|"A Harvest of Friends"|
| Season 1, Episode 1 |
#1 overall in Series
|Original air date||September 11, 1974|
|IMDb||A Harvest of Friends|
|Written by||John Hawkins|
|Directed by||Michael Landon|
|Guest starring:|| Karl Swenson |
| Previous episode:|
"Little House on the Prairie: The Pilot"
| Next episode:|
"A Harvest of Friends" was the actual pilot episode of Little House on the Prairie, the opening episode of the series' first season. It followed the ratings success of the TV movie "Little House on the Prairie: The Pilot", which aired during the spring of the previous TV season (1973-74). Written by John Hawkins, the episode, which was directed by series' star Michael Landon, made its' premiere on NBC-TV on September 11, 1974.
Charles and his family settle on farmland by Plum Creek just outside the town of Walnut Grove. To support his family until he can bring in a harvest, Charles works several jobs, establishing himself as a valued community member and a man of his word.
"Home is the nicest word there is." The Ingalls settle on the banks of Plum Creek, a small village near Walnut Grove, Minnesota, as Charles gets a job at Hanson's mill, for the lumber to build the 'Little House'.inset up the farm, as Charles must also take on several jobs at once.
He even commits to giving up his oxen if he fails to complete one of his projects by the agreed date. When Charles is injured during a family picnic, he can no longer carry out his responsibilities. The children attempt to do the heavy labor until the men of Walnut Grove pitch in to complete the job. In the end, Charles keeps his promise... and his oxen!
Then, needing a plough and wheat seeds to make a crop, he has a disappointing first encounter with the Olesons, and makes a tough deal with the feed and seed merchant, O'Neil. Despite the tough long hours of arduous work on top of his own farm work. Charles copes with his problems until a family picnic in the meadow leads to a serious setback with Charles getting injured after falling out of a tree while attempting to grab their toy kite that got stuck in a branch.
When O'Neil wants to strictly enforce the terms of their deal, threatening the Ingalls' prospects, the businessmen of Walnut Grove, who have seen Charles' willingness to work, come to his aid. At the end, Laura reminisces about her father claiming to have reaped a harvest he did not expect: a harvest of friends.
- Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls
- Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls
- Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls
- Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls
- Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls
Guest stars/Recurring cast
- Barney as Jack
- Karl Swenson as Lars Hanson
- Richard Bull as Nels Oleson
- Katherine MacGregor as Harriet Oleson
- Ramon Bieri as Liam O'Neil
- Charlotte Stewart: Eva Beadle
- Jim Jeter as Hans Dorfler
- Hal Burton as Driver
- Kevin Hagen as Hirim Baker
- Larry Moran as Boy
- Jack Lilley as Townsman
- Reverend Alden seems to be much harsher in this episode (compared to most others). What he says at the end of his sermon seems heavier, but it is in response to some of the husbands/fathers (including Charles) not being in attendance.
- Though not explained in the episode, in the books, Laura and Mary go to school the first days in shorter dresses and that is how they were immediately picked out as being "country girls". But it was never explicated and quickly changed.?
- At the very beginning, Laura says "If I had a remembrance book..." Then, later in the episode, she says, "In my remembrance book, I marked down..." It seems the writers couldn't decide if Laura really had a remembrance book, or if she was just wishing she had one.?
- Ramon Bieri, who played Mr. Liam O'Neill in this episode, died of cancer in May 2001, about 27 years after this episode was filmed. He was 72 years old.?