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    Little House on the Prairie - The Complete Season 4

     Published: 5 February 2010  Comments: (0)

    Little House on the Prairie - The Complete Season 4
    English | Subs: English | DVDRip | AVI | 640x480 103Kbps 29fps | MPEG 55Kbps | 1080 minutes | 6.27 GB
    Gener: Television Shows | Drama

    Little House on the Prairie's fourth season, which premiered on September 12, 1977, proved to be the most successful in the series' run. Season four cracked the Nielsen Top Ten, and became the seventh-highest rated show of the 1977-78 television season, beating out mid-70s favorites such as M*A*S*H, Barney Miller, Soap, and The Love Boat. The most-watched episode in the series' history - the two part hanky-drowner "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" - garnered an Emmy nomination for Melissa Sue Anderson's harrowing portrayal of the blinded Mary Ingalls. The cast of Little House on the Prairie was on a roll in a season that, oddly enough, is all about change and a departure from the status quo. The fourth season sees the exit of beloved characters, the end of lingering storylines, the introduction of new friends, and some of the most startling plot developments to hit the series during its ten-year run.

    In the fall of 1977, Victor French, who played the Ingalls' grizzled neighbor Mr. Edwards, left Little House to star in the ABC sitcom Carter Country. Strangely, the departure of Mr. Edwards (as well as his wife, postmistress Grace Snider-Edwards, and their adopted children Carl and Alicia), is never addressed. The family is simply gone from Walnut Grove (that is, until Carter Country was canceled and French returned solo). To replace Mr. Edwards, Michael Landon cast brawny Los Angeles Rams football star (and future FTD spokesman) Merlin Olsen as farmer Jonathan Garvey. Jonathan's wife, Alice (Hersha Parady), and young son Andy (Patrick Laborteaux) neatly fill the void left by the Edwards family: Alice serves as the town postmistress and Andy becomes a best friend to Laura (Melissa Gilbert).

    The Garveys' arrival isn't the only change in the fourth season. In "The Castoffs," the first episode of the season, Jack, the Ingalls' shaggy dog since the premiere movie, dies of old age. He is soon replaced by Bandit, a long-haired mutt with a waggling tongue and a penchant for "cute" Hollywood dog tricks. In "A Most Precious Gift," Ma (Karen Grassle) gives birth to Grace (played by twins Wendy and Brenda Turnbeaugh), the Ingalls' final natural child (just wait. . . the endless adoptions start soon). In "Here Come the Brides," spinster schoolmarm Eva Beadle (Charlotte Stewart) marries a hog farmer named Adam Simms (Joshua Bryant). In that same episode, Nellie Oleson (Alison Arngrim) elopes with Adam's teenage son, Luke (the child bride and creepily dorky groom are divorced a short time later). Even barely coherent Carrie Ingalls (played by twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) changes: Carrie starts her interminable course of study at the Walnut Grove school, where she will remain for the rest of her tenure on the series. . . long after her not-much-older sisters have grown up, married, and had children of their own.

    Some things, however, never change. It still sucks to be Mary Ingalls. The poor girl has the Midas Touch in reverse: everything she touches turns to crap. Melissa Sue Anderson's skills at on-cue hysteria are played to the hilt throughout this season. In "Times Are Changing," Mary travels to Chicago with Pa (Michael Landon) for a grange meeting, where she visits with her longtime boyfriend John Sanderson, Jr. (Radames Pera). John Junior is now a hotshot newspaper reporter - apparently unconcerned about his adoptive parents' sudden disappearance from Walnut Grove - who turns out to be cheating on Mary with a snobby city girl. Needless to say, their engagement ends, in floods of tears. Mary's only consolation is that she gets to flirt with a cheerful, freckled bumpkin (played by none other than The Brady Bunch's Mike Lookinland) on the long train ride home. In "The Handyman," Mary mistakenly believes that Ma is falling in love with a hunky handyman, played to twinkly-eyed perfection by Gil Gerard (TV's Buck Rogers). In "The Wolves," when Pa and Ma go away and leave Mary in charge, the farm is promptly attacked by a pack of wild dogs. In "Meet Me at the Fair," a handsome, conceited carnival barker flirts with Mary, causing another jealous suitor to let the barker's hot air balloon loose, with a napping Carrie Ingalls inside. In "Whisper Country," Reverend Alden (Dabbs Greer) convinces Mary to teach in a backwater settlement filled with illiterate zealots. The head of the community, a witchy fundamentalist named Miss Peel (Anita Dangler), questions Mary's morals, calls her a "Jezebel," and shuts down her school. Then, after two seasons' worth of deteriorating eyesight caused by a bout of scarlet fever, Mary goes blind in the two-part powerhouse episode, "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away." Bitter and frustrated, Mary is shipped off to a school for the blind in Iowa. Though she learns to read and write in Braille, becomes a teacher, and falls in love with her instructor, Adam Kendall (Malcolm in the Middle creator Linwood Boomer), Mary's never-ending woes will grow even worse in future seasons.

    Season four also heightens Little House's semi-serialized format. The episodes are peppered with references to a simmering price war between the farmers and the railroad, which threatens Walnut Grove's already-frayed economy. This growing conflict ultimately leads to the season's surprise ending.

    Aside from Mary's assorted cataclysms and the dying frontier economy, season four features a number of stand-alone "adventure episodes." In "The Creeper of Walnut Grove," Laura and Andy Garvey become detectives to track down a petty criminal. Their antics - including "dusting" the mercantile for fingerprints (with flour) and jumping an unsuspecting Mrs. Oleson - are hysterical. In "The Aftermath," outlaws Frank and Jesse James hide out in Walnut Grove, and briefly hold a blubbering Mary Ingalls hostage (natch). In "My Ellen," one of Laura and Mary's friends drowns, and Laura is held captive by the friend's grief-stricken, hallucinating mother (most women in Walnut Grove get psychotic when their children die. . .it's one of the series' more bizarre recurring motifs). In "Be My Friend," Laura finds a note in a bottle which leads her to an abandoned baby (this one, however, is returned to its rightful owner. . .it's the last time that ever happens on the show).

    With all of the relentless action and explosive revelations, it's no wonder that a few of the episodes feel a bit recycled. The writers were outdoing themselves on the major story arcs of the season, and it's obvious that they padded the action with storylines similar to earlier episodes. In "Freedom Flight," a young Indian comes to town seeking help for his sick father. The lessons about racism seen in earlier seasons are retaught with little added. In "The Inheritance," the Ingalls once again think they have permanently escaped their hardscrabble lives, when Charles discovers that he has inherited a sizable fortune from a long-lost uncle (like the "gold" in the first season's "At the End of the Rainbow," it turns out to be worthless). And in "I Remember, I Remember," we are treated to more extended flashbacks of Ma and Pa's childhoods in the Big Woods, complete with Matthew Laborteaux reprising his role as young Charles and Katy Kurtzman, who played Laura's stuttering friend in the third season's "The Music Box," as young Caroline. And, as per usual, the battle of the sexes rages on in "The High Cost of Being Right," when Alice Garvey insists on working at the post office to help support her family, much to her husband's chagrin.

    One of the oddest aspects of the fourth season - and indeed, the entire run of Little House - is the introduction of Kezia, an itinerant derelict who takes up residence in Walnut Grove. Kezia, played by Hermione Baddeley (better known as Maude's housekeeper Mrs. Naugatuck), is a salty old Scotswoman who travels around the countryside with her talking crow. Kezia lives in an imaginary house next to the school, and invites the children to sip imaginary coffee in her pretend living room. The character is truly far better suited for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Unlike most of the other "special guest stars," Kezia appears in other episodes. Unfortunately, the skimpy extras provide no insight into where this character came from or how she ended up on the show.

    Regardless of the overblown melodrama and the handful of less-than-remarkable episodes, season four provides a key transition in the series. It's obvious that the writers of the 1977-78 season - who were grappling with growing child stars and the challenge of keeping the show fresh - were transforming Little House from a cozy family show into a more adult (or at least, adolescent) primetime serial. At times, the transition is a bit awkward: in one episode, Mary takes tea with Kezia in her imaginary house; in another, Jesse James is pushing her, screaming, into a closet. However, the season is compulsively watchable; have a big box of Kleenex nearby and enjoy the unforgiving misfortune that befalls the characters. Watch especially for Karen Grassle's skillful portrayal of Ma Ingalls: in a season fraught with high-adrenaline emotion, Grassle provides an honest, understated, and believable performance. When Mary goes blind - and Anderson and Landon scream bloody murder in the loft - it's Grassle's pained silence that most effectively communicates the sadness of the situation.

    At the end of the fourth season, the war between the farmers and the railroad reaches a nasty conclusion. The bank in Walnut Grove fails, and soon after, the mill, the school, the Mercantile, and the Feed and Seed close. Walnut Grove teeters on the edge of becoming a ghost town. Mrs. Beadle-Simms tearfully leaves town with her new husband, never to be seen again. Mary decides leave Walnut Grove to join Adam Kendall and teach at his new School for the Blind in Winoka, Dakota Territory. Pa and Ma, unable to financially hack it in Walnut Grove any longer, decide to load their brood into the covered wagon and follow her. In a tear-soaked soliloquy at the final church service in Walnut Grove, Mary reads from her Braille Bible and bids her fellow townspeople to go forth in peace.

    Walnut Grove has gone bust. It's time for the Ingalls - and, indeed, much of the supporting cast - to move on to Dakota Territory. . .and season five.

    The twenty-one episodes that comprise the fourth season are divided onto six DVDs. The DVDs are housed in a foldout digipak case, which fits into a cardboard slipcover. Keeping with their proud tradition of shoddy packaging, the Canadian distributor has adorned the slipcover with an obvious cut-and-paste composite shot of the smiling Ingalls family, standing in front of frontier buildings which are unrecognizable from season four. . .or anywhere else in the series.

    Opening the digipak, each panel features photographs of characters from the series, including a lovely portrait of Melissa Gilbert with Ray Bolger, who doesn't appear until season five (and then only as a guest star). The disc holder area of the digipak is adorned with a beautiful panoramic photograph of white clouds sailing over a golden, wheat-covered prairie. Each disc also features the prairie backdrop, and individual photographs of characters: Pa, Laura, Nellie Oleson, Willie Oleson, Carrie, and, needlessly, Ray Bolger. Obviously, the packaging designers have a limited pool of photographs to draw from, but how hard can it be to match the photos to the appropriate season? Perhaps viewers can look forward to photos of the Fonz and Fred "Rerun" Berry on future Little House releases. At this point, it wouldn't be surprising.

    The menu designs on the DVDs are simple and functional. Episodes on each disc are listed, while a montage of memorable Little House moments plays in a window, accompanied by the show's theme music. Like the season three box set, the episodes are divided into chapters. There is a "play all" feature. Also included in the packaging is a booklet containing brief summaries of each episode.

    List Epsion 4

    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E01 - Castoffs.avi 277.84 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E02 - Times Of Change.avi 277.4 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E03 - My Ellen.avi 278.73 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E04 - The Handyman.avi 278.21 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E05 - The Wolves.avi 279.4 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E06 - The Creeper Of Walnut Grove.avi 275.97 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E07 - To Run And HIde.avi 279.88 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E08 - The Aftermath.avi 281.79 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E09 - The High Cost Of Being Right.avi 279.81 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E10 - The Fighter.avi 456.06 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E11 - Meet Me At The Fair.avi 278.85 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E12 - Here Come The Brides.avi 277.42 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E13 - Freedom Flight.avi 278.88 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E14 - The Rivals.avi 278.14 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E15 - Whisper Country.avi 278.55 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E16 - I Remember, I Remember.avi 277.31 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E17 - Be My Friend.avi 413.62 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E18 - The Inheritance.avi 279.11 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E19 - The Stranger.avi 276.85 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E20 - A Most Precious Gift.avi 278.31 MB
    video LHOP S04/Little House - S04E21 - I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away part I and II.avi

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