Little House on the Prairie: Season 2, Episode 17

Troublemaker (25 Feb. 1976)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 66 users  
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When teacher, Miss Beadle, is deemed unable to control some of the rowdy, older boys in her class, Mrs. Oleson convinces the Walnut Grove school board to replace her with a firmer, male ... See full summary »



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Title: Troublemaker (25 Feb 1976)

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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)
Hannibal Applewood
Jack McCulloch ...
George Jackson
Sean Kelly ...
Sven Jacobsen
Herman Stone


When teacher, Miss Beadle, is deemed unable to control some of the rowdy, older boys in her class, Mrs. Oleson convinces the Walnut Grove school board to replace her with a firmer, male hand. But the new schoolmaster tries to bully his students into submission and singles little Laura out as a troublemaker, blaming and punishing her for the slightest infraction even when she isn't the one responsible. Written by shephed1138

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Release Date:

25 February 1976 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Harriet Oleson: Laura Ingalls is a trouble maker.
Nels Oleson: Harriet!
Harriet Oleson: I'm only stating a simple truth.
Nels Oleson: I've always found her to be very pleasant and well behaved.
Harriet Oleson: Well, you haven't been around her when she's up to her tricks! Isn't that so, children?
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User Reviews

One of the more memorable early episodes.
3 September 2008 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

This episode frightened me as a child. Mostly because I hated school, and feared that some day I might get stuck with a teacher like Mr. Applewood. In this episode, we see the school board of Walnut Grove decide to replace Miss Beadle since she is having trouble keeping some of the older students in line. It is thought by the board that a male teacher is just what the town needs to keep control over these young farm boys who stroll in late, throw books on the floor, and generally do as they please in the back row. Miss Beadle is replaced by an angry old man named, and I kid you not, Hannibal Applewood. This man is so strict, he'll even give you a failing grade if you turn in a paper with an eraser mark on it! And he is a believer in corporal punishment. While Miss Beadle is never seen doing anything more than making Willie Oleson stand in the corner, Mr. Applewood will smack you on the wrist for doing virtually nothing. His facial expressions range from rage to stone-faced concentration. Never once does the man come close to cracking a smile.

From day one, Laura Ingalls gets off on the wrong foot with this man. First, he catches her whispering in Mary's ear. Then, she is blamed for writing a derogatory note about him. Applewood punishes Laura by hitting her hand with a ruler, and making her do much more work than the others. One thing struck me once she gets home that night. She and Mary both explained how unfair the man was to Ma and Pa. But their parents both initially took the teacher's side! My mother would have been the same way, too! But now.... parents are so freaking over-protective of their kids that they probably would have filed a lawsuit! Anyway, Laura is blamed for virtually everything that goes wrong for Mr. Applewood. She is thought by him to have poured ink into his satchel, and then thrown it across the room or something. (Willie did that.) Finally Laura is expelled! Pa takes her back to school to appeal the next day. Applewood reluctantly agrees to allow her to return to school. She is even allowed to ring the bell! But no sooner does class begin, then Applewood is trying to punish her once again. Luckily, his tirade is so loud that Pa hears it, and comes to the rescue. Had Mr. Applewood been a younger man, Pa probably would have kicked his ass, but instead he just breaks the stick he uses to intimidate the children with over his knee. An emergency meeting is held to determine if they should keep Mr. Applewood. In a scene reminiscent of the Caine Mutiny, Applewood pretty much seals his own fate. Overall, this is a very strong episode. Directed by Victor French, as well. Also look for a young Cooper Huckabee as one of the rowdy students. He of course plays John Travolta's pal in Urban Cowboy a few years after this was made. 9 of 10 stars.

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