"Circus Man"
Season 1, Episode 19
# overall in Series
Original air date February 5, 1975
Episode Guide
IMDb logo.png IMDb Circus Man
Written by Ward Hawkins
Directed by Michael Landon
Episode Chronology
Previous episode:
Episode 118: Doctor's Lady
Next episode:
Episode 120: Plague


Jovial Willie O'Hara, a traveling, patent-medicine salesman, comes to Walnut Grove with his talking crow and chimpanzee "Circus", appears to immediately cure Mr. Hanson's incurable headache and convinces most of the community that his remedy is good for anything, and everything, that ails them. But an angry Doc Baker must intervene when Mrs. Oleson believes that the potion will cure her life-threatening appendicitis and later, Laura learns a difficult lesson when she expects O'Hara's miraculous medicine to heal her seriously injured best friend...her beloved dog, Jack.


A travelling circus man, O'Hara (Red Buttons), with the gift of blarney and sleight of hand skills, persuades Charles to allow him to stay at the farm, where he charms Laura and Mary with his tricks and his animals. But when some of the townspeople prefer his 'miracle powders' to Doc Baker's medical treatment, the Doc gets Charles to send O'Hara on his way. Then their dog, Jack, is injured, and Laura is convinced that only O'Hara can heal him, so Charles fetches him back to tell Laura the truth.



  • Dr. Baker performs surgery and removes Mrs. Oleson's appendix in this story. This is in contrast to the season 6 episode "The Faith Healer" where he recommends sending a boy to a city hospital for the same procedure and the season 8 episode "Dark Sage" where he admits that he doesn't have surgical skills like Dr. Ledoux.?

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