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Soldier's Return 

Coming home after 12 years of performing with a busy Philadelphia orchestra, Mrs. Whipple's troubled son, Granville, hopes that the peace of Walnut Grove will help him shake the nightmares ... See full summary »


William F. Claxton


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


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Landon ... Charles Ingalls
Karen Grassle ... Caroline Ingalls
Melissa Gilbert ... Laura Ingalls
Melissa Sue Anderson ... Mary Ingalls
Rachel Lindsay Greenbush ... Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Sidney Greenbush ... Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Richard Bull ... Nels Oleson
Kevin Hagen ... Dr. Hiram Baker
Katherine MacGregor ... Harriet Oleson
Dabbs Greer ... Reverend Robert Alden
Richard Mulligan ... Granville Whipple
Queenie Smith ... Mrs. Amanda 'May' Whipple
Michael-James Wixted Michael-James Wixted ... Roy Collins Jr.
Kelly Jean Peters ... Vera Collilns
Alison Arngrim ... Nellie Oleson


Coming home after 12 years of performing with a busy Philadelphia orchestra, Mrs. Whipple's troubled son, Granville, hopes that the peace of Walnut Grove will help him shake the nightmares and the morphine addiction that resulted from an incident during the Civil War Battle of Shiloh. Written by shepherd1138

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Plot Keywords:

bugle | bugler | morphine addict | See All (3) »



Did You Know?


The Battle of Shiloh was fought in southwest Tennessee in April of 1862. Highest casualties of any battle in the war up to that time. It was a Union victory despite higher losses than the Confederates. See more »


When Mrs. Whipple is leaving Granville's room with the morphine container, she is shown closing the lid as she walks through the room to the door. When it cuts to her from outside the room, the lid is wide open again when she is closing the door. See more »


Charles Ingalls: What are you studying in history right now?
Laura Ingalls: Same old thing... dead people!
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User Reviews

The Wonder Drug - Not So Wonderful
9 April 2013 | by mitchrmpSee all my reviews

We've met Mrs. Whipple and know she's a widow, but today we discover that she also has a son. Granville Whipple fought in the Civil War. Unfortunately, he was wounded and as common knowledge tells you, the war doctors gave the wounded w wonder drug called morphine. It did wonders for the pain, but what they didn't know was that it caused a dependence on it.

Granville is a musician and has returned home to reunite with his mother and teach music. That gets Laura to asking her Pa to teach her the fiddle. Nellie and Willie became his first pupils. And even Mary started to learn the mini-piano in exchange for copying music.

We find out almost right off that he had become addicted to the white powder. His mother had been aware of it and became frightened when she discovered he still had some morphine on him. He assured her that he wasn't using it anymore. And at first, perhaps he wasn't. But the longer he stayed around Walnut Grove, the more he became haunted by the memories of what really happened in the battle he won the medal in. People hailed him a hero, but the memories he had assured the viewers that he was anything but a hero.

As the memories taunt him, things get worse. And then he meets the son of his best friend who was killed in the war. Seeing the son tormented him with the truth all over again. He began taking the morphine. Classic symptoms of drug abuse began and soon he was no longer the nice war hero, but an angry, bitter man who snapped at everyone.

The ending of this episode chills you to the bone. I'm afraid his life ended in tragedy, and though I've seen this episode many, many times I never could figure out what happened to him exactly...

By the way, this isn't the only time the issue of morphine addiction is mentioned in this show. Michael Landon was a very big advocate against drug abuse and often delved into the topic on his shows. We'll see a member from his family deal with this issue in the last season.

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Release Date:

24 March 1976 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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