| Season 1, Episode 3 |
#3 overall in Series
|Original air date||September 18, 1974|
|Written by||Blanche Hanalis|
|Directed by||William F. Claxton|
|Guest starring:|| Tracie Savage|
| Previous episode:|
A Harvest of Friends
| Next episode:|
100 Mile Walk
"Country Girls" was the second episode in of the first season of Little House on the Prairie, the second overall episode aired in the series. Written by Blanche Hanalis, the episode, which was directed by William F. Claxton, premiered on NBC-TV on September 18, 1974.
It is Laura and Mary's first day of school where they meet their new schoolteacher Miss Eva Beable (Charlotte Stewart). This is where they first meet Nellie Olesen, the daughter of local mercantile store owner who frequently refers to them as "Country Girls." Since Laura hasn't been to school before, she works especially hard at her schoolwork. When the students are given the assignment to write an essay and then present it to the class, Laura recites hers from memory.
While Caroline has to learn how to deal with Mrs. Oleson the rich part-owner of Oleson's Mercantile, Laura learns how to deal with the Olesons' spoiled daughter, Nellie (Alison Arngrim). Then Laura encounters an even greater problem, when all the children have to write an essay for Parents' Day, but when the day comes, she creatively rises to the occasion.
- Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls
- Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls
- Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls
- Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls
- Lindsay Greenbush / Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls
Recurring cast / Guest stars
- Barney as Jack
- Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson
- Jonathan Gilbert as Willie Oleson
- Charlotte Stewart as Eva Beadle
- Richard Bull as Nels Oleson
- Katherine MacGregor as Harriet Oleson
- Tracie Savage as Christy Kennedy
- Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) says that one of the reasons she felt so comfortable playing the role of Miss Beadle was because her godmother, Pauline Wilkie, was once a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in California.
- In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) revealed that actress Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) actually had very short hair and wore a wig most of the time. Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) and Allison Balson (Nancy Oleson) also wore wigs, and Karen Grassle wore a wig for bed time scenes. Anderson herself had to have one after receiving a bad haircut in real life during Season 7.
- In the scene where Laura and Mary first meet Miss Beadle and are in fact standing to the left of her desk while registering for school, Nellie is staring them down. However, if you look at Alison Arngrim (Nellie)'s head, it's clear she's staring across the aisle at what would be the side of the school on the right, the same position she was turned when the girls entered from the back of the classroom. This staredown obviously wasn't filmed in real time, but inserted later, having been filmed as the Ingalls girls entered, not while they were standing at Miss Beadle's desk - one of the earliest examples of money-saving editing that this series would frequently employ. Only a regular viewer is likely to notice such things.
- The whole scene with Laura and Nellie butting heads over the "Uncle John" song is taken from Laura Ingalls Wilder's fourth book, On the Banks of Plum Creek, from a chapter called "Nellie Oleson." Just like in this episode, Nellie did not like Laura singing this song on the playground with the other children in the book, and the girls got into a fight.
- In both the books and this series, Nellie Oleson was based upon three different girls from Laura's life: Nellie Owens, Genevieve Masters, and Stella Gilbert. The real Laura Ingalls went to school with both Nellie and Genevieve in Walnut Grove.
- Notice that Alison Arngrim (Nellie) isn't wearing a wig here. She had her own hair curled impeccably throughout this first season of the series. She would come onto the set very early every morning and go through a daunting process of curling it just right, and in the end it didn't always stay put (especially in hot weather). The wig was made after this season, and Nellie wore it for the rest of the series
- Caroline said, "Pride goeth before a fall." (a common misquote) The real quote from Proverbs 16:18 is: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."