A frightened, angry Caroline impulsively forbids Mary from taking a scholarship exam as punishment for accidentally starting a late-night fire in the barn where she had gone to study to ... See full summary »

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(developed for television by), (based upon the series of books "Little House" by) | 1 more credit »
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Charles Ingalls (credit only)
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Ruth Foster ...
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A frightened, angry Caroline impulsively forbids Mary from taking a scholarship exam as punishment for accidentally starting a late-night fire in the barn where she had gone to study to keep from waking her sleeping little sister, Laura. But more than anything, Mary wants the exam winner's prize, a beautiful, new Webster's Dictionary, and when she delays telling her teacher that she won't be taking the test, Laura worries that her big sister is planning to defy their mother. Written by shepherd1138

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11 December 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Reverend Robert Alden: Most troubles are not as black as they seem if you pull them into the sunshine and shine the light on them.
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What's a Mother To Do?
12 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When Pa's around, he gets to be the bad guy. When somebody does one of the children does something wrong, she can expect that her husband will straighten out the situation. But what happens when the one who has the firm hand goes out of town? Ma gets to be the bad guy...er...girl!

In this episode, always studious Mary wants to take a difficult examination. But when she tries to study, Laura makes her town out the light. So, even though her parents have made a rule that she cannot light lamps, she does so anyhow and takes it out to the barn. After falling asleep, she knocks the lamp over and catches the barn on fire. Caroline, of course, is very upset. She yells at Mary and tells her she cannot take the examination. Then out of guilt, she goes to Reverend Alden who tells her that she cannot go back on her decision.

My issue with this episode comes at the very end. Caroline does what parents are told NOT to do. She apologizes for giving Mary the punishment. The fact that Mary could have died deserved that punishment by itself! I think it was wrong for Caroline to apologize for doing the right thing!


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