Ma’s Holiday

Caroline, That’s Enough

(a recap by Will Kaiser)

Title: Ma’s Holiday

Airdate: November 6, 1974

Written by Dale Eunson

Directed by Leo Penn

SUMMARY IN A NUTSHELL: Charles takes Caroline on a vacation to Mankato, but she ruins it by worrying about the kids. Mr. Edwards babysits, feeds everybody a rattlesnake, and shoots a hole in the roof.

RECAP: There is a noteworthy guest star this week, but it’s not mentioned in the opening credits so we’ll keep that a surprise for now. 

We open on a fawn loitering down by the creek. Jack, fierce protector of the homestead that he is, barks at it from a safe distance. It wanders away without seeming too alarmed.

Inside the Little House, Pa and the kids are giggly because they have a secret. Pa has to take another trip to Mankato (they really didn’t worry about overdoing the Mankato trips this season, did they?). This time he wants Ma to come so they can have a vacation together.

Laura has a big milk mustache in this scene.

(Looking at Laura, my wife Dagny said, “I don’t think a green-eyed man and blue-eyed woman could produce a brown-eyed child.” I looked into this question, but the internet is full of vicious arguments about it so I leave you to explore on your own if you’re interested.)

Anyways, Caroline protests that the trip will take six days. (Now, a couple weeks ago I estimated a round trip to Mankato would take four days. But that was just a pickup job for the Mercantile; this time Charles is picking up goods and delivering lumber to who knows how many customers, so I stand by my math.) 

Ma’s worried about the children’s safety, but Pa says he’s already contracted with Grace Snider to stay with the girls. Cut to him stopping by Grace’s house (which we see clearly this time is not the Post Office) to pick her up. 

Grace comes out and says she has a sore throat so she can’t babysit anymore. Charles is disappointed, but doesn’t question her story. (He’s more trusting than I am; with all due respect, Bonnie Bartlett’s “sore throat” acting belongs in a sixth-grade play.)

Back at the Little House, Ma is fretfully getting the girls ready for their week with Grace. She really reminds me of my own mom, a near-pathological worrywort, through this entire episode. (I mean that with affection.) Rather than labor the comparison, I’ll simply add an asterisk (*) every time Caroline exhibits behavior like dear ol’ Ma Kaiser.

(My mom’s got a Wisconsin accent, though. While Karen Grassle never quite goes full British breakfast in this one, she comes close several times. She also sounds like she has a cold in the Walnut Grove scenes, but not the Mankato ones.)

Anyways, Pa returns Gracelessly. He tells the womenfolk Grace is sick. “Couldn’t we get somebody else, Pa?” asks Mary. “I tried,” he said. “I just couldn’t.”

This raises the question, whom did he ask? Let’s consider the possibilities:

  • Miss Beadle. A spinster, she could take residence at the Little House without disrupting her own home life. She’d simply take the girls to school with her every morning. (Carrie, who’s pre-K age, could sit in the front row with Willie, the Midsommar Kid, and Johnny Johnson.) But while the Bead is fond of Laura and Mary, it’s also clear she hates kids generally. 

Twenty-four-seven childcare would be ruinous to her mental health – perhaps irretrievably so. That means she’s out.

  • Mr. Hanson and Doc Baker. These kindly, sexually ambiguous gents (who may or may not live together) are also a logical choice. PROS: They’re caring, good providers, and highly organized. Also, Doc getting paid in chickens ensures an all-you-can-eat Mother and Child Reunion buffet. 

CONS: Doc’s on call day and night, and Hanson is a workaholic (remember, we caught him at the mill on a Saturday). Worse, they bicker constantly. 

“You know what, blow me, Lars.”

Plus, Doc’s a bit of a drinker . . . though if it comes to that, not as much as some people. 

  • Reverend Alden. I actually don’t think he lives in Walnut Grove, since (we learn later) he serves multiple communities throughout the region. He spends his week conducting funerals, ministering to shut-ins and the like, so he’s out too. Plus he’s kinda mean this season. 

  • Mrs. Oleson. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. But seriously, what an episode that would make.

  • Mrs. Foster. We don’t know much about her at this point; it’s not even clear if she works at the Post Office yet. But she’s likely a good choice: She pitched in with the flailing and winnowing, so she has a helpful nature and an established relationship with Caroline. 

Plus she’s always smiling.

Now that I think about it, this is probably how she gets her start at the Post Office – filling in for Grace while she’s sick! I’m sure she’d be glad to babysit otherwise.

  • Mrs. Peters, the English guy’s widow who moves like a mime. But she’s still in mourning, so no, impossible. Nevertheless, she does owe Charles for his free fatherly pep talk in “100 Mile Walk.”

Not to mention Charles did return her husband’s head

  • The Nordstroms. Not a chance. Charles would never subject his kids to that. (“How was school today?” “Great!” “Did they mock you and pull your hair? Do not lie!”)

  • Amy Hearn. Wouldn’t she be grand! She has boundless energy, loves the girls, and could put them to work in a revenge plot against her enemies or something. But sadly, I’d put money on her being dead. After her kids came to visit, with her life’s mission completed, she surely croaked immediately.

Sláinte, Amy Hearn.

This really leaves only two options. First, Nels, who would do a great job and think he’d died and gone to Heaven to be free of his wretched family for a week. He could leave the store in his wife’s hands; they’d probably make more money that way, in fact! But no, Harriet would never allow him even a brief respite from her clutches. 

That means we’re down to one . . . and the wind heralds his approach, carrying a whistled rendition of “Old Dan Tucker.” Hilariously, the subtitles read “SOMEONE WHISTLING OLD DAN TUCKER.” 

Who could this “someone” be? You know it: everyone’s favorite violent drunk, toddling up the driveway! He looks filthy.

The girls rush to him, explain the situation, and beg him to stay with them for the week. “Well,” he says, “I might could be persuaded.” There’s no indication where he’s living now – clearly not at Grace’s. In fact, why did he even come over? It’s never explained. (“He lives in a shack,” said Dagny. “Look at him.”)

No matter, he compliments Laura on her lemon verbena (heh) and they head up to the house.

Charles is thrilled their problem’s solved, but Caroline’s filled with anxiety (*). Mr. Edwards says there’s no work for him at the mill this week, so there’s nothing to stop him from babysitting. Caroline protests he probably wouldn’t want to take care of girls – a sexist remark that annoys Laura. 

Charles, who seems quite eager for this trip to go on, says excitedly, “I don’t know why I didn’t think of you first off!” I dunno, maybe because . . . THIS:

Previously on Little House

Mr. Edwards says the Ingallses can depart at once; all he has to do is pick up another shirt (his white church one?) from home. Caroline starts flapping about (*), but everyone tells her to shut up and hustles her out the door.

Caroline wrings her hands and dithers (**) but Charles gets her into the wagon. They take off, but Ma keeps screaming out warnings about rattlesnakes and things until Charles says in his Big Man voice, “Caroline, that’s enough.”

By the way, throughout this scene Dags kept claiming she can tell one Greenbush twin from the other. I’m not so sure. “One’s hair is a lot rattier,” she said. “It’s obvious.”

After the break, we return to Mr. Edwards summarizing his adventures over supper. He says he was once pinned to the ground by a tree that fell on him. “What did you do?” says Mary. “Get depressed and attempt suicide multiple times?” Just kidding, of course that hasn’t happened yet.

Laura asks if he was killed and then resurrected, which she says happens “a lot in the Bible.” (“Also later on this show,” said my stepson Roman.)

“Wouldn’t want to take a chance on that,” says Edwards. He says Indians rescued him and made him their blood brother – “a custom among savages.” (The novelist Holly Messinger argues here that this isn’t and never was a thing among Plains Indians; and the Wikipedia entry for blood brother doesn’t mention North America at all.) Mr. Edwards then claims the Indians gave him the name Sitting Bull, so it’s possible his entire story is meant to be a lie. (“Maybe he meant his name is Talking Bullshit,” said Dagny.)

The real Sitting Bull

Carrie starts feeding Jack under the table. Mary scolds her, but Mr. Edwards says only losers like herself get upset about such things. Then Edwards tries to feed Carrie some stew and she puts a spoonful of it on his nose. 

Mary says they’ll do the dishes, but Mr. Edwards says no need and gives Jack his plate to lick. (Like there’s something wrong with that?)

Mr. Edwards goes to attend to the livestock, and Mary informs Laura there’s a real Sitting Bull who “massacred General Custer in a place called Little Bighorn.” I’d give this scene about a D+ for racial sensitivity. 

The Battle of Little Bighorn, by Amos Big Heart Bull
General George Custer

But never mind that for now, the Battle of the Little Bighorn didn’t happen till 1876! This definitely throws my attempt at a coherent timeline out the window. The only way to reconcile it, as I see it, is if the Mr. Edwards stories we’ve seen so far take place much later than some of the other events. This would explain why Edwards doesn’t appear in the other episodes, as well as his story about a smallpox outbreak at the Homestake Mine, which wasn’t discovered until 1876. But as an approach to serialized television drama, it’s pretty crackers.

And it creates additional problems. Because remember the lemon verbena! Laura is entranced when Miss Beadle wears it in “Country Girls,” which is almost certainly set in 1871, since it documents the girls starting school in Walnut Grove. If Mr. Edwards doesn’t come to town and buy her the fragrance as a gift until 1876 or 1877, a) that’s a loooong time for Laura to be obsessed with the scent; and b) she’d be fifteen or sixteen years old by then. Not to mention, in “Town Party Country Party” Cloud City Princess Leia finds the lemon verbena in Laura’s bedroom, so clearly that story at least is set after Mr. Edwards’s arrival.

Previously on Little House

I could talk about this all day, but we must move on. Laura and Mary put Carrie to bed. Then they claim Ma and Pa listen to them say their prayers every night (though we’ve never seen that happen). So, Mr. Edwards listens to them pray. (His experiences with Grace having taught him how alternative religious views are received in this community, he keeps his mouth shut this time.) 

Then he kisses them goodnight, which is sweet, and pats Laura’s rump, which sort of isn’t.

He blows out the lamp, and then says to himself, “Okay . . . now where do they keep that booze at!” Just kidding on that last part. (“No shit, that’s the first thing you check out when you’re housesitting,” said Dagny.)

“Now where do they keep that booze at!”

Meanwhile, somewhere along the road to Mankato, Charles and Caroline have pulled over for the night. They’re sleeping on the ground, not in the wagon, and Caroline is very scantily clad (for her), wearing a light nightgown with bare shoulders (!). Obviously, I bring this up not to lech after her, but merely to observe we’re now in the warm-weather months again. 

That said, this scene did raise a question for me: What was the etiquette around outdoor sex in Pioneer Days? Was it the same then as it is now (viz., if you get the opportunity, do it)? Or was there more to it? Like, if you’d camped at the side of a road, would you need to be quiet so as not to attract animals or banditos? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Florence Hartley doesn’t touch on this topic in her Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness

Anyways, it’s pretty clear Charles and Caroline have opted for a sex-free night. They’re asleep, but the latter sits up suddenly and says she forgot to remind the girls to collect eggs from the henhouse. (She does look gorgeous. She has her hair down; I think it’s a wig, but it isn’t braided like her usual bed-head look.)

Exasperated, Charles says just relax and enjoy the vacation already. He says if she’ll stop jabbering about the girls every ten minutes he’ll buy her a new bonnet in Mankato. Such bargains are not really advisable in relationships . . . but we know their marriage is plenty healthy in other ways (I think so, anyway) so we’ll let it pass.

WILL: Why is Charles wearing his clothes when Caroline is so lightly dressed?

DAGNY: It’s his nightshirt.

WILL: No, I think it’s just his regular pink shirt.

ROMAN: Yeah, it’s just Pinky.

Caroline ultimately agrees it’s pointless to get worked up. She tries to sleep but her face pinches up and she keeps worrying (****). Karen Grassle sounds like she has a cold here too. 

Back at the Little House, Mr. Edwards is awakened by Carrie crying. He finds her sitting at the table. Having shoved her dinner up the babysitter’s nose earlier, she’s hungry now. He warms up some leftover stew only to find she’s gone back to bed. Then he gives Jack the stew. That dog’s going to get diarrhea.

(“What did they feed dogs in the old days?” asked Dagny. I assumed meat, but looks like it was often a mixture of meat and starch, or even just wet bread alone. Commercial dog food wasn’t available in America until the 1890s.)

The next day, Mr. Edwards fails to rouse the girls, so they’re late for school. Then we get a montage of Carrie craziness, set to “ODT” arranged in the style of that god of Wild West music, Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland, the little gay Jewish New Yorker who created the sound of the Old West

DAGNY: Did you count how many times they play “Old Dan Tucker” in this one?

WILL: No, but it’s a lot less than last time. This is like heaven on earth compared to last time.

First Mr. Edwards washes some sheets – which I think is quite nice of him, though it occurs to me maybe Carrie wet the bed. While doing the wash he walks around with what I first thought was a cheroot or something in his mouth, but it turns out to be clothespins. 

He has to start over, though, when Carrie pulls the wet sheets down into the dirt.

(“I had an auntie who once washed my hair on a washboard,” said Dagny. “It was really long at the time.”)

Anyways, eventually Mr. Edwards ties Carrie to a post.

Later, they’re walking down a hill when they hear a rattlesnake, just like Caroline warned them about. Mr. Edwards rushes ahead with his rifle and blows the snake to smithereens. The camera shot at first seemed horrifically graphic and gory – we all screamed, and Roman said, “What is this, Scanners?”

“What is this, Scanners?”

But when I slowed it down I could see a) they used a fake (or at least pre-killed) snake, b) it’s just a squib blowing up under the dirt the fake snake’s sitting on, and c) there’s no blood or gore whatsoever. Excellent illusion, Leo Penn!

Now, except for this scene and Caroline’s yelling on the wagon, I don’t think we ever see or hear of a rattlesnake on this show again. Today, there are no rattlesnakes around Walnut Grove, but there are some types both to the east and west, and it’s likely they had a greater range in the Nineteenth Century than they do now. I don’t know much about snakes, but it’s pretty clear the live one and the dead one are different individuals and probably different species. 

Live Little House rattlesnake
Maybe a prairie rattlesnake?
Dead Little House rattlesnake
Eastern diamondback, possibly? Or just a prop?

Mr. Edwards picks up the dead snake . . . and starts menu-planning, if you can believe that. We then get a comedy scene where he cooks it in an “Indian stew” and tries to get the girls to eat it. In a cute touch, he’s given Carrie the snake’s rattle to play with. 

This scene is intercut with one showing Charles and Caroline eating in a nice Mankato restaurant. Ma seems relaxed, and she and Charles have a flirty little conversation where he pretends the restaurant food is better than her cooking, and then is like, no way, it isn’t. 

But Charles goes on to make a crack about how expensive the restaurant is and how it’s spoiling his enjoyment of their dinner. Then he complains about the small portions! Boy, they really are my parents in this episode.

Back at the Little House, Mary and Laura don’t know they’re eating snake, yet they frown and wrinkle their noses like it’s inherently disgusting-smelling and -tasting. Even Jack won’t touch it. Well, honestly, this is just anti-snakemeat propaganda. In 2011, a New York Times food writer did a story on eating rattlesnake, and while she didn’t love it, she mainly said it was boring and didn’t taste like anything at all.

I will say, though, Melissa Sue Anderson’s “gagging” acting puts Bonnie Bartlett’s “sick” acting to shame.

The scene ends with the obligatory shot of Carrie eating with her mouth wide open.

ROMAN: How long are they going to hold that shot?

DAGNY: This show is the worst offender I’ve ever seen for having people with food falling out of their faces. I can’t stand it.

Next we get a scene where Carrie asks Mr. Edwards to read her a story before bed. Well, Carrie doesn’t actually say much, but Mary receives her wishes via telepathy and translates them. The book Laura brings out is The Story of The Three Bears, illustrated by Leonard Leslie Brooke. It wasn’t actually published until 1905, but the pictures are fun.

Illustrator Leonard Leslie Brooke, painted by Charles Barnes Upton

We in the audience know or suspect Mr. Edwards can’t read because of his evasiveness during the lemon verbena letter scene in “Mr. Edward’s [sic] Homecoming.” Those suspicions are now confirmed when he won’t read The Three Bears properly but instead makes up his own version. But in the manner of real children everywhere, Carrie insists on having the text verbatim. Eventually Mr. Edwards hands the book to Laura and asks her to take over. (She does read the actual text of the book.)

I like the way Victor French plays this scene. His Edwards is often clownish, but he has dignity. Here we feel the character’s stress and embarrassment as he bluffs his way through the story, knowing full well he isn’t going to fool the girls. He hasn’t the courage to tell them the truth, but he trusts they will keep his secret and not shame him. It’s a committed performance, and French puts a lot into it.

Anyways, Mr. Edwards falls asleep like two pages into the story, making a confrontation over his reading abilities or lack thereof immaterial.

DAGNY: Do you think Mr. Edwards’s hair is a perm? It’s pretty tightly curled.

WILL: No, surely not.

DAGNY: You never know. Bob Ross‘s was.

Meanwhile, at the hotel in Mankato, Charles and Caroline are in bed. Charles is shirtless, but we can tell from his face he didn’t get lucky tonight. 

Caroline is sleeping fitfully, then she starts to get up, thinking she hears Carrie calling her. (Karen Grassle’s “sleeptalking” is somewhere between Grace’s sore throat and Mary’s gagging on the acting spectrum.) 

Unfortunate choice of words, Caroline

Charles wakes her and reminds her they’re in Mankato. He leans in, thinking a sexual opportunity may be presenting itself, but Caroline just says goodnight and goes back to sleep. Charles actually looks down dickwards (!) before accepting it’s another Long Dark Night of No Orgasms and closing his eyes.

Back at the Little House, the camera backs out from a closeup on Mr. Edwards’s face through a closed window to show a storm has blown up in the night (a cool shot).

Upstairs, Mary and Laura are whispering about how Mr. Edwards can’t read. Laura thinks maybe books weren’t invented when he was a kid, but Mary says George Washington knew how to read so that’s impossible.

Then Laura sits up, Caroline-like, and says they forgot to get the eggs. (So in case you’re wondering how long a psychic message takes to travel across the state of Minnesota, it’s 24 hours.) 

The girls light the lantern and head out in the pouring rain. The chickens, annoyed at being awakened, start squawking. This rouses Mr. Edwards, who assumes it’s chicken thieves.

WILL: He really thinks chicken thieves would strike during a thunderstorm?

DAGNY: Are you crazy, that’s the best time for chicken thieves to strike.

Edwards grabs his rifle and is just heading to the door when it opens. The door bumps him and his gun goes off and shoots a hole through the roof. It’s a simple gag, but it happens very fast and is rather funny.

Mr. Edwards stands under the hole getting wet and yelling at the girls. You can tell he was a pa himself, because his attitude quite Charlesish in its The-Man’s-Word-is-the-Final-Wordness. 

Back in Mankato, Caroline is in a shop trying on a big and very ugly bonnet. (“I like the ribbon, though,” said Dags.) A fussy-looking saleslady highlights its “ruching” for her (that was a new one to me). 

A top made with the not-at-all-sloppy-or-wrinkled-looking ruching technique

The lady says the bonnet costs $2.50 ($50 in today’s money). Charles flinches stupidly and Caroline says, “Oh, no, that’s too dear.” But Charles catches himself and insists on buying it for her. 

Then, in the most disturbing segment of this episode, before they’ve purchased the hat, a woman in black pops her head in the front door, addresses the saleslady as “Jess,” and asks if she’s seen “Mona or Louise.”

“Not this morning, Mrs. Kirkwood,” says the saleslady. Mrs. Kirkwood asks the lady to send them home if she sees them and departs.

Caroline says she hopes the mother finds her children soon, and the salesday says, “I’m afraid she won’t.” (There really should be an ominous horror chord at this point; wake up, David Rose.)

The lady goes on to explain that the woman is mad and her children have been dead for fifteen years. Long story short, they died in a fire that started because their mother left them home alone. Caroline rushes out without buying the bonnet. 

This show has a really sick sense of humor sometimes. Dale Eunson just burnt two children to a crisp and drove their mother insane just to make Caroline Ingalls feel guilty.

Meanwhile, Mr. Edwards is fixing the roof of the Little House. But he looks around and Carrie has disappeared. Fearing the worst, he rushes down to the creek.

DAGNY: Is this the one where Carrie drowns?

ROMAN: Yeah, and Ma goes insane and abducts Nellie.

He spends some considerable time looking for her. We’re not supposed to be worried, though, because they’re playing “Old Dan Tucker” and not scary music on the soundtrack. The hayloft, the privy, he can’t find her, ha ha. Turns out she’s hiding under the bed. This goes on for like twelve minutes.

Finally, he brings Carrie up to the roof so he can finish the repair, nailing her dress down so she can’t fall off.

Back in Mankato, the Ingallses are going out to a play. “I’d just as soon have gone to the prayer meeting, it wouldn’t have cost anything,” says Caroline. She really knows how to live it up, doesn’t she. 

Charles says “the fella at the freight depot says it’s the funniest play he’s ever seen.” They head into the auditorium whilst in the lobby people move around to reveal a poster with the name of the play: Abandoned Daughters. (Needless to say, this one is not real.)

Here is some of the dialogue:

DAUGHTER #1: Why is our mommy going to leave us? Doesn’t she know we need her?

DAUGHTER #2: I guess she doesn’t love us. 

DAUGHTER #1: Here she comes now! Maybe we can make her change her mind.

DAUGHTER #2: Mommy, please don’t go away!

MOTHER: I must. I have my own life to live. Your grandmother will take good care of you.

DAUGHTER #1: But we need you, Mommy! We love you!

MOTHER: Your love is not enough! I cannot waste the best years of my life cooped up in a small house in the country. I must go to the city! Bright lights, adventure!

“The girls’ voices are horrible,” said Dagny. “It sounds like Rocky and Bullwinkle.” And in fact, the voices are done by our Mystery Guest, the legendary June Foray, who voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel and about a zillion other classic cartoon characters.  

My favorite is the witch with the bobby pins.

Anyways, there are a number of weird things about this scene. First, we’re meant to believe Charles and Caroline came to this theater, bought tickets, etc., without either of them knowing or noticing the play’s title? Second, the “fella at the freight depot” said the show was a comedy, though we hear no laughs from the audience whatsoever and the content seems to be tragic. Furthermore, the Abandoned Daughters poster says “starting to-night,” meaning the “fella” couldn’t have seen it already. So, either he was thinking of another play, or he’s a sadistic ironist who just likes fucking with people. (I wonder if he also recommended it to Mrs. Kirkwood.) 

I actually think it would be funnier to have the audience convulse with laughter at the “tragic” dialogue, with only Caroline being horrified. As is often the case with Little House, the approach to the material is a little too earnest to be as funny as it might given slyer direction.   

Ha ha! Ha ha ha!

But never mind. Charles leads the weeping Caroline from the theater and tells her they’ll cut their “holiday” short and head home in the morning.

Back at the Little House, Mr. Edwards is teaching the kids an important life lesson: An omission does not equal a lie. Everyone agrees not to tell Ma and Pa about the roof unless specifically asked about it. 

On the road to Walnut Grove, Caroline is feeling regret at coming home early. At first it seems Charles is going to be a prick about it, but soon he’s doing the Landon giggle (“He has the laugh of a madman,” said Roman) and everything’s good between them again. This is another life lesson: A happy sex partner at home is worth all the romantic getaways in the world. And certainly, we’ve never gotten an indication the Ingallses’ usual sex life is anything but happy and regular. Quite the contrary, in fact, despite Little House being a 7+ show.

We then get a shot of the wagon where it’s pretty clear it’s not Michael Landon and Karen Grassle in it.

At the house, Mr. Edwards is giving Carrie a “horsey” ride on his back, and Laura and Mary climb on as well. Immediately, he throws his back out.

WILL: I can’t say I’m very surprised. I actually can’t believe they let Victor French do it and risk injuring himself.

ROMAN: Anything for Little House.

Edwards says this has happened before. Mary asked what he did that time. “I cussed a lot,” he says, and Laura hilariously offers to go outside so he can do it again. Then he says with his back hurting, he won’t be able to cook supper again. The girls assure him it’s all right, they’ll cook. “Won’t taste as good, but we won’t starve,” says Laura. Ha!

The girls then start bickering about who’s going to do which chores. “You two carry on like this when your ma’s here?” asks Mr. Edwards. “No, sir,” they reply. (“They actually do behave like this all the time,” said Roman.)

“Well I’m your ma now, so stop it,” Edwards says. It would be funny if he dressed up in Caroline’s clothes and they came back and caught him.

Laura then brings the eggs to the Mercantile, where once again Nels is without his string tie. It may be he’s having a stressful morning, or it may be Charles borrowed it for his trip to the big city. 

Nels glances outside and notices Charles and Caroline returning a day early. Laura tells him to stall and rushes out. Good old Nels asks zero questions and is like, yeah, I’ll stall your parents without the least idea what’s up. Some of my friends’ parents in high school were like that.

When they arrive at the store, Nels gives an excuse for needing to unload Charles’s wagon of goods before dropping Caroline at the house.

Then Laura and Mary scramble to make the house fit for their parents’ return. I’m not sure why they’re panicking, since the house doesn’t look any different than usual. The music sounds like it’s from a 1950s film about how the dishwasher will revolutionize the life of the American housewife, or something.

If you want to hear the actual music, a fellow Little-House-obsessed person called achilesbmt uploaded a bunch of musical cues from the show to YouTube. The “cleaning music” is at 8:28:

When they arrive, Karen Grassle sounds stuffy again. She and Victor French must have gotten along well, because there’s good chemistry in this final scene. 

Blah blah, the cover-up is a success, the end. Bum-Bum-Ba-Dum

STYLE WATCH: Charles appears to go commando again. Caroline wears a nice dress-and-bonnet combo in Mankato. Not sure I like the string tie on Charles, though; it takes a Richard Bull to pull that look off.

Caroline also does her hair up in a pink bow (a rare thing indeed) to go to the theater.

THE VERDICT: Lightweight but charming.

UP NEXT: School Mom

Published by willkaiser

I live in the Upper Midwest. My name's not really Will Kaiser, but he and I have essentially the same personality.

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