Little House on the Prairie: Season 8 is a DVD box set that includes all of the episodes from season eight of the Little House on the Prairie television series. It was released in region one on June 14, 2005; currently, it has not yet been released in region two format.

In the United States, original episodes for season eight aired from October 5, 1981 to May 10, 1982. For the television rankings from 1981 to 1982 it charted in at number 25.[1]

Disc Features

Disc one

Disc two

Disc three

Disc four

Disc five

Disc six

Season notes

Principal cast

Recurring cast

Season 8 (1981–1982)

This is Michael Landon and Karen Grassle's final season, and also Victor French's return season.

Season 8 episodes
No. in series No. in season Title Director Writer(s) Original air date Production code
161 1 "The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 1)" Michael Landon Michael Landon October 5, 1981   8402
Nellie and Percival move to New York City to run Percival's family's store after the death of his father. Then Adam and Mary also move there when Adam takes a position at his late father's law firm. 

The blind school in Sleepy Eye has been taken under the control of the state, so Hester Sue moves to Walnut Grove to help Caroline run the restaurant and hotel. Harriet becomes very depressed, and Doc Baker suggests she and Nels adopt, but it takes a visit from Cassandra to revive Harriet's spirits. At the orphanage in Sleepy Eye, Harriet's wish is realized when she finds a young girl named Nancy who reminds her of Nellie and of Harriet herself as a child. Nancy quickly causes trouble at the school in Walnut Grove, but Laura has already worked out that Nancy is another Nellie. 

  • Notes: This is the first appearance of Allison Balson as Nancy Oleson. Melissa Sue Anderson and the scenes of Mary running alongside her younger sisters are also removed from the opening credits, as she stops being a regular character following this story. 
162 2 "The Reincarnation of Nellie (Part 2)Michael Landon  Michael Landon October 12, 1981   8403
Nancy tricks her new brother Willie into locking a classroom rival in the ice-house all night. She convinces Doc Baker and the Olesons that she was not responsible, but Albert and Willie work out the truth and foil her plot. Later, the adults learn that Nancy's account that she had been recently abandoned by her mother was untrue, and that her mother actually died while giving birth to Nancy, and she had since been moved from orphanage to orphanage because of her incorrigible behavior. Eventually, Laura and the other school children scheme together to play a trick on Nancy at the school's charity bazaar and seem to succeed in teaching her a lesson. 
163 3 "Growing Pains" Larry Bischof Maury Dexter October 19, 1981  8401
Charles and Caroline are finding life stressful trying to bring up five children in their crowded house, and Albert is not enjoying being an older brother to James who is having problems trying to fit into the family. 

After James is caught out in a lie and having stolen from the Mercantile, he runs away from home. Albert goes after him and, using some reverse psychology, tells him that he is running away too. During a severe thunderstorm, the two take refuge in an old house where they receive an unexpected welcome, and they settle their differences and return home. 

164 4 "Dark Sage" Vince Gutierrez Maury Dexter October 26, 1981   8405
Doc Baker hires a highly qualified doctor named Caleb Ledoux, but is disconcerted to discover that he is black. Despite a friendly welcome from the Ingalls, other citizens are diffident or openly hostile, while Doc Baker gives his new assistant only menial tasks. 

Eventually, when Doc Baker is unavailable for a call, Charles has to resort to desperate measures to enable Dr. Ledoux to attend to a pregnant mother experiencing complications during childbirth. Ledoux safely delivers the baby, but angrily decides he will never be accepted in the town and plans to leave. When Doc Baker makes an impassioned plea at the next church service and is supported by the congregation, Dr. Ledoux decides to stay.

  • Note: Melissa Gilbert appears briefly but has no speaking role. 
165 5 "A Wiser Heart" Chris Abbott Michael Landon November 2, 1981  8404
Laura is invited by Eliza Jane to attend a college class on 'Great American Writers' in Arizona, and on the train she meets a man, Mort, who is going to the same class and who takes a liking to Eliza Jane. However, she only has eyes for their class professor, but he causes problems between the two women when he propositions Laura. To pay her way, Laura has to work long hours as a dishwasher. Later, Eliza Jane is dismayed when she finds out the truth about the professor, but when Mort stands up for Laura against the professor, Eliza Jane says she will support Mort's application for a vacant teaching post at her school in Minneapolis, and they leave together on the train.

  • Guest starring: Leslie Landon as Pam, the other dishwasher.
  • Note: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle do not appear. 
166 6 "Gambini the Great" Jeri Taylor Michael Landon November 9, 1981 8406
Most of the people of Walnut Grove, including Harriet Oleson, are excited by the arrival of "Gambini the Great" (Jack Kruschen), an aging circus daredevil, but when Albert and Willie try to replicate some of his stunts, Charles and Nels are not impressed. Albert starts to spend all his spare time training with Gambini, but is brought down to earth when one of the daredevil's most dangerous stunts goes wrong. 
167 7 "The Legend of Black Jake" Chris Abbott Michael Landon November 16, 1981  8407
This is a comedy episode, in which Nels is kidnapped by a pair of bumbling criminals who demand a $100 ransom, which Harriet refuses to pay. Nels then plots his own escape and his revenge upon Harriet, which gets out of hand when it leads to several other members of the community also being kidnapped. 
168 8 "Chicago" John Hawkins & B.W. Sandefur Michael Landon November 23, 1981   8411 
Charles visits grief-stricken Mr. Edwards in Chicago after his adopted son John Jr. dies in an apparent street accident. Working with Callahan (M. Emmet Walsh), deputy editor of the newspaper John Jr. was working for, their enquiries rouse their suspicions over the circumstances of his death, and lead them to uncover political and business corruption which John Jr. was investigating. It becomes clear that John Jr. was murdered, and Charles and Edwards and Callahan bring the villains to justice.
169 9 "For the Love of Nancy" Chris Abbott Maury Dexter November 30, 1981 8408
When Mrs. Oleson leaves town for a week on a buying trip for the Mercantile, Nancy again feels that everybody hates her so she gets in being nasty first, including fighting with Cassandra (which has been a counterpart to the past fights between Laura and Nellie). Then an obesely overweight boy, Elmer, joins the school and is teased by his classmates, but he is a bright student and Nancy exploits his attraction to her. Albert and Willie see what she is doing and get her into trouble with Laura, but Nancy blames Elmer who decides to quit school, so the boys have to put things right.

  • Note: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle do not appear in this episode. 
170 10 "Wave of the Future" Jeri Taylor Maury Dexter December 7, 1981 8409
With Caroline and Hester Sue run off their feet at the restaurant, Harriet signs up with a franchise which promises greater efficiency and more profit, and the restaurant is renamed "Mrs. Sullivan's Kitchen". Unfortunately, Harriet has not read the small print in the contract, and the onerous conditions result in everyone's life becoming even more busy. When Charles reluctantly has to take over the cooking at home, he gets together with Nels to work on a plan to release Harriet from her contract and get things back to normal.

  • Note: The character in a white suit and hat in the final scene (credited as "Bearded Man") making a "business proposition" to Harriet is clearly a humorous allusion to Harlan "Colonel" Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. While clearly meant as a joke, technically this is an anachronism as Colonel Sanders was not born until 1890, and Kentucky Fried Chicken would not be founded until midway through the next century. 
171 11 "A Christmas They Never ForgotDon Balluck Michael Landon December 21, 1981 8410
Adam and Mary make a surprise visit to Walnut Grove for Christmas. They arrive with Hester Sue and join the family with Laura and Almanzo. Soon after, a fierce blizzard snows them in, and they all have to stay the night. Caroline, Almanzo, Laura and Hester Sue recall Christmas memories from when they were children.

  • Note: Melissa Sue Anderson and Linwood Boomer make their final appearances. Victor French's "special guest" appearance is an excerpt from the original 1974 pilot film.  
172 12 "No Beast So Fierce" Carole & Michael Raschella Michael Landon January 4, 1982 8412
James makes friends with Gideon (Peter Billingsley), a new young boy in school who stutters, but then Gideon catches James joining in the laughter at Willie's pretend stutter, and a distraught Gideon runs away from home. While the townspeople search for him, Charles takes James along on a shipping trip to Minneapolis. A feral wolfdog takes a liking to James and tags along throughout their journey. Caroline finds Gideon and persuades him to go home, and the wolfdog plays a key role in resolving the rift between James and Gideon. 
173 13 "Stone Soup" Peter Dixon Maury Dexter January 18, 1982 8413 
Laura and Almanzo have invested all their money in trees for an orchard. 

Then Almanzo joins Charles in a well-paid job hauling mining equipment to Arizona which takes them away for two months. Laura has a serious talk to Willie about responsibility, which he takes seriously, particularly after Laura (now five months pregnant) collapses from heat stroke trying to save the orchard during a heatwave. When Caroline tells the story of "Stone Soup" at school, Willie and Albert enlist their classmates to help the local farmers deal with the drought, starting with Laura and Almanzo's orchard. 

174 14 "The Legacy" Vince R. Gutierrez Michael Landon January 25, 1982 8414
Charles and a friend, Jack Prescott, deliver some tables, hand-made by Charles, to a store in Minneapolis, for which Charles makes a few "as a hobby". After Jack dies suddenly of a heart attack on the return trip, and after which his farm is sold and his nameplate casually tossed into the kindling by the new owner, Charles decides he wants to do something to be remembered for. 

He agrees to move to the city to work full-time on producing the tables for a trial period before selling the farm and moving the entire family and things go well at first, until a big furniture manufacturer copies the table and under-prices them. Sales dry up and Charles decides that his greatest legacy will be his children. But later, one of his tables with his 'CI' mark is bought as a prized antique at an auction in 1982. 

175 15 "Uncle Jed" Don Balluck Maury Dexter February 1, 1982 8415
James and Cassandra's grand-uncle Jed comes to Walnut Grove to visit them. He is now wealthy, having finally hit a big gold strike, and a donation to pay for a new roof for the church makes him popular in town. He also gets along well with James and Cassandra, so he decides that he can now offer them a home with him in Minneapolis. When the children choose to stay with the Ingalls, Jed reluctantly resorts to the law to gain custody. But then he finds out that his health is failing, so he tells the children he will let them stay with the Ingalls. 
176 16 "Second ChanceDon Balluck Maury Dexter February 8, 1982 8416
Hester Sue's ex-husband, Sam Terhune, comes to Walnut Grove claiming he has reformed himself from his drinking and gambling and asking for a second chance with her. Although she is initially suspicious and cautious, Hester Sue eventually gives in to her feeling that she still loves him, and it is not long before they plan to re-marry. However, on the wedding day, some surprise visitors show up, and Hester Sue sadly realizes that, despite his good intentions, Sam has not changed. But Hester Sue now has, and she forgives him.

  • Note: Melissa Gilbert and Dean Butler appear briefly but have no speaking roles. 
177 17 "Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 1)Don Balluck Michael Landon February 15, 1982 8417
Almanzo falls ill with diphtheria, and with Laura heavily pregnant, Charles goes to great lengths to help them. While Almanzo is recovering, there is a hailstorm which threatens their crop, and he rushes out into the storm in a panic and suffers a stroke. In the aftermath, he bitterly resigns himself to life as a 'cripple', and Laura welcomes the arrival of Eliza Jane. But they have different ideas about what will be best for Almanzo. 
178 18 "Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 2)" Chris Abbott Michael Landon February 22, 1982 8418
Almanzo grows more and more depressed after his stroke and refuses to perform his therapy, and even the birth of his daughter, Rose, doesn't help. Laura continues to clash with Eliza Jane, who wants them all to move to Minneapolis. Then Laura is injured when a tornado strikes, and she becomes angry when she discovers the calamitous effect upon their house. Seeing her anger, Almanzo is inspired to pitch in and help rebuild the house.

  • Note: This story was originally aired in two parts, of 80-minutes and 40-minutes (excluding commercials), but when offered in syndication, it may be shown in three parts, two parts or in its entirety. This is the final appearance of Lucy Lee Flippin as Eliza Jane. 
179 19 "A Promise to Keep" Vince R. Gutierrez Michael Landon March 1, 1982  8419
Laura and Almanzo's new house is completed and he has fully recovered his health. Then Mr. Edwards returns to Walnut Grove, but he hides that his marriage to Grace has failed because of his relapse into alcoholism. When he drunkenly causes an accident that nearly kills Albert, Charles angrily tells his old friend to leave town. 

However, Laura persuades him to stay, and he works on the farm with Almanzo and sobers up. But after more bad news, Mr. Edwards ends up in church where he prays and talks to Rev. Alden, who brings about a reconciliation with Charles. Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose is baptized and Mr. Edwards becomes her godfather.

  • Notes: Corinne Michaels appears as Grace Snider Edwards, replacing Bonnie Bartlett. (Michaels also appears in season four's "My Ellen", playing Eloise Taylor.) Although the real-life Almanzo lived to be 92, he never fully recovered his strength and had to walk with a cane. 
180 20 "A Faraway CryTeleplay by: Don Balluck
Story by: [[Pamela Balluck and Don Balluck
Maury Dexter March 8, 1982  8420
Caroline responds to a plea for help from a childhood friend, Louisa, by travelling with Doc Baker to a mining camp where there is an outbreak of influenza. 

Louisa is pregnant and desperately ill, with a cruel husband, so Caroline nurses her, while Doc Baker organizes the residents of the camp to treat the sick. When Louisa gives birth to a baby boy but then dies, Caroline and Doc Baker are faced with a moral dilemma.

  • Notes: Melissa Gilbert does not appear. Katherine MacGregor (as Mrs. Oleson) appears briefly, but is not listed in the credits. Observant viewers will notice that the mining camp set as well as the church/school tent is the same as for the gold camp at "Newton" from Season 3's finale "Gold Country" as well as Season 7's "The Lost Ones".
181 21 "He Was Only Twelve (Part 1)" Paul W. Cooper Michael Landon May 3, 1982 8421
Charles, Albert, James and Mr. Edwards travel to Sleepy Eye on business. James, wanting to open a savings account with his birthday check from Uncle Jed, walks into the bank as it is being robbed. James is shot and critically wounded, and the doctor tells Charles that the injuries are potentially fatal. Charles and Mr. Edwards, and later Albert, against Charles' orders, set out to track down the villains.

  • Guest starring: Georg Olden as Danny
  • Notes: An episode of Bonanza, titled "He Was Only Seven" (written by Michael Landon) had a story with a similar theme to this episode. Melissa Gilbert does not appear in this episode. 
182 22 "He Was Only Twelve (Part 2)" Michael Landon Michael Landon May 10, 1982 8422
James remains comatose after a successful operation to remove the bullet. Charles refuses to accept Doc Baker's prognosis that James will not recover, because he believes God has told him James will be healed. When his family and friends question if he is losing his grip on reality, Charles takes James away into the woods, and builds a shelter and a stone altar. Refusing to leave until James recovers, Charles prays to God for a miracle.

  • Notes: This episode features the final appearances of Caroline (until Little House: The Last Farewell), Carrie, Grace, Cassandra, and James. Melissa Gilbert does not appear, although she does narrate the opening of the episode. 


  1. Television Rankings 1981-1982

External links

Little House on the Prairie Seasons
Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6 | Season 7 | Season 8 | Season 9 | Season 10 Movies