"Episode 404: The Handyman"
Season 4, Episode 4
# overall in Series
Original air date October 3, 1977
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Written by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by William F. Claxton
Episode Chronology
Previous episode:
My Ellen
Next episode:
The Wolves

After Caroline complains about the small size of her kitchen, Charles decides to build an addition onto the house. However, he must leave to take a rush delivery to Mankato. Caroline hires a handsome young handyman named Chris Nelson to complete the job. Chris stays with the Ingalls family and unwittingly becomes head of the household in Charles' absence, prompting Carrie to mistakenly call the man "Uncle Chris."

Mary soon becomes convinced that her Ma and Chris are becoming romantically involved, and she freely expresses her opinions. Nellie and Mrs. Oleson don't help matters when they share Mary's suspicions. Eventually, Mary confronts Chris with her suspicions and tells him he must leave, only to find out later it was a misunderstanding. Charles later returns and finishes the kitchen.



  • Harriet: (about Chris coming to church with Caroline and the kids) Just like one of the family, isn't he?
  • Kezia: Well, I wouldn't mind having him in my family, if I had a family.

  • Harriet: Ugh. Really! If you ask me, it isn't proper, having a young man like that living in the house. I know I wouldn't feel safe.
  • Kezia: Well, I didn't ask you, but if it eases your mind any, Mrs. O, I can guarantee you, you'd be safe.

  • Caroline: Chris? Chris, where were you?
  • Chris: Around.
  • Caroline: Didn't you hear me call you? Charles wanted to meet you, especially to thank you for all your fine work.
  • Chris: Yeah, well, I'm glad he was pleased. Excuse me.
  • Caroline: Why'd you stay away?
  • Chris: I've been around families long enough to know when an outsider isn't welcome.
  • Caroline: You're not an outsider!
  • Chris: This is not my house, and it's not my family! (walks away)

  • Mary: (to Chris) I want you to go.
  • Chris: What?
  • Mary: You heard me. I want you to leave here, and never come back.
  • Chris: I don't understand.
  • Mary: Yes, you do.
  • Chris: No, Mary, I don't.
  • Mary: You love my mother, don't you?
  • Chris: Mary, I--
  • Mary: Just answer my question. You love my mother.
  • Chris: Mary, your mother is a fine woman.
  • Mary: You don't have to tell me about my mother. Just answer the question.

  • Mary: (long, awkward pause) I'll be out by morning.
  • Caroline: Just a minute, young lady! Why are you speaking to me like this?
  • Mary: Because I saw you! That's why!
  • Caroline: Saw me?
  • Mary: The two of you together, by the creek, holding each other!
  • Caroline: (horrified) Mary! Oh, Mary!
  • Mary: I didn't tell Laura. Now he's gone, and it's over.
  • Caroline: I'm surprised you would ever think that I--
  • Mary: That he loves you? He does, you know. He does, and so do I! I asked him last night, and he couldn't deny it.
  • Caroline: And that's why he's gone?
  • Mary: Yes! Yes, and I'm glad. I never want to see him again.
  • Caroline: Now, you listen to me. What you saw was not an embrace! I slipped on the creek bank and Chris caught me. That's all there was to that. I love your father more than anything in this world, and I always will. Chris is a kind, loving man who would never do anything to hurt me, or you. I am shocked and hurt to think that you would ever think such a thing!

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