|Behind the scenes|
Hannibal Applewood was a one-time character in the Season 2 episode "Troublemaker." A school teacher who is brought in to get disciplinary issues under control at Walnut Grove School, the role of Applewood was played by Richard Basehart.
After Miss Beadle loses her job as schoolteacher at Walnut Grove School after several of the older boys cause trouble and she is unable to get them under control, a new teacher with a reputation for being a disciplinarian, Hannibal Applewood, is hired to take over the class.
Applewood immediately makes an impression on the students, laying out strict rules and making sure they know them and reminding them that he has no tolerance for misbehavior in the classroom. Several of the students don't take kindly to Applewood's rough demeanor, and while he proves to be competent in teaching the material, instead of getting the respect teachers ask for, Applewood instead quickly gains disfavor of the students.
One night, after being invited to supper at the Olesons, Applewood asks Mrs. Oleson about the students and what he should know. Mrs. Oleson uses this opportunity to tell him that Laura was the class pet under Miss Beadle but actually instigates most if not all of the trouble in the classroom, getting away with everything while her own children, Nellie and Willie, are harshly disciplined in the classroom for minor infractions. (Nels tries to correct his wife and says she's got her facts incorrect, but she shouts him down.)
The upshot is that Laura is unjustly blamed for several classroom incidents, accusing her of writing a disparaging remark about the teacher (Herman, one of the older, troublemaking students was responsible, writing "Mr. Applewood is a crabapple!") and pouring ink on the assignments (Herman again was responsible). Hannibal expels a completely innocent Laura from school. However, her Pa, Charles, goes to the school to ask for an explanation and plead his daughter's case. Applewood is forced to admit he jumped to a hasty conclusion and readmits Laura.
However, his show of mercy is short-lived. After Willie causes trouble in Laura's witness, Applewood immediately demands Laura identify the offender, but when she keeps silent and Applewood threatens to beat her in front of the class, Herman tries to stand up for Laura but is knocked to the floor. Charles hears the commotion and goes to the school to confront Applewood (who tries but fails to sucker punch Charles), dismisses school for the day and announces there will be a meeting.
During the meeting, Charles asks Applewood some tough questions about his past. Applewood tries to bluff his way out of why he left his past jobs, but when he realizes he has been exposed as a tyrant and poor disciplinarian, Applewood goes into a rant, screaming about how he hates children and feels they are nothing and need to be put in their place. Eventually, Applewood concedes defeat and resigns, and is replaced by the woman he replaced: Miss Beadle.
Applewood is never heard from again; several unofficial fan histories suggest that shortly after the events of this episode, he suffered a massive stroke that killed him.