Little House on the Prairie Wiki
"My Ellen"
Season 4, Episode 3
#72 overall in Series
Series: Little House on the Prairie
Network/Country: NBC
Original air date September 26, 1977
Episode Guide
IMDb logo.png IMDb My Ellen
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Landon
Guest starring: James Wainwright, Merlin Olsen, Corinne Michaels
Episode Chronology
Previous episode:
"Times of Change"
Next episode:
The Handyman"

When Laura and Mary go skinny-dipping with their friend, Ellen Taylor, some boys come by to get a glimpse. The girls hide underwater until they go away. Laura and Mary come back up, but Ellen becomes trapped under the surface and drowns. Ellen's grief-stricken mother blames Laura for the tragedy, then rebuffs efforts by several people to cheer her up.

Later, when Laura turns up missing – Mrs. Taylor had trapped Laura in the basement, thinking she is Ellen – suspicion falls on Busby, a man with intellectual disablities whom Charles had warned his daughters to stay away from. While the hunt is on for Busby, Laura must rely on her wits to escape Mrs. Taylor's clutches and help her come to terms with Ellen's death.



  • Caroline: (knocks on Eloise's door) Eloise? It's Caroline Ingalls. I thought maybe we could visit for a while. (long silence) Eloise?
  • Eloise: (without opening the door) Go home to your husband and your children. You're not wanted here.

  • Eloise: (to Laura at Ellen's funeral) You did this. It's all your fault.
  • Cal: Eloise...
  • Eloise: Well, it was! Always asking my Ellen to go swimming. If it weren't for you, she'd have been home with me.....home with me.....(breaks down in tears)

  • Eloise: (to Laura) Oh, my Ellen. My beautiful Ellen!
  • Laura: Mrs. Taylor...
  • Eloise: No. No! Say "I love you, Mama." (Laura is stunned and doesn't say anything) Say "I love you, Mama.
  • Laura: I.....I love you, M-mama.
  • Eloise: (hugs her tight) Oh, and I love you! Oh, promise me. Promise me you'll never leave me again. You promise?
  • Laura: I--I promise.

  • Cal: (to Charles when Laura disappears) At least you have hope. My Ellen would have been 12 years old today.

  • Eloise: Stop it, Ellen! Stop it!
  • Laura: Mrs. Taylor, I'm not Ellen!
  • Eloise: No!
  • Laura: I'm not Ellen, I'm Laura!
  • Eloise: No, NO!
  • Laura: ELLEN'S DEAD! (Eloise stops yelling and becomes silent) See? That's her grave. Ellen is dead.

External links

Previous episode: Next episode:
Times of Change The Handyman