Little House on the Prairie Wiki
"The Lord is My Shepherd (Part 1)"
Season 1, Episode 13
#13 overall in Series
Series: Little House on the Prairie
Network/Country: NBC
Original air date December 18, 1974
Production code 1008
Episode Guide
IMDb logo.png IMDb The Lord is My Shepherd (Part 1)
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Guest starring: Ernest Borgnine
Richard Bull
Katherine MacGregor
Karl Swenson
Victor French
Bonnie Bartlett
William Cort
Laurie Lusher
Episode Chronology
Previous episode:
"The Award"
Next episode:
"The Lord is My Shepherd (Part 2)"

"The Lord is My Shepherd (Part 1)" was the first episode in a two-part story arc, also the 13th episode of Season 1 of Little House on the Prairie, also the 13th episode in the series. Written and directed by series star Michael Landon, the episode featured a special guest appearance by Ernest Borgnine. It made its' premiere airing on NBC-TV on December 18, 1974.


Afraid that the new baby will replace her in Pa's affection, Laura refuses to pray for her little brother. When he dies, she is overwhelmed by guilt and runs away to the mountains where she meets Jonathan. Her new friend helps her deal with her feelings and makes her a special wooden cross. While she is washing in the creek, the cross falls off and floats downstream helping Pa to determine where she is.

Full Summary

Charles is overjoyed when he finds out Caroline is pregnant. The biggest debate in the Ingalls household is whether the baby is going to be a boy or a girl. Laura thinks Pa wants a boy, but she hopes that God wants a girl.

Six months later, Caroline catches Charles building a crib in the barn. Both Caroline and Charles are referring to the baby as a boy. Laura goes out of her way to convince her Pa that she can be a boy to him.

Caroline asks Charles to ask Grace to come out for a visit, but it takes him a moment to realize that she is ready to have her baby.

In the loft, an anxious Charles waits with the girls. Finally, a baby's cry is heard and Charles is told he has a son, Charles Ingalls Jr. Mary and Carrie are excited but Laura is restrained.

Laura continues to try to impress her Pa that she can do anything a boy can do. At the church, the baby is baptized as Charles Frederick Ingalls.

At the picnic afterwards, Mrs. Oleson makes a snide comment about how Caroline now has four children while she considers Nellie and Willie more than enough. Caroline agrees that Nellie and Willie are more than enough.

Laura tries to convince Pa to come play ball with the other men, but he decides to play with his son, instead. Doc Baker arrives for his first checkup of the baby. The baby is not gaining weight so he recommends that the baby be put on regular milk.

Ma shows Mary how to prepare the formula to feed the baby. Laura shows Pa a school report, but Caroline calls him away to look at how the baby is eating before he has a chance to thoroughly look at the paper.

After watching the rest of the family tending to the baby, Laura walks outside and wads up her paper and throws it away. That night, Mary says an extra prayer for her new baby brother, but Laura refuses to do it even though Ma asked them to. Laura thinks that her Pa only cares about the baby.

Doc Baker reports that the baby is getting weaker and he recommends that they take the baby to the hospital in Mankato. The next day, they take the baby via wagon to Mankato while Grace stays with the girls. At the hospital, the doctor briefs the Ingalls on the baby's condition. They've seen the problem before, but there is nothing that they can do to stop it. The nurse calls the doctor away.

A moment later, the doctor calls for Charles and shortly thereafter he tells Caroline that the baby is dead. When Ma and Pa return to the farm, Mary asks them where the baby is. Pa answers simply, "In heaven, child." Mary runs to them and hugs them but Laura can't believe it. She runs off.

Several weeks later at church, the Reverend's sermon hits home for Laura. After church, Laura goes to talk to him about miracles and getting closer to God. She thinks he means physically closer.

Laura runs back to where the family is picnicking and asks Pa if they can play as many games as possible. He agrees. They all have a lot of fun and Laura is all smiles.



Supporting Cast

Guest Stars

Uncredited Supporting

Appearance in Credit Only


  • The church/school bell is absent from the building in this episode.?
  • This 2-part episode is Melissa Gilbert (Laura)'s favorite in the whole series. She says it's because "it really showed just what my relationship with Michael Landon was all about." Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie) also lists this episode as one of her favorites.?


Charles (to Caroline): Aren't you going to eat?
Caroline: Carrie already had lunch and I'm not hungry.
Charles: You've been eating enough lately to keep a bird alive.
Caroline: I'll gain weight soon enough. All women do.
Charles: Don't tell me you're worried about weight. You take after your mother. There's no way in the world you're gonna gain any pounds.
Caroline: There is one way.
Charles: Well, if there is, then I'd sure like to know.....(stops cold, looks at Caroline, she smiles and nods, he jumps up and hugs her) A baby!
Laura (to Mary): Do you want a brother or a sister?
Mary: I don't care.
Laura: Pa wants a boy, you know.
Mary: How do you know that?
Laura: Because every time he talked about the baby at supper, he said "him" or "he." That's how I know.
Mary: Well, only God knows if it's a boy or a girl, so you might as well get some sleep.
Laura: I hope God wants a girl.
Mary: You forgot the special prayer for Charles. Ma asked us to.
Laura: I don't have to.
Mary: Don't you even care about your own brother?
Laura: Pa cared enough for all of us. But that's all he cares about anymore.
Mary: That's not true, and you know it!
Laura: It is too true. I asked God for a sister, and He didn't listen. So now I don't care.
Mary: You take that back or I'll tell Pa!
Laura: Go ahead. He won't listen. He'll be too busy playing with our brother. Go on. Tell him, you'll see.
Caroline: (about the baby) He's still not gaining.
Doc Baker: Well, he's not gaining, but he's not losing. Just holding his own. I think we'll try putting him on regular milk. I believe that'll do the trick.
Caroline: But his appetite is good.
Doc Baker: Well, there might be something wrong with your milk, Caroline. It's just a difference in body chemistry. That's what they call it.
Caroline: It's never happened before.....
Doc Baker: Oh, now, don't start worrying. Everybody starts worrying when they don't have a fat baby.
Caroline: Oh, I'm not worried just so long as you say everything's all right.
Doc Baker: Everything's fine.
Reverend Alden (to Laura): Are you all right, child?
Laura: I wanted to ask you a question.
Reverend Alden: Well, certainly. Come sit down, right here by me. Now, what question?
Laura: It's about the sermon today.
Reverend Alden: Well, I'm happy to hear you were listening. I'm afraid some folks don't.
Laura: What can God do?
Reverend Alden: (pause) I don't think I know what you mean.
Laura: Well, you said that God can make all things possible.
Reverend Alden: Yes, that's right.
Laura: Like what things? You mean miracles?
Reverend Alden: Yes, sometimes even miracles.
Laura: How could you get a miracle?
Reverend Alden: Well, Laura, there's no way to guarantee that.
Laura: But there would be a chance if you prayed hard enough.
Reverend Alden: Yes, if you prayed really, really hard. You see, the closer you are to God, the more likely He is to listen.
Laura: The closer you are......
Reverend Alden: That's right.
Laura: Thank you, Reverend Alden. (smiles and runs out)
Charles: (about Caroline after the baby's death) She's got a lot of strength, that woman.
Mr. Edwards: That she does.
Charles: Laura's the one I'm worried about. She's taking this a lot harder than the rest of us. I try talking to her about it, but she just avoids it.
Mr. Edwards: Well, it's only been a few weeks. Time takes care of everything.

External links

Previous episode: Next episode:
The Award The Lord is My Shepherd (Part 2)