Little House on the Prairie Wiki
"Times of Change"
Season 4, Episode 2
#71 overall in Series
Original air date September 19, 1977
Episode Guide
IMDb logo.png IMDb Times of Change
Written by Carole and Michael Raschella
Directed by William F. Claxton
Episode Chronology
Previous episode:
Next episode:
"My Ellen"

Charles takes Mary to Chicago, where he is attending the Grange. There, Mary meets up with John Jr., who has started a job as a cub reporter for a newspaper. However, former lovebirds John and Mary soon find their lives headed in separate directions.



  • John: [to Mary] Here, you want to try some chewing gum? They just came out with it a few years ago.
  • Mary: What do you do with it?
  • John: Well, it's just like it sounds. You just chew it, but don't swallow it.

  • Mary: Why? Is it poisonous?

  • Laura: He always writes such sloppy things! Falling in love is such a waste of time. I'm going to stay right here with Pa forever and ever!

  • Mary: (while reading a letter from John) "Recently, I attended a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. The melodies at the piano reminded me so much of you, my sweet Mary, and the peaceful surroundings of Walnut Grove. Mendelssohn's title no longer seemed appropriate, as the music had words flowing through my mind."

  • Charles: (to Mary, who is pretending to be asleep after John broke up with her) I'm so sorry, darling. I wish there was something I could do.

  • Mary: His letters.....I believed them.
  • Charles: I know you did. But you know, sometimes things happen when there's a lot of distance between people. Maybe he just wrote you the things he thought you wanted to hear.

  • Mary: But I feel the same, Pa. I love John.
  • Charles: But he's not the same anymore, darling. He's changed, he's different. He's a city boy now, and he has different needs.

  • Mary: (about John) I could learn to be what he wants. I could change, too.

  • Charles: Oh, now, hold on. Change isn't always for the better. There's only one thing in this world that you can do better than anyone else.
  • Mary: What's that?

  • Charles: Just be yourself.

  • Mary: It hurts too much to be yourself.
  • Charles: Well, if you never felt a little bit of the pain of sorrow, then how would you ever know how good it feels to be happy?

  • Charles: I've had a bad evening, young man, and right now I'm about as angry as I've ever been.
  • John: I know, sir.
  • Charles: All right. You know. What kind of game are you playing?
  • John: It's not a game, sir. I didn't know you and Mary were coming.
  • Charles: Oh, and I'm supposed to understand that? You're supposed to be engaged to my daughter. Do you love her?
  • John: I care for her deeply.
  • Charles: I asked you if you were in love with my daughter.
  • John: (long silence) No, sir.
  • Charles: How long have you known?
  • John: I'm not sure. When you're far apart, it's easy to avoid knowing the truth. But seeing her again....I knew. And I did plan to tell her, but in a letter when she got back to Walnut Grove.
  • Charles: When she got back to Walnut Grove. And I'm supposed to understand that, too?
  • John: I'm a writer. The words come easier on paper.
  • Charles: When you first told my daughter you loved her, did you write her a letter about it?
  • John: This is different. I can't face her.
  • Charles: John, Mary has a right to hear this from you. And she has the right to let you know how she feels. You owe her that much.

External links

Previous episode: Next episode:
Castoffs My Ellen