Little House on the Prairie: Season 1, Episode 19

Circus Man (5 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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Jovial Willie O'Hara, a traveling, patent-medicine salesman, comes to Walnut Grove with his talking crow and chimpanzee "circus", appears to immediately cure Mr. Hanson's incurable headache... See full summary »



(developed for television by), (based upon the series of books "Little House" by), 3 more credits »
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Title: Circus Man (05 Feb 1975)

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Episode cast overview:
Harriet Oleson (as Katherine MacGregor)
William 'Willie' O'Hara


Jovial Willie O'Hara, a traveling, patent-medicine salesman, comes to Walnut Grove with his talking crow and chimpanzee "circus", appears to immediately cure Mr. Hanson's incurable headache and convinces most of the community that his remedy is good for anything, and everything, that ails them. But an angry Doc Baker must intervene when Mrs. Oleson believes that the potion will cure her life-threatening appendicitis and later, Laura learns a difficult lesson when she expects O'Hara's miraculous medicine to heal her seriously injured best friend...her beloved dog, Jack. Written by shepherd1138

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Release Date:

5 February 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the episode "The Circus Man", when Mr. O'Hara is telling Laura that his secret potion doesn't work, her braids keep moving from in front of her to in back of her. See more »


Dr. Hiram Baker: Hansen, when are you going to come in and let me take care of that headache?
Lars Hanson: I took the pills and they don't work!
Dr. Hiram Baker: [to Charles] I want to give him an examination. A thorough examinagion.
Lars Hanson: Inside my head?
Dr. Hiram Baker: A pain's not a disease, it's a symptom. Your body's telling me there's something wrong somewhere. I want to find it!
Lars Hanson: A headache is a headache. Even you can cure it or you can't cure it.
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User Reviews

Not as special as some of them, but a good lesson
21 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This isn't one of those episodes that I can quote word for word, but the message is still clear. Deceiving people only leads to trouble. We see it a lot in the medication field back in this time period. I guess this can be chalked up to something like that.

In this episode, Mr. O'Hare, a circus man comes onto the Ingalls' property. He claims he was killing an animal that was getting too close, but I'm not sure that's really true. Really, you can't believe much from a person that says he can heal broken ribs with an unknown powder. Mr. Hansen and Mrs. Olsen are both tricked into believing this. One gets rid of his headaches, or so he thinks. The other has to have emergency surgery. Mrs. Olsen almost refuses to have the surgery.

But the worst believer of all is Laura. Her faith in the man comes through after Mr. O'Hare leaves and Jack is hit by a wagon. Charles knows that if Jack dies and he doesn't bring Mr. O'Hare back to Walnut Grove, she'd never forgive him.

Sometimes the truth is hard to accept. One is never to young to learn that deception is everywhere, and even the nicest people can be liars.

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