Mary worries that she'll disappoint Walnut Grove if she doesn't place first in the state mathematics competition after the community pays her way to represent them; meanwhile Laura's ... See full summary »



(developed for television by), (based upon the series of books "Little House" by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Harriet Oleson (as Katherine MacGregor)
Hiram Potter
Gracia Lee ...
Mrs. Bell
Monitor #1
Peggy Drier ...
Monitor #2


Mary worries that she'll disappoint Walnut Grove if she doesn't place first in the state mathematics competition after the community pays her way to represent them; meanwhile Laura's feelings of jealousy towards her older sister are soothed and she begins to feel more grown-up after her wise Pa asks her to take charge of the Ingalls household while Caroline accompanies Mary to Minneapolis. Written by shepherd1138

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Release Date:

28 January 1976 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mr. Hanson says to Mary at her house before she leave for the trip, "You will all make us proud." During the trip, Mary dreams about what Mr. Hanson said, and it comes up as, "You will make us proud, Mary." No where in the first statement did he use her name. See more »


Charles Ingalls: They're pretty proud of you anyway.
Mary Ingalls: You mean even though I came in second best?
Charles Ingalls: We're proud because you ARE the best!
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.10 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

The glass may appear half empty, but it is actually half full.
2 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's not whether you win or lose, or pass or fail, what matters is how much effort you've put into whatever it is you've set out to do. Mary Ingalls would learn this lesson the hard way when she scored the highest on a district math test and was chosen to go to Minneapolis and take the statewide exam against students in every other district. She was so excited she could hardly deliver the news distinctly, and Charles and Caroline were equally ecstatic. But like so many other good things in life, there was a catch: this invitation did not include transportation and hotels, and unfortunately it was out of their price range. A guilt-ridden Charles had to break the news to Mary, and although she put on a brave front, she was heartbroken. She also chose not to tell Miss Beadle the truth, but instead make it look as though she was copping out. Laura spilled the beans anyway, and that night the Ingallses received a visit from Miss Beadle and Mr. Hanson, who just came from a school board meeting where they had voted unanimously (that includes Mrs. Oleson) that they would pay Mary's way to Minneapolis. After all, she would be representing the pride of Walnut Grove.

Mary and Caroline boarded the train, this being Mary's first time and she was flabbergasted at the accommodations, however the noise of the city was something she could have done without when trying to sleep. So as Mary tried to rest up for the big test tomorrow, Laura was finding it difficult filling her mother's shoes. Cooking, cleaning, chores and what have you proved very exhausting. So while Laura bumbled and stumbled through making breakfast, the big day of the test had arrived and of course, Mary was nervous, she had the faith and pride of an entire community resting on her shoulders. That's a pretty big burden for a 13-year-old. The testing session seemed to take forever and each problem seemed to get tougher and tougher. Finally, after what seemed like days, the test was over. Now came the long, torturous period of waiting. As Mary worried over how she faired on the test, Laura began experiencing the homemaker blues. She was unhappy that she couldn't live up to her mother's standards and felt she wasn't good at anything. Charles begged to differ, however. The very next day, the results of the test were finally announced. It was Mary versus all the other eggheads in Minnesota. Who would emerge the victor? And so they announced the first place winner, Mary... "This is it," she thought, "I did it." ...O'Donnell! Huh? In second place, Mary...Ingalls! I guess to get a high mark on this test, you just needed to be named Mary. Well, she was disappointed that she didn't win first place and was worried how the rest of the town might react, but when that stage came through Walnut Grove, there was a big gathering of folks waiting to welcome home Mary. They knew she came in second place, but they didn't care. She went out and took one for the team, and that's all that mattered.

I think we can all relate to Mary and Laura in this episode. We've all been in situations where we want to be the best at whatever we set out to do, and then realize we didn't succeed in the way we would have liked, but at least we tried hard and that's really all that matters. Melissa Sue Anderson carried this episode nicely. I don't know why she complained about her tenure on Little House when the fictional Mary Ingalls had a much better life than the real one. Arthur Heinemann turned in a good script and of course, Bill Claxton did a fine job directing. This episode includes many great scenes, including Laura trying to make breakfast and of course wheeling and dealing those eggs to Harriet. Caroline would've been proud. I definitely recommend The Pride of Walnut Grove, it will give you a really good life lesson.

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