Little House on the Prairie: Season 1, Episode 20

Child of Pain (12 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Family | Romance
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 52 users  
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The Walnut Grove community intervenes after a badly-beaten Graham Stewart is found unconscious on the floor of his cabin, the victim of his father, John's, drunken rage. While Graham ... See full summary »

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Harriet Oleson (as Katherine MacGregor)
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John Stewart
Johnny Lee ...
Graham Stewart
Wayne Heffley ...
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Storyline

The Walnut Grove community intervenes after a badly-beaten Graham Stewart is found unconscious on the floor of his cabin, the victim of his father, John's, drunken rage. While Graham recovers at the Ingalls' farm, John Stewart reluctantly agrees to let Charles Ingalls help him dry out and, in the process, begins to face the root of the anger that drives him to drink and hurt the son who loves him. Written by shepherd1138

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12 February 1975 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Charles Ingalls: I sure miss my wife. When'd you loose yours?
John Stewart: A long time ago.
Charles Ingalls: What was her name?
John Stewart: Lucy.
Charles Ingalls: How'd she die?
John Stewart: What's the difference?
Charles Ingalls: Nothing to me, I just wondered... What'd she die of?
John Stewart: She died giving birth to the boy.
Charles Ingalls: I guess that's why you blame him for her death.
John Stewart: Why I what?
[...]
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Bitter Sweet
22 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a memorable episode. I still cry at the ending.

This episode focuses on the Graham family. John is an alcoholic and a child-beater. These are two harsh topic that are presented together in this episode. In truth, a lot of times they do go hand-in-hand. Apparently the town (Dr. Baker and Miss Beatle) are aware of the problem. Back then, they couldn't do much about it. But as a town, they decided they would.

After Graham is beaten unconscious, the town is ready to give the father a beating he'd never forget. But Caroline and Dr. Baker sees his drinking problem as a disease. I'm not sure this was a concept back in these days as it is now, nor if even the strongest of Christians would have sympathy for the father. Charles is convinced by his wife to try and help the father.

Though the outcome is good - John is "cured" from his disease, and we feel good at the end, I know that this may not be a happy ending. What happened after they went home and the stresses of life came back? They didn't have AA or other support groups to get them through. Except for Charles who wasn't a very good mentor since he hadn't gone through it himself, John had nobody to turn to when things got rough. An alcoholic can't just walk away without temptation. I fear the outcome for this family may be short-lived.

But still, it's nice the problem is solved in sixty minutes. If only it were that easy.


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