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It's your classic Western - LHOTP style! We have guns, trains, outlaws,
and hostages. The only thing missing is a saloon and whiskey - don't
recall any of that. We even have the dark, rainy night with thunder for
a bonus! Naturally, Adam and Caroline are both going to a special
meeting to seek funding for the school. Laura leaves her Pa and brother
to take care of Carrie and Grace. While at the blind school, Nels comes
to check on them and after determining everything's as it should be,
The fact that a knock sounded only about five seconds after Nels leaves leads the girls to thing he came back - that explains Laura's unlocking the door without checking first. How Nels missed the three men so quickly is beyond me - but here they are. Laura gets to leave to get the doctor for the outlaw that was shot, but only if she promises not to tell anyone - else...naturally...Mary gets killed.
When she can't find Dr. Baker, Laura does the only sensible thing she can do - she gets her father. Charles pretends to be Dr. Baker - that is until the real Dr. Baker comes to check on Mary who supposedly was sick. What comes next is only something that can be watched on a dark, stormy night.
The episode is another good and memorable episode worth watching. It ends as only a Little House episode can end...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three notorious criminals have just been apprehended by the law and
were put on a guarded train to Sleepy Eye where they would be
transferred on to prison, with a few more stops here and there. While
this was going on, Adam was preparing to make a trip to Redwood Falls
to secure funding for the blind school, and he'd be taking Hester Sue,
Caroline and Harriet along for moral support. Departure was slightly
delayed due to Nels accidentally falling down a hill with Harriet's
enormous steamer trunk, dirtying all her clothes in the process.
Charles thought it was funny as hell. Laura sees this as an opportunity
to spend a little quality time with Mary and arranges a sleepover. It's
funny they never considered having a sighted person help Mary with the
blind school, not to mention her baby until now. Anyway, en route to
Sleepy Eye, the jailer made the mistake of loosening the outlaws' cuffs
so they could stretch out, and the second jailer made the mistake of
being a lousy shot, because Jed, Abel and Jake were able to violently
attack them and make their escape, with Abel being wounded in the
process. This would only mildly complicate their plans. Back in Walnut
Grove, a storm was brewin', both in the sense of weather and in the
Ingalls' kitchen, as Albert whips up his specialty: exploding potatoes.
Pretty sure Charles is missing Caroline more than ever now. But enough
about that, let's join Mary at the school as she comforts the
frightened kids, and then Laura arrives to liven things up. So they
will be spending the night. Alone, in the middle of nowhere, on a dark
and stormy night, with three murderers on the loose, I don't think
anything could possibly go wrong.
Mary and Laura relax by the fire, sharing fond memories from Season 2 and it seems like an overall peaceful, heartfelt evening. That is until Jake and his men barge in and hold the girls at gun point. They put a waning Abel on a bed and demand a doctor, so Laura is sent to fetch Doc Baker, with an ultimatum that if she squealed, they would kill Mary, cause they're the bad guys and that's the kind of stuff bad guys do. Well, Doc Baker wasn't in his office so Laura followed the wailing shrieks of Nellie's singing to the Oleson residence. Unfortunately she couldn't let on what was really happening, so she informs Nels that Mary is experiencing stomach pains for which he gives her an elixir. Time for Plan B. Laura seeks out Superman, or as he's known in these parts, Charles Ingalls! If her Pa can't help her, nobody can. So he breaks into Doc Baker's office and takes his med kit. Time to go kick some ass Ingalls style! So, "Doc Baker" is put to work on Abel's leg, Jake threatening him with a rifle all the while. Things looked tense, but they were about to get worse. Who should come to the door but the real Doc Baker! Jake pistol whips him, while Charles punches out Jed and takes his gun. He and Jake along with Mary have a little dangerous game of hide and seek, with Jake cornering the frightened Kendall girl before Charles heroically comes to her rescue and knocks the evil bastard out. And so everything worked out, the crooks were apprehended and the reward money (there was a reward for the criminals apparently) helped out the school when Adam was turned down for funds, and Doc Baker swore never to make another house call again.
If you like edge-of-your-seat, look no further. This episode is a non-stop roller coaster of twists and turns, and the tensity is so thick you need a chain saw to cut through it. It was wonderfully acted, particularly by Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, and of course, James McIntire was really good as that evil S.O.B. Jake. Yeah, these weren't funny outlaws like the Younger Brothers, these were horrible men who nearly killed Charles and Mary; it was also nice seeing those bonding moments between Laura and Mary, because their on-screen relationship was worlds better than off-screen, I hear. The scenes of Mary comforting the children were sweet, especially the moment with her baby, which is now very sad because we all know what will become of him. Good direction from Michael Landon and a solid script from Vince Gutierrez. If you like Little House, you like dramatic and tense situations, Darkness is My Friend is for you.
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