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Father Murphy 

Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Western | TV Series (1981–1983)
John Murphy leads a struggle against a mining boss causing some children to be orphaned. Assuming responsibility, he poses as a priest to circumvent authorities. He and schoolteacher Mae ... See full summary »


Michael Landon




2   1  
1983   1982   1981  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Merlin Olsen ...  John Michael Murphy 34 episodes, 1981-1983
Katherine Cannon ...  Mae Woodward 34 episodes, 1981-1983
Timothy Gibbs Timothy Gibbs ...  Will Adams 34 episodes, 1981-1983
Moses Gunn ...  Moses Gage 34 episodes, 1981-1983
Scott Mellini Scott Mellini ...  Ephram Winkler / ... 32 episodes, 1981-1983
Lisa Trusel ...  Lizette Winkler / ... 31 episodes, 1981-1983
Kirk Brennan Kirk Brennan ...  David Sims / ... 31 episodes, 1981-1983
Byron Thames ...  Matt Sims / ... 31 episodes, 1981-1983
Michael Reynolds Michael Reynolds ...  John 27 episodes, 1981-1983
Jason Anderson Jason Anderson ...  Jason / ... 22 episodes, 1981-1983
Richard Bergman Richard Bergman ...  Father Joe Parker 14 episodes, 1981-1983


John Murphy leads a struggle against a mining boss causing some children to be orphaned. Assuming responsibility, he poses as a priest to circumvent authorities. He and schoolteacher Mae struggle to provide everyday needs for two dozen children.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Western


Not Rated

Did You Know?


This show is often considered an official Little House on the Prairie spin-off, but as it does not feature any characters from LHOTP and has a different time period, it is not. However, apart from featuring two previous stars of that show (Merlin Olsen and Moses Gunn) plus other guest stars, it was created, written, produced, and directed by Michael Landon and several other regular "Little House" creatives, for NBC. See more »


Most of the male characters on the show have modern 70's-80's style long, feathered, or Afro hair which men didn't wear in the 19th Century. See more »

User Reviews

Father Murphy: One of the Best TV Shows
30 December 2004 | by Dphilly521See all my reviews

"Father Murphy" was one of the best TV show of all time, many of its episodes very touching and inspirational. I will illustrate my point with thoughts on my five favorite episodes of Season 1...... 5. "Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness." The sparked interest of the blind orphan at the possibility of Gold Hill buying a piano transforms very well into the excitement and humor involved with Moses' willingness to compromise with the saloon. Furthermore, Rodman's annoyance at the situation, his sudden metamorphosis into gambling greed, and his pathetic mother make for one of the greatest and funniest sequences of the entire series. 4. "In God's Arms." In the spirit akin to such classics as "It's a Wonderful Life," Father Joe Parker eventually discovers a strength that he took for granted all along and affects people's lives for the better in the process. This episode perhaps causes some of us to question our own beliefs in the existence of God while suggesting that the faith and its positive effect on mankind is more important. 3. "The Horse From Heaven." The concept of a mentally challenged person who is ridiculed and made to feel inferior having a depth down inside that she can have such a wonderful relationship with animals is simply priceless. It stands to reason that Ada becomes a hero at the end, deservedly so. The adage of the meek inheriting the earth is more present at the conclusion of this episode than in any other point in the series. 2. "The Pilot Episode." Making the ending all that more charming, John Murphy is not just some guy who feels like helping orphaned children. He is a complex man with childhood-influenced problems of his own. The long ago tragic death of his father haunting him, Murphy must decide between the urge to be alone and the possibility of helping many children in a worse situation than his own. The occurrence helps Murphy re-discover the concept of love, and it is all that more appropriate that he marries Mae Woodward at the conclusion of the first season. 1. "Knights of the White Camelia." This gripping episode is my favorite of the series for several reasons. The concept of love versus hate is often very powerful, and this episode succeeds as a fine example with several lessons to learn within the hour. We generally see bigots as very evil and very worthless people. The story of runaway bugler Jeff teaches us that a so-called 'bigot' can be a nice boy with a sincere willingness to learn and be productive deep down inside. He was steered along the unrighteous path, with his father there as a solid guide to lead him back on track as the episode concludes. Speaking of which, when Moses refers to the KKK by saying "They got sons too," we are all reminded that it is not a perfect world, such problems still existing and probably always will. In my opinion, however, the greatest lesson of all is that these eerie-seeming white-hooded monsters are in reality "the townspeople" (the banker, the barber, etc.) If you think that the hateful bigots are all vicious monsters burning in hell, think again. The butcher, the baker, the lawyer, the doctor, the hairdresser, the grocery clerk, need I go on? Watch out! It is priceless for "Father Murphy: Knights of the White Camelia" to express to us such teachings in no uncertain terms. A terrific series that should have lasted many more seasons.

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Release Date:

3 November 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Father Murphy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NBC Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(35 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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