Tom was Carrie's beloved pet turkey.
Tom was a large white "Tom" turkey and was picked out by Carrie on the day she went with Pa to the local Turkey farm run by a man named Brewster to pick a turkey for their Thanksgiving table, which Carrie didn't understand. Carrie wanted to help built Tom's pen but it was not known whether she did or did not as the happy father daughter project was interrupted by the news of Grandma Ingalls death. Carrie loved Tom as her friend and believed that when Pa said that they were going "have" Tom for supper meant that he would be invited to eat with them at their Thanksgiving meal, as a person would be. She also wished he could sleep with her in her bed. The family let her regard Tom as her friend for time until Grandpa Ingalls arrived.
Laura asked both Pa and Grandpa Ingalls for help on the situation and he decided that Tom should be returned to "his" Ma and Pa. Grandpa and Carrie returned him to Brewster's farm a day or so later. The Tom situation meant a lot to Lansford and made feel better about his life.