQueen about the location of Matthew, his "stolen" wild boy. McQueen then takes Isaiah Edwards to court to regain custody. Isaiah ultimately wins the case but nevertheless the boy is adjudged abnormal – violent – and ordered into an asylum. However, Isaiah gives an impassioned speech about the nature of normality, and the judge, impressed, decides to turn a blind eye to Matthew staying with Isaiah.

Mr. Edwards adopts a son... but the character is hardly seen afterwards, appearing in only two further episodes before being written out.
There's a nice impassioned speech by Victor French near the end.

I was watching part two of The Wild Boy today. Mr. Edwards needed Laura to interpret for him when Wild Boy was signing. I really liked how Laura was able to interpret even though she was seated behind Wild Boy. But the real Miracle on the Prairie was the next day, at church, Mr. Edwards had magically learned to interpret overnight! Praise be! (Wok Chop)

An angry Isaiah Edwards
Matthew says a redundant goodbye to Walnut Grove
The Return Of Nellie

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.08 (189)
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast November 15, 1982, NBC / Production #8459

Special Guest Star: Alison Arngrim (Nellie)1. Featuring: Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster). Jack Lilley (2nd Stage Driver)2, Richard Lilley (Townsman)2, Rod McGaughy (Townsman)2, Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)2, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)2.

1 This is the last episode for Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson/Dalton.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

Nellie visits Walnut Grove and is fondly greeted by her parents, friends and even her old nemesis, Laura. Jealous of all the attention Nellie is getting, Nancy runs away from home. She is found by Nellie in the woods, and appears to have learned a lesson in not being so self-centered. However, once Nellie has departed Walnut Grove, Nancy is back to being Nancy again.

Holy shit was that one god-awful wig Nellie had on. It definitely wins the award for horrible wigs on this show, and that is saying a lot. It takes one shitty wig to beat out the one that the little blonde girl wore on the Little Women episode. (BambiJo)

While inside Laura and Almanzo's house, Alison Arngrim seems to have a different Nellie wig on from other scenes (look at the front of it – no curls). In fact, it looks like she might have the Nancy wig on in this scene.

During "Return Of Nellie's Wig Of Prosperity" last night, I once again was annoyed when Laura tells Manly that she put apples down her dress to make "Jeremy Dodds" notice her instead of Nellie.
Number one: His name in the episode The Rivals was Jimmy Hill! For the love of God, Landon! Can't you even get the things you MADE UP right the second time?
Number two: She put apples down her dress cause Sam was her rival for Jimmy/Jeremy, not Nellie. (prairiegirl)

I watched "The Return of Nellie and That Animal on Her Head" last night. I love how Nellie and Nels were so concerned about finding Nancy that they had time to stop and have a leisurely picnic lunch (or even take the time to pack it beforehand!) (charlieboo)

Nellie is disturbed by Nancy's snoring
Nellie finds Nancy safe and sound
The Empire Builders

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.09 (190)
Written by Larry Jensen
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Broadcast November 22, 1982, NBC / Production #8460

Guest Stars: Stephen Elliott (Hollingsworth), James O'Sullivan (Hobson), Taylor Lacher (Wilkins). Co-Starring: Ross Elliott (Lawyer). Featuring: Hugh Warden (Ticket Agent), LeRoy Sweet (Collins), Chuck Hicks (Big Arnie), R. L. Tolbert (Hank), Bob Terhune (Herb), David Wiley (Business Man), Charles Young (1st Thug), Robert Balderson (Lester), Steve Jesse Starr (Express Messenger), James L. Kelly (Foreman), Dan McBride (1st Man), Rod McGaughy (2nd Man).

Walnut Grove is to become a key junction in a new railroad project. Everyone is initially excited by the business this will bring, but when several residents, including the Wilders and Carters, are ordered to vacate their farms, the mood changes. The armed townsfolk occupy the Carter farm and refuse to be moved. Anxious to avoid further delay and loss of money, the railroad company gives up and chooses an alternative route away from Walnut Grove.

A commendably serious story, but let down by a failure to examine both sides of the coin. The holdout by some of the Walnut Grovians would seemingly be preventing others in the town becoming more prosperous. Yet where is the representation of this other point of view? In an absurdly shallow voice-over at the end, we are told that nearby Tracy (where the railroad ended up routed to) became full of "gamblers, strippers and the like" whereas Walnut Grove remained full of "people who cared about each other". Hmm.

Near the start, at the station, Mr Edwards and Almanzo jump off their wagon leaving it straddling a set of railway lines. When they walk back over, a minute or so later, the wagon is gone.

Intimidation, prairie-style
Armed stand-off at the Carter farm!

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.10 (191)
Written by Paul W. Cooper
Directed by Victor Lobl
Broadcast November 29, 1982, NBC / Production #8462

Guest Star: Jill Schoelen (Jane Canfield). Co-Starring: Walker Edmiston (Dr. Vanderan), M. E. Loree (Woman), Elmore Vincent (Floyd). Featuring: Lorrie Blower (Nurse), Fred Downs (Storekeeper), Justin Bayly (Boy). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

Laura is visited by Jane Canfield, a blind girl who is an old friend of hers. Isaiah Edwards falls in love with Jane despite the age gap between them. Jane takes the opportunity of an experimental eye operation in Chicago which restores her sight. On her return to Walnut Grove, Isaiah tells her that he is too old for her, despite her genuine love for him, and leaves her free to find a younger man.

A rehash of Doctor's Lady with added – you guessed it – blindness chucked in. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. As this season was an attempted relaunch of the show, it really needed to be trying new ideas.

Mr Edwards tells Jane Canfield that he came up with the moniker "Half-Pint" for Laura. However, "Half-Pint" is used (by Charles) within the first 5 minutes of the pilot, long before Mr Edwards is on the scene.

That would be emotionally scarring, wouldn't it? Somebody says they love you until they can see your face. Talk about your self-esteem busters! (HD Dee Dee)

Blind Jane Canfield with Isaiah Edwards
Jane Canfield after her eye operation
Alden’s Dilemma

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.11 (192)
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast December 6, 1982, NBC / Production #8461

Guest Star: David Huffman (Reverend Addison Hale). Co-Starring: Margaret Wheeler (Old Woman), Professor Toru Tanaka (Japanese Sumo), Rodney Kageyama (Agishi), Tom Spratley (Hotel Clerk), Ken Scott (Guard). Featuring: Richard Kennedy (Policeman), Thomas Murphy (Customer), Kellye Nakahara (Japanese Woman), Chikae Ishikawa (1st Japanese Girl), Saachiko (2nd Japanese Girl), R. L. Tolbert (Stage Driver). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

Reverend Hale, from the diocese headquarters, visits Walnut Grove and begins to secretly restore a property as a long-service present for Reverend Alden. Laura Wilder and Sarah Carter help out, but a misunderstanding Isaiah Edwards begins to surmise there is something improper with their relationship with Hale – and lands a punch on the man! Meanwhile, Almanzo Wilder and John Carter travel to San Francisco for a Grange meeting. There, Almanzo's wallet is stolen together with all the pair's money, their entrance tickets and their train tickets. The hungry pair are forced to return to Walnut Grove hidden inside a cattle wagon.

Reasonably amusing without being stupid.

And let's not forget, this is also the episode where John Carter and Zaldamo go to San Francisco and take a bath together in a 25 sq. foot swimming pool, but practically sit on each other's laps! (Shakespearette)

According to the Internet Movie Database: "The music being played in the background in the Japanese hotel is an oriental instrumental version of the show's theme tune."

Reverend Alden and Reverend Hale in the Walnut Grove church
Almanzo and John in a Japanese hotel in San Francisco
Marvin’s Garden

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.12 (193)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Rhodes
Broadcast January 3, 1983, NBC / Production #8463

Guest Star: Helen Kleeb (Miss Conley). Special Guest Star: Ralph Bellamy (Marvin Haynes). Co-Starring: Jon Lormer (Mr. Thoms), Victor Izay (Dr. Jenkins).

Local doctor, and keen gardener, Marvin Haynes, has failing eyesight and realizes his license to practice medicine will not be renewed. Elsewhere, while diving for a lost necklace, Jenny Wilder becomes entangled in underwater vegetation and has to be rescued. Even though she escapes death, her time without oxygen means she now has coordination and speech problems. While off school recuperating, she helps Doctor Haynes daily in his beloved garden and this helps her along the road to recovery.

Maybe it's more of a woman's story but I think this is too slow to keep the whole family's attention.

Did anyone notice in the Jenny almost drowns again episode they played the theme to "Highway to Heaven" at [the] beginning of show and later on? (Halfpint Ingals)

And all this time Walnut Grove had two doctors – Doc A l'Orange and Going Mline Marvin. Where was Marvin during all those plagues? Talking to daisies while the rest of Hero Township was pushing them? (mmecorday)

At about the half-way mark, Jenny runs over to Marvin. The bad limp she has seems almost gone for this scene.

Jenny dives for her lost necklace
Jenny helps Dr. Haynes treat a dove
Sins Of The Fathers

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.13 (194)
Written by E. F. Wallengren
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast January 10, 1983, NBC / Production #8464

Guest Stars: John McLiam (Elliott Reed), Sheila Larken (Linda McAndrews). Featuring: R. L. Tolbert (Stage Driver).

Sarah Carter's father, newspaper owner Elliott Reed, visits from New York. He is keen for the Carters to move back with him and has presumptively found the family jobs and school positions in the city. While in Walnut Grove, Reed hijacks Sarah's newspaper and prints some of Harriet Oleson's vicious gossip; this upsets a local woman who is desperately trying to leave an unhappy past behind her. The Carters tell Reed that they have no wish to leave Walnut Grove and that they find his ways too high-handed. An argument develops which results in Reed preparing to leave town. However, the Carters turn up to see him off and they part ways in a reasonably friendly manner.

Okay in itself but it's yet another rehash: a blend of Harriet's Happenings (brash editor comes in and starts to run the local newspaper with Harriet as a gossip columnist who annoys the local populace) and The Sound Of Children (somebody's estranged father arrives to take his offspring back to jobs in the big city, doesn't get what he wants, and departs back home in a huff).
Elliott Reed reorganizes things at daughter Sarah's newspaper
Elliott and his daughter, Sarah, do not see eye to eye
The Older Brothers

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.14 (195)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast January 17, 1983, NBC / Production #8455

Guest Stars: Geoffrey Lewis (Cole Younger), Robert Donner (Bart Younger), Timothy Scott (Lonnie Younger), Stan Ivar (John Carter). Co-Starring: Sunshine Parker (Sheriff), Sam Edwards (Mr. Anderson), Ray Guth (Stage Guard), Owen Bush (Hotel Manager). Featuring: Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster), Carl Pitti (Stage Driver), Harry Middlebrooks (Frank James), Ross Sherman (Man).

Three inept outlaws – the Younger brothers – rob a stagecoach but only get away with a sack of mail. Isaiah Edwards, staying in the town of Barton, is mistaken for one of the Youngers and is jailed. Tipped off by some of the stolen mail, the Youngers spring Isaiah from jail and send a ransom note to John Carter and Almanzo Wilder back in Walnut Grove. John and Almanzo ride to Barton to alert the sheriff there, but they are taken for accomplices of Isaiah and jailed. Meanwhile, the Youngers have another idea – of turning themselves in to the sheriff for the reward for their own arrest. Inevitably, the plan backfires and they are captured, with Isaiah, John and Almanzo receiving the reward.

A word-for-word remake of a 1972 Bonanza episode, The Younger Brothers' Younger Brother, but with Edwards in the Hoss role, and Almanzo and John Carter in the Pa and Little Joe roles.
Lazy, uninvolving and unfunny. You want to see a Wild West spoof which will actually make you laugh? Take a look at Blazing Saddles, ¡Three Amigos! or A Million Ways To Die In The West and save some time.

A connection between the Little House and the Bonanza versions is the appearance of Ted "Sprague" Gehring, who plays one of the Younger brothers in the original. (Steve)

Right at the start, the brothers are all using revolvers to shoot at bottles on a fence. Suddenly one of them is using a shotgun instead.

How did Edwards get his hat back? Cole Younger took it to Almanzo and John as proof they have Edwards, and he is shown not carrying it when he gets robbed by the James brothers. Later as the Youngers blow the jail to turn themselves in, Edwards has his hat back. (Alex Trenta)

Near the end, when the brothers blow the door off the jail, you can see a stuntman (playing Cole Younger) get "blown back" by the explosion courtesy of a wire attached to him under his costume.

Bart Younger, played by Robert Donner, and Cole Younger, played by Geoffrey Lewis
John and Almanzo in jail
Once Upon A Time

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.15 (196)
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast January 24, 1983, NBC / Production #8465

Guest Star: John Bennett Perry (Russell Matthews). Special Guest Star: William Prince (Mr. Broxton). Co-Starring: Kay Howell (Secretary), Ralph Manza (Hugo). Featuring: Ron Doyle (Bellman), Patrick Waddell (Holmes), Albert Lord (Waiter), Casey Erickson (Young Man), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster). Michael Landon (Narrator/Voice)1.2

1 Uncredited on episode's titles.
2 Shawna Landon (Young Girl In The Library) appears in footage from The Little House Years.

Laura writes a novel about her childhood experiences and enters it in a competition. She wins, and travels to Minneapolis with Jenny to liaise with the publishers. The publishers insist the novel be jazzed up – changes which, reluctantly, Laura agrees to. However, Jenny manages to convince Laura that her original version is better and Laura withdraws the book saying she doesn't want her name on something that "isn't mine any more". Forty years later, the novel is finally published (without changes) as the first book in the famous "Little House" series.

Interesting that ML could make a show focusing on Laura NOT changing her books to please the audience (or readers) when the WHOLE "Little House" TV series was changed to please the audience. I'm not complaining... I'm just sayin'... (Nursechristie)

Laura Ingalls Wilder disagrees with her publisher
Jenny makes her ma see that original is best
Home Again

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.16 (197)1 – 2 hours
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast February 7, 1983, NBC / Production #8467

Guest Stars: Claude Earl Jones (Mr. Gibson), Charles Tyner (Mr. Janes). Special Guest Stars: Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Matthew Laborteaux (Albert Ingalls). Co-Starring: Georgia Schmidt (Adel Colie), Hugo Stanger (Zeb Colie), Jonathan Hall Kovacs (Matthew). Featuring: Gavin Mooney (Officer Coogan), Michael Griswold (Sergeant Bates), Colin Drake (Mr. Hawkins), Jon M. Benson (Officer), Shonda Whipple (Tami), Jason Tucker (Stuart Bayless). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)2, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)2.

1 The c.2014 HD remaster of this episode, as used for the most recent set of US DVDs (and probably the Blu-rays and downloads), is missing a lengthy sequence running 3:46 at 48:18 (in Part I of the DVD presentation). This shows Albert arriving at Dr. Baker's office with the box of drugs; Baker opening it as Albert looks on; Albert leaving and meeting Charles and Mr. Edwards outside; Albert taking drugs in his room, and looking at the world outside his window.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

In Burr Oak, Albert gets in repeated trouble for theft without there being any apparent explanation. Charles takes him away from the town's bad influences and returns to Walnut Grove, but still Albert's mood remains erratic. The reason behind Albert's behavior is revealed when he is caught stealing morphine from Dr. Baker to feed a secret addiction. Holed up in Mr. Edwards' house, Charles sees the boy through the agonizing days of cold turkey. Once Albert is "clean", he addresses the rest of the Walnut Grove kids about the danger of drugs, then he and Charles return home. Away from Albert's troubles, Jason Carter fakes eyesight problems in order to get himself prescribed a pair of glasses, but the reason is simply to appear smarter to the rest of his schoolmates.

I'm sure Smack on the Prairie was not exactly a real 1800's problem, but a very watchable episode nevertheless.

The earlier eps were much better about character development. One outstanding late example is the Albert morphine episode. So Charles is working for some tailor or something. We are supposed to believe that Charles has lost all of his spunk, backbone, smarts, abilities to make the lame walk and the suicidal want to live, because he can't sell an expensive hat to some rich dude?? And he cowers to the whimpy, tight-assed man who runs the suit shop? Really? Sorry, I know ML was off the show at that point, but that was character assassination in the worst way.
ETA: I know that big city livin' strips people of their basic core and decency, while prairie livin' makes people whole and strong again. (DoxieMama)

As Charles and Albert ride in the coach to Walnut Grove, a modern jet trail is visible in the top left of the picture. (Steve)

Doc Baker goes all "Miami Vice" and tastes the morPHINE to determine if it's the good stuff or not. I loved that shit.
And Pa goes right back to work at the sawmill? What??? Did they suddenly just need another employee for the span of two weeks? (MsLawDawg)

Doc is so worldly and wise for knowing to search the shoes. He should have taped PSAs for DARE on the importance of shoe-searching for parents. (plk)

Albert does smack on the prairie. He gave the big "just say no" speech to the class at the end. Because ... there was a big drug problem on the prairie back in the day. (ctygrltif2)

At the end of the episode, the voice-over says Albert returned to Walnut Grove later as the town's doctor. This is seemingly in contradiction with the events of Look Back to Yesterday where he is terminally ill.

A graying Charles Ingalls, sales assistant
Charles with his trouble-attracting son, Albert
Albert gets the drugs out of his system
Jason Carter with his placebo glasses
A Child With No Name

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.17 (198)1
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast February 14, 1983, NBC / Production #8466

Co-Starring: Elmore Vincent (Floyd). Featuring: R. L. Tolbert (Stage Driver). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)2, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)2.

1 This is the last episode for Ketty Lester as Hester-Sue Terhune.
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

Laura Wilder gives birth to a baby boy whom Dr. Baker declares healthy. However, soon after, the baby suddenly dies. Laura blames Dr. Baker, and the townsfolk stop using his services. The doctor is forced to start making plans to leave Walnut Grove. Then Laura's other child, baby Rose, develops a fever. Against Laura's wishes, Almanzo fetches Dr. Baker, who diagnoses smallpox. The doctor quarantines himself with the Wilders and treats Rose until the crisis has passed. Now regretting her distrust of him, Laura leads a town deputation which asks Dr. Baker to stay on.

This episode is usually criticized for being a blatant copy of To Run And Hide from the fourth season. Note, however, that the reason for Dr. Baker giving up his post is different. In the former, it's a crisis of self-confidence; this time, it's a lack of business. Having said that, why do the townsfolk take Laura's side? They would know that her stance against Baker is irrational.

The whole story line with Laura blaming Dr. Baker for the baby's death is just so ridiculous. I get that a grieving mother might blame the doctor, but the whole town? And crib death was fairly prevalent back then. It's not like this was unheard of. Heck, even Caroline's son died and no one blamed the Dr. (aquarius68)

Weird thing I noticed: when Harriet jumps on the "we hate the Doc" bandwagon, she's telling Nels that she won't ever take the children to him again because it would be irresponsible, she sounds oddly sincere. I mean, she bursts into tears (that appear to be genuine) and throws a towel at Nels in frustration. Especially in the later years, we almost never see sincerity from Harriet. She struck me as being actually concerned about her kids, albeit crazy and misplaced and all of a sudden, but still. (jird)

But truly, the best part of this scene is Doc Baker's "pained drunk face." You can tell he practiced that one in front of the mirror, probably for hours. Likely had 10 different versions of it, too. Usually, Doc only has one or two expressions. I will name them thusly:
1) Tsk-tsk. This is the sad, knowing expression, usually accompanied by a shake of the head and a "tsk tsk" sound. Upon examining a lost cause case, or finding out about someone's drug habit (see Albert, morPHINE), this face is usually made.
2) Earnest Concentration. Sometimes this expression is employed when Doc is rushing his buggy at top speed to get to the above-mentioned lost cause.
But this episode added a couple of new expressions into the repertoire:
3) Crumple Face. Devastated, sad beyond measure. Doc's "gifts" betrayed him. Has God forsaken him? How can he do the tsk-tsk face if no one respects him?
4) Drunk Crumple Face. Crumpled, devastated, but also with slurred speech and unfocused eyes. Face muscles all askew. (plk)

Laura blames Dr. Baker for her baby's death
Dr. Baker about to leave Walnut Grove
The Last Summer

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.18 (199)
Written by Duke Sandefur
Directed by Maury Dexter
Broadcast February 21, 1983, NBC / Production #8469

Guest Stars: Vera Miles (Ruthy Leland), Eric Christmas (Dewey). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

1 Uncredited on episode's titles.

Little Jason Carter begins doing odd jobs for a summer visitor to Walnut Grove, Ruthy Leland, and a close bond develops between the pair. Jealous, Jason's mother, Sarah, forbids the boy from spending time with Ruthy. It transpires that Ruthy is terminally ill and is living her last summer. Sarah apologizes to her for acting insensitively. At the end of the season, Jason bids a tearful farewell to Ruthy, who dies a couple of months later.

Sarah Carter and son Jason and the present from Ruthy
Ruthy comforts Jason
For The Love Of Blanche

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.19 (200)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast March 7, 1983, NBC / Production #8470

Guest Stars: Eddie Quillan (Buffalo Bill), Don Collier (Sheriff) And Strawberry (Blanche). Featuring: Elmore Vincent (Old Man), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster), Don Michaelson (Mr. Paine). Angella Kaye (School Girl)1, Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

Mr. Edwards is bequeathed an orang-utan named Blanche. Jenny takes Blanche to school where she attacks Nancy. The sheriff is called to shoot the animal, but Mr. Edwards and Blanche outwit him. The monkey is then secretly hidden at the Wilder place. Nancy finds out and the sheriff is again summoned. But, just as Blanche is about to be shot, a man from Chicago zoo arrives to give her a new home.

Not quite as bad as some of the other "comedy" episodes but maybe that ain't saying much. However, the (first) shoot-the-monkey scene is done quite well, but a later scene in which Edwards reads the animal a bedtime story really is the last straw.

The general idea presented by this episode is that orang-utans come from Africa (e.g. Buffalo Bill talks about his years in Africa). But they come from Indonesia/Malaysia.

Near the end of the scene where Mr Edwards is talking to Almanzo outside the mercantile, Almanzo's hair changes and is suddenly covering his forehead.

As Jenny leads the monkey to take its seat at school, we can see Jeb sitting next to Jason at the bench in front of where the monkey sits. A moment later, Jeb has vanished. (Steve)

Jenny, milking in the barn, hears Rose crying and is thus alerted to the fire indoors. However, she later says she was alerted when Blanche "yelled out", which is not true.

Blanche the orang-utan
Mr. Edwards (on the left) holding Blanche
May I Have This Dance?

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.20 (201)
Written by Chris Abbott
Directed by Victor French
Broadcast March 14, 1983, NBC / Production #8471

Guest Stars: Sherri Stoner (Rachel Brown), Jack Ging (Mr. Brown). Co-Starring: Barbara Townsend (Mrs. Flannery), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster). Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)1, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)1.

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

Laura is bequeathed a mansion and decides to open it as a boarding house. Meanwhile, Willie Oleson has fallen in love with a girl called Rachel. He deliberately fails his university entrance exams so he can stay in Walnut Grove and marry her. His angry mother, Harriet, refuses to have anything to do with his plans. Although, eventually realizing she can do nothing about the situation, Harriet creeps into the wedding ceremony hidden under a veil.

I did wonder how it was that Willie was going to be able to get into college, though. After all those years of being the worst student in class, he had enough knowledge to pass a college entrance exam? (And this was in the days when only the best of the best would be accepted.) Seems unlikely unless he was really smart all along and just lazy (unlike his sister who, it turns out, was both lazy and good at faking smart). (RhondaGC)

I've always been amazed at the number of large Victorian houses standing smack dead in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness surrounding Walnut Grove. Hanson had at least 2 (the one that became the blind school – and burned down; and the one where Harriet found the bond and blackmailed the town). That pretty Widow Thurman (the one everyone thought Charles was carrying on with) had one. There was that "haunted house" with the hermit living in it (Laura helped him clean it up and become a regular person again). This one that Laura inherits. I'm sure there are a few more that I'm not picturing at the moment. And each and every one was located in the middle of nowhere without any other homes in sight. (Neko)

There's a wonderful moment with both Nels and Harriet Oleson after Willie gets married. Harriet has taken to the bed because she doesn't approve of the marriage (heck, she accepted Nellie marrying a Jew. What was Rachel? A Muslim?) Nels eventually coaxes Harriet out of bed and they share a very romantic dance. Alison Arngrim said in her memoir that Richard Bull and Katherine MacGregor were the two actors most like their characters. They'd bicker and take pot shots at each other, but they also really respected each other. And coming ... to the end of the series, you can kind of see their mutual affection – as characters and actors – reflected in their eyes. It's really a sweet scene. (mmecorday)

Willie Oleson's pretty fiancée, Rachel Brown
Willie and Rachel get married; Nancy is a bridesmaid
Hello And Goodbye

Newspaper listingEpisode# 9.21 (202)1
Written by Don Balluck
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast March 21, 1983, NBC / Production #8472

Guest Stars: Robert Casper (Sherwood Montague), Jonathan Hall Kovacs (Matthew Rogers), Robert Darnell (Philip Rogers), Sherri Stoner (Rachel Brown). Co-Starring: Jim Lau (Proprietor), Peter Kwong (Employee). Featuring: Jack Lilley (Stage Driver), Ruth Foster (Mrs. Foster), Robert Ulrich (Customer). Angella Kaye (School Girl)2, Jennifer Steffin (Rose Wilder)2, Michelle Steffin (Rose Wilder)2.

1 This is the last appearance for Katherine MacGregor as Harriet Oleson. Officially, the actress was on a pilgrimage during the shooting of the subsequent three telemovies but Karen Grassle comments, "Her bitterness over Mike's [Landon's] lack of appreciation had bled so deeply into her spirit that she couldn't bear to be there."
2 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.

Sherwood Montague, a famous but rather haughty writer, comes to stay in Walnut Grove to research pioneer medicine. Meanwhile, the birth father of Matthew, Mr. Edwards' adopted "wild boy" son, turns up. At first, Matthew angrily rejects him, but gradually the boy changes his mind and eventually decides to leave the downhearted Mr. Edwards for a new life with his real father.

This unremarkable episode was the last regular installment of LHOP. The A New Beginning reworking had not been enough of a success for NBC to continue with the show, with the Nielsen ratings now only managing the lower end of the top thirty. Nevertheless, three subsequent telemovies were commissioned to wrap things up...

And now a more lowbrow observation: when Doc blows his nose (twice!) what the heck is he looking for when he carefully studies his handkerchief?? (charlieboo)

Remarkable sunlight they have in Walnut Grove. The scene where Edwards waits outside his cabin while Matthew and his father talk inside shows Edwards casting two shadows! (Steve)

The precise Sherwood Montague
Matthew Rogers, ex-wild boy

The opening title sequence for Seasons 9 and 10, as used on Times Are Changing.
(NB: Video file 1800kbps – you may not want to play this on a mobile/cell tariff!)

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9.01 Times Are Changing: Part I  (182)

9.02 Times Are Changing: Part II  (183)

9.03 Welcome To Olesonville  (184)

9.04 Rage  (185)

9.05 Little Lou  (186)

9.06 The Wild Boy: Part I  (187)

9.07 The Wild Boy: Part II  (188)

9.08 The Return Of Nellie  (189)

9.09 The Empire Builders  (190)

9.10 Love  (191)

9.11 Alden's Dilemma  (192)

9.12 Marvin's Garden  (193)

9.13 Sins Of The Fathers  (194)

9.14 The Older Brothers  (195)

9.15 Once Upon A Time  (196)

9.16 Home Again  (197 - 2 hours)

9.17 A Child With No Name  (198)

9.18 The Last Summer  (199)

9.19 For The Love Of Blanche  (200)

9.20 May I Have This Dance?  (201)

9.21 Hello And Goodbye  (202)

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