"Marvin's Garden"
Season , Episode
# overall in Series
Original air date December 6, 1982
Episode Guide
IMDb logo.png IMDb Marvin's Garden
Written by Michael Landon
Directed by Michael Ray Rhodes
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Jenny nearly drowns in a lake trying to recover her locket. Suffering from brain-damage, Jenny befriends a retired doctor named Marvin Haynes who helps her recover.



Guest Starring

Special Guest Star



  • This marks the last of three Little House episodes that focuses on a child whose stuttering problem causes issues for them at school. The first episode was with Laura's friend Anna in Season 3's The Music Box and the second was with James' friend Gideon in Season 8's No Beast So Fierce. In this episode, Jenny starts to stutter after a nearly fatal swimming accident, but unlike Anna and Gideon, her condition is only temporary.
  • This episode represents what was most likely Shannen Doherty's most demanding acting job as Jenny Wilder on the show. She had to stutter, limp and exhibit physical and emotional deficiencies in the wake of an accident. Many would agree that Shannen pulled it off well.


Marvin (to Laura) What about Jenny? She keeping busy?
Laura: There's not much she can do yet.
Marvin: Who says?
Laura: What?
Marvin: Who says there's not much she can do, you or Jenny?
Laura: Doctor...
Marvin: Just a minute. Let an old man talk for a while. If there's one thing I've learned from all my years of doctoring, it's that when a patient is down, you gotta get them back up.
Laura: I'm sure that in time....
Marvin: No, now's the time, I'm telling you, Laura! The more they do, the better off they are. I've had patients that doctors gave up on because they didn't have time. You've gotta push folks. Love them, but push them. Give them encouragement, but push them.

Marvin (to Jenny): So, you went back to school, and they acted different to you. Is that it?
Jenny: Yes.
Marvin: And you weren't different? You weren't any different from the way you were before? Of course you were.
Jenny: But they made me feel uncomfortable.
Marvin: That's because they were uncomfortable. They didn't know what to say to you. Land sakes, you've gotta give people a chance.
Jenny: Then Nancy said things...
Marvin: Nancy said mean things to you. Didn't she always? Didn't she?
Jenny: Well, yes, but...
Marvin: But nothing. She shouldn't be mean to you now because of what happened to you? That's nonsense. You're upset at the other children because they acted differently. You were upset at Nancy because she acted the way she always does.

Marvin (to Jenny): What are you gonna do now? Go home and feel sorry for yourself? That'll do you a lot of good.
Jenny: You don't understand. You pretended to be my friend, but you don't care. You don't care at all!
Marvin: That's it! That's it! Get angry! It's good for you! I do it lots of times, because I'm a doctor, and I'm going blind, and that makes me damn angry, because I'm still a good doctor, and I can't help people anymore! (voice softens) I do understand, and I do care. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have told you to go back to school. I didn't want you to, you know. I wanted you to spend your days here with me. I couldn't wait for you to come every morning. It made me feel that I was still able to help someone, that I was useful. And I wasn't quite so frightened with the coming doctors, because you were around. Jenny, you're my last patient and you're getting better. You're getting better all the time, and you can still keep getting better as long as you fight. You got angry today. Use it! Fight this thing. Show Nancy. Show them all!

Laura (to Almanzo): I don't think it's such a good idea for Jenny to be spending so much time at Marvin's.
Almanzo: Why not?
Laura: Well, you saw her. She's exhausted. She could barely keep her eyes open at the dinner table. She hardly even ate anything! I just don't think it's a good idea.
Almanzo: Beth, how many times has that child come home so exhausted from playing that she can barely keep her eyes open?
Laura: It was different then.
Almanzo: How?
Laura: She was all right then. How do we know this isn't making her worse? All that walking...
Almanzo: Beth, it's good for her. She's having fun, don't treat her like an invalid. You said you were gonna give this a chance.

Jenny (to Laura): You don't have to drive me to school tomorrow. I'm gonna walk.
Laura: That's an awfully long way. Are you sure?
Jenny: I'll make it. Believe me, I'll make it.

Laura: (voice-over) Within a few months, Jenny was running to school and by the end of the year, it was as though the accident had never happened. Jenny was Marvin's last patient and he was proud.

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