Little House on the Prairie: Season 8, Episode 1

The Reincarnation of Nellie: Part 1 (5 Sep. 1981)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 46 users  
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Several weeks earlier, Percy and Nellie traveled to New York (with their infant twins, Benny and Jenny) to help run the family's store and hotel after Percy's father, Mr. Cohen, falls ... See full summary »



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Title: The Reincarnation of Nellie: Part 1 (05 Sep 1981)

The Reincarnation of Nellie: Part 1 (05 Sep 1981) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Episode credited cast:
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Harriet Oleson (as Katherine MacGregor)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Armstrong ...
Customer #1
Allison Balson ...


Several weeks earlier, Percy and Nellie traveled to New York (with their infant twins, Benny and Jenny) to help run the family's store and hotel after Percy's father, Mr. Cohen, falls gravely ill; the elder Mr. Cohen soon dies. Nellie - who is never seen on-camera - writes to her parents and tells them that their stay in New York will now be permanent to carry on the family business. This news saddens Nels, but Mrs. Olesen's life virtually comes to a complete stop. She is deeply depressed, refuses to eat and cannot sleep; there are times when she'd rather be dead. Nels and Dr. Baker are very concerned and decide to talk Mrs. Olesen into adopting a 9- or 10-year-old girl. At first, Mrs. Olesen flatly objects, but changes her mind after Cassandra visits with her. The Olesens travel to the orphanage in Sleepy Eye to visit with the young girls; Nels considers one of the well-mannered girls, but Mrs. Olesen rejects them all since none of them are like Nellie. Nels tries to reason with his ... Written by Brian Rathjen <>

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Release Date:

5 September 1981 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In "The Reincarnation of Nellie", Adam & Mary move to New York. Laura hugs her and says she'll write, then says, "And I'll use my Braille writer so Adam can't read my letters". Adam had been blind for many years and only recently regained his sight, therefore is able to read Braille. See more »


Harriet Oleson: [When told by Mr. Case that Nancy is an impossible, unadoptable child] Oh... men! Why, you just don't understand little girls.
Miss Mason: Mrs. Oleson, I must be honest. I don't understand either. In the four weeks that Nancy's been here, she has set fire to her bed, broken more windows than I can count, poured plaster into the indoor plumbing, and bitten half the children in the orphanage.
Harriet Oleson: Well, girls will be girls!
See more »

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User Reviews

If you thought Nellie was the end-all spoiled brat, you haven't seen anything yet.
4 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's a new season of Little House, and you know what that means: changes. The first wave hit the Olesons. It seems Percival's father had passed away, and so Percival, Nellie and their babies would be staying in New York indefinitely to run the family business. Harriet was absolutely devastated, but Nels kept a stiff upper lip, even though he began to miss them already. Harriet completely fell, she does realize she has another kid, right? I know she was closer to Nellie and all, but geez. Get a grip. So while Harriet deals with her existential crisis, Adam drops a bomb shell on Charles and Caroline by informing them that he and Mary were moving to New York so he could take a position at a far more suitable law firm. The future for them was looking mighty bright, and on the plus side, Caroline would soon be getting some help at the restaurant in the form of Hester Sue. So I'd say the mood about town is lukewarm...the Kendalls were leaving, Hester Sue was coming, and Harriet was still down and out. Even Doc Baker was stumped, medically. However he did broach the question of adoption. Orphanages are just bustin' with little girls 9 and 10 years of age. Nels liked the idea...and now we know who to blame for the coming of Nancy: ol' Doc Baker.

Unexpectedly, Harriet was against the idea of adoption. So to help Nels sway her, Charles brought over Cassandra to spend some time with her. She read Harriet a very, very sad story to help her feel not so sad...makes sense. I believe the ploy worked, because after hearing Cassandra talk about how much she loves living with the Ingallses, Harriet decreed that they would go to Sleepy Eye the next day and check out the orphanage.... make that Doc Baker and Cassandra Ingalls... and so at the orphanage, Harriet checks a line-up of beautiful little girls with flashing eyes and pretty smiles... not at all what Harriet was looking for, so they were sent away. The problem is that she wanted a girl who looks just like Nellie. She regaled Mr. Case about the little monster, and obviously he could care less. So a distraught Harriet prepared to leave with Nels, when suddenly, I think Satan was smiling up at them, for at that moment they heard a commotion from a troublesome, tyrannical little brat named Nancy. She was incorrigible, she was hopeless, and according to Harriet, she was perfect. Nancy was the spittin' image of Nellie, down to the golden locks. She caused the Olesons to chase her all over town, she got Nels beat up for no reason... wow, I hate her already. Nels managed to catch and box the little animal and Harriet, well, she was in love. Despite everyone's objections, Harriet wanted that girl. Talks of spoiling her seemed to win Nancy over, and so it was official: she was an Oleson. So how did Nancy fit into the community? Willie took an instant dislike to her and she gave Laura a near-traumatic case of deja vu, and she made a new enemy in Cassandra. Laura took pity on Nancy, figuring she had some severe emotional problems and she needed to be reached. Well as the saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn and as far as Nancy is concerned, the sun ain't rising any time soon. To be continued...

Reincarnation of Nellie? More like re-spawning. But I will say this, Allison Balson was quite a find. She's a very good looking girl who portrays such a horrific brat very nicely, and isn't it also ironic that her name is Allison? They had two Melissas, now they have two Allisons; also great were Katherine MacGregor as Harriet, who we all love to hate. Richard Bull, Missy Francis and Melissa Gilbert were also very good. If you personally can't stand Nancy, then this two-parter may prove tough to watch. Her whining and saying everybody hates her just makes you want to rip out your hair. If you like episodes that show how full of crap Harriet Oleson is and if you like the girls of Walnut Grove, this one is worth seeing. If not, then watch something else. Stay tuned for Part II where the bad girl gets even worse...

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