Little House On the Prairie had a moment where the blaze in the fireplace got out of control with Mary and Carrie sitting in front, a burning stick gets very close to Mary, who is scared stiff, Laura (her junior by two years) yanks the rocking chair carrying her sisters and slides it across the floor to safety and tossed the stick into the fireplace. Laura notes that she felt too scared to feel any pain.
Many never-say-die moments in The Long Winter, especially the sequence — drawn directly from life — in which rumours of one last supply of grain prompt Almanzo and Cap Garland make a long, dangerous journey to save their starving town.
There's also the scene in Farmer Boy in which the slight, soft-spoken teacher menaced by bullies turns out to have a freaking bullwhip (given to him by Almanzo's father) hidden in his desk. After forcing them out, the other kids are so shocked and amazed by this that they can't remember their lessons or lunch.
In the same book, Mr. Paddock the wheelwright also gets one when he defends Almanzo from skinflint Thompson's insults... by forcing Thompson to hand over $200 of the lost $1500 Almanzo's just returned to him, instead of a nickel.
What about Almanzo's own reply to Thompson's first offer: "Keep your nickel, I can't change it"? If the real nine-year-old Almanzo said that, it was a Crowning Moment of Funny as well.
Laura finally having enough of Eliza Jane Wilder's picking on Carrie at school in Little Town on the Prairie. The last straw comes when EJ commands Carrie and her seatmate to put away their books and continue rocking their loosely-bolted desk as punishment for unconsciously (and non-disruptively) rocking it while studying; when Carrie's seatmate gives in to embarrassment and moves to a different seat, EJ ignores her and continues to single out Carrie, who is not strong enough to rock the whole desk on her own. Laura, furious at the obvious injustice of the punishment, announces that if EJ wants the desk rocked, she'll rock it; EJ jumps on the offer, with the following result:
Laura hurried down the aisle. She whispered to Carrie, "Sit still and rest." She braced her feet solidly on the floor, and she rocked.
Not for nothing had Pa always said that she was as strong as a little French horse.
"THUMP!" went the back legs on the floor.
"THUMP!" the front legs came down. All the bolts came quite loose, and
"THUMP, THUMP! THUMP, THUMP!" the seat went in rhythm, while gladly Laura rocked and Carrie simply sat resting.
Not even the swinging weight eased Laura's fury. She grew angrier and angrier, while louder and faster she rocked.
"THUMP, THUMP! THUMP, THUMP!" No one could study now.
Pa comes to visit Royal and Almanzo Wilder during the Long Winter. He's thin, gaunt, and hungry, even though his wife and four daughters are doing their best to save him as much food as possible, since he has the hardest workload. Royal and Almanzo, who are living alone with plenty of provisions from Father's farm, are gracious hosts and immediately offer to share their dinner with him, but he takes a bucket and unplugs a knothole in the far wall, where the seed grain Almanzo hid and specifically made Royal promise not to sell comes pouring out. Both Royal and Almanzo are surprised and ask him how he figured it out. Pa, an experienced carpenter, answers that the dimensions of the room don't match the dimensions of the building, and what else can you hide in such a small space that requires a plug? Pa tells Almanzo point-blank to sell him the grain, and insists on paying for it when Almanzo tries to relent. It's the realization that there are families like the Ingalls, five people quickly running out of supplies, that sends Almanzo on the course of trying to find the grain that some homesteader brought from back east.
Earlier that day, Ma admitted to Laura that if he had to, Pa would butcher their cow and her calf for food. Laura is horrified, because while that would feed them now, cows are very valuable as long-term sources of food like cheese and butter.note In the next book, Laura and Mary are similarly horrified when Pa decides to sell the calf to pay for Mary's tuition, and in the book after that, Pa's wedding gift to Laura and Almanzo is a young cow named Fawn, which the newlyweds consider extremely generous of him. When Pa comes back with the grain, he refuses to say where he got it, only that there's more if they need it, and Ma nearly cries in relief, only saying she should have known her husband would provide for them long-term as well as short-term.
During sheep-shearing season on the Wilders' farm, the adult shearers tease Almanzo that he'll never catch up, because they'll finish shearing their sheep before Almanzo can finish hauling the fleeces up to the barn loft. But when the shearers lay down their clippers at the end of the day and turn to gloat, a loud 'Baaaaa!' is heard from the loft — where Almanzo has managed to hide one last unshorn sheep.
Almanzo: I've got a fleece upstairs and you haven't sheared it!
In "Little House and the Big Woods", the scene in which Ma and Laura go out milking one winter evening and Ma impatiently slaps a huge bear that she thinks is the family cow blocking the door to the paddock.
After Pa shoots a bear, Mary starts saying that she wants "the drumstick" — having no idea how large a bear's drumstick is.
In These Happy Golden Years when Laura takes over the reins with Barnum, a horse who Almanzo has been struggling to train out of a habit of bolting and running away with the buggy. With Laura's hand on the reins, Barnum not only behaves himself, he slows down to a walk for the first time since Almanzo began training him in harness. It's hard to say who's the most stunned - Laura, Almanzo, or the townspeople - and the event is so remarkable that the chapter it appears in is titled "Barnum Walks."
Willie Olesen's transformation from mean little spoiled kid to one of Walnut Grove's finest, most responsible young men. The change happened ever so gradually, starting in Season 8 where – in the episode "Stone Soup" – he helps organize an effort to help farmers during a drought; this comes as the outgrowth of seeing a pregnant Laura collapse while working to exhaustion in tending to Almonzo's orchard, and Caroline telling the story "Stone Soup" to inspire the kids. (Clearly, Willie got the message). Willie had shed his troublemaking ways after that, but his real crowning moment comes in Season 9's "Could I Have This Dance," where he calls out his overbearing mother, Mrs. Olesen, after she tries to coddle him again (by sending him to college and making him marry a woman he has no interest in). He says he intends to oversee the restaurant/hotel named for his sister, Nellie (who had also broken off of her mother's spoiled ways a couple of seasons earlier), and plans to marry an attractive-but-poor country girl named Rachel Brown ... and stands his ground when his mother continues her attempts to intervene. When Mrs. Olesen asks Nels what had gotten into her son, he replies, "A backbone!" But even before his changeover, there were signs that Willie was not quite as bad as Nellie at her peak – her own change from spoiled brat to hard-working and responsible is quite remarkable and awesome in and of itself – as he often sticks up for himself and his friends (more than once, he stands his ground against Nellie) and by Season 7, he's showing signs he's grown tired of his mother's constant pampering.
The Grand Finale of the show has the citizens of Walnut Grove blowing up the whole place to retaliate against a railway Robber Baron buying the land right out from under them, thinking he can turn Walnut Grove into a Company Town. Not only are they not arrested by the U.S. Army when the Jerk Ass baron arrives with it in tow, but the people of neighboring towns all threaten to do the same to their homes if the baron tries to buy their land, which actually shakes up the man. And so the citizens of Walnut Grove ride off into the sunset, singing "Onward Christian Soldiers".
"See, my friends? The sacrifice of Walnut Grove was not in vain!"
Any time any of the Olesons, Mr. Oleson excepted, get any kind of comeuppance is awesome, considering it happens arguably much less than it should.
Pa has an awesome moment in the early episode "Country Girls." Laura and Mary have invited the girls in their class to a party, but the new girl Olga can't play because of a club foot. Inspired by Laura's questions about horseshoes, Pa makes Olga a wooden block that elevates her weakened leg's shoe, allowing her to run and play with the other kids.
Mr. Edwards' choice to take in the orphan Matthew Rogers is this, especially considering he had somewhat recently lost his own family due to alcoholism.
Ma gets a moment in "School Mom." As a substitute teacher, she learns the class teases Abel, a big older boy who cannot read. She gets the entire class involved in teaching him how—and hands Mrs. Oleson a veiled, genteel The Reason You Suck speech when the latter accuses her of favoring one student and damaging others' education.
"The Werewolf of Walnut Grove" is a Crowning Moment of Awesome, as the kids work together and use what they learned in school projects to keep a bully from terrorizing their teacher, Ms. Eliza Jane Wilder.
In Nancy's premiere, "The Reincarnation of Nellie," Nancy explains that the reason she's such a brat is because her abusive mother abandoned her. However, this turns out to be the very definition of Blatant Lies. Laura and the kids team up to do something about it. Naturally, Mrs. Oleson is against it at first because she wants to find some way to excuse Nancy's horrible actions. However, by the end, she's in there with both feet. Special mention to her explosive, "I AM YOUR MOTHER, I LOVE YOU, AND '''YOU. WON'T. LIE TO ME. AGAIN!'''
The plan itself is pretty darn awesome. The kids convince Nancy to participate in a school charity bazaar instead of the originally planned pageant, telling her she will be the star of the whole thing. She's going to be the beautiful mermaid of the Mermade [sic] Booth. What they don't tell her is the Mermaid Booth is a dunking booth. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
The Martha Years:
"Down To The Bonny Glen": Martha almost beating Lew in a footrace, despite him being several years older and the son of a blacksmith while she's the lairds small daughter. Bonus points that she only challenged him to make him feel comfortable around her and Duncan again.
Later on her running over three miles to get help for a sick tenant and her parents amazement she even had time to make it there and back in that time.
Later on the first day of school, Martha tells those girls that she likes going barefoot in the warm weather and wouldn't want to wear shoes even if she had nice, expensive ones like the ones they were wearing at the moment.
"Across the Rolling River": A double one for Charles and Caroline in their spelling bee as they continually one-up each other.
Miss May, the teacher, gets hers when she gently tells off the critical neighbor of the Holbrooks and Quiners that using harsh, corporal punishment is counter-productive and that children learn best from a teacher who isn't harsh and makes the lessons fun.
"Little City By The Lake": Caroline's composition being chosen to be read out loud at the end of the term.
Charlotte is a walking-talking crowning moment of awesome throughout the series as she heads across the western frontier and sets up a homestead...as an independent widow single-handily raising seven children.
"A Little House of Their Own": Caroline maintaining order in a school house despite only starting her career and despite the stress of a schoolroom bully that tries to undermine her authority and bully the other kids.
Rose finding the missing $100 bill that Laura and Almanzo need to pay off part of their new farm.
Fido, a starving dog that Rose adopted, proves to be an excellent rat catcher.
Paul Cooley, after being tattled on by Rose (accidentally) and recieving a whupping, gets his own revenge when he tricks Rose into a grape fight that gets her caught and grounded by Laura. He then tells her, after smugly noting how he'd never rat her out and that he got her good, that all is forgiven.
"Little Farm in the Ozarks" has Rose winning a spelling bee at the end.
Rose and her friend and hired man's younger brother, Swiney, put out a fire caused by Laura's stove.
"In the Land of the Big Red Apple"
Rose getting the hang of Spookendyke.
"On the Other Side of the Hill"
A classmate of Rose gets his when he concocts a plan involving his family's dogs to drive out the Sadistic Teacher teaching their class. He still recieved a punishment from his father but was lauded as a hero by the other towns men and classmates.
Rose telling off Blanche's snotty city cousin for making disparaging remarks about Mansfield and it's people, she tells her that if it weren't for farmers growing crops and everything, she wouldn't be living so well in Chicago without food.
"Little Town in the Ozarks"
Despite this being his first time in school, Nate nee Swiney Baird manages to do well in school and befriend the boys he'd be afraid would pick on him, he even shows a knack for knowing if a crop was worth it's price.
"New Dawn on Rocky Ridge"
Laura telling off Lois Beaumont, for her judgemental remarks about the teacher MissSarah's love life given that the girl caused her family a scandal a year before with her behavior, it must've been also catharitc to Rose to see that. Given that she was so jealous and insecure given that Lois was taking all her friends and the attention of Paul Cooley until her Alpha Bitch behavior put them off and for that dirty trick she played on Paul that humiliated him at a pie sale.
Miss Sarah cooly and gently tells Mrs. Beaumont that her love life is her love life and it's none of her business if she broke off an engagement with the town playboy; Miss Sarah ends up in a loving relationship with Dr. Hurley, the man that saved her ex after an accident. Miss Sarah ends up showing up the gossipy, small-minded, judgemental town that was ready to fire her over her being done wrong and would condescendingly pity her for being an Old Maid.
Laura: She's the salt of the earth. And thank goodness one man's got the sense to realize it.
Laura telling off a sexist and rude buyer for his behavior.
I'll thank you to keep your smart remarks to yourself. I don't know where you come from, but here in the Ozarks we still fancy a civil greeting when we meet a stranger. As for my husband, I told you, he is busy with the picking. If you don't care to make your trade with a woman, perhaps you ought to look in someone else's orchard for the apples you require.
Eliza Jane giving Rose the pep and tough love talk she's been needing and then offers to let Rose live with her for a year to complete her education.
Rose: Oh, nothing ever comes out right for me! I don't know why, but it just never does."
Laura: Rose, really.
Eliza Jane: Young lady, you are suffering an attack of defeatism. Do you think your mother and father would have survived if they sat around bemoaning life's every little stumble? (Rose shakes her head) And look at me (bitter chuckle). My grand scheme to have my family close to me in Louisiana. What happened? Father's fortune lost. Then Father died. My poor sister Laura died. My husband died, and then his family descended upon me like a flock of vultures. Do you hear me groan about my terrible life?"
Eliza Jane: You come from sturdy, independent stock, on both sides. We have all survived the very worst that life could fling at us. And you shall, too.
"On the Banks of the Bayou"
Eliza Jane a.k.a. EJ is this: A Cool Old Lady who is a staunch and opinionated suffragist and social democrat that is supporting her own young son and niece and is able to defend others like her black maid from the sexual harassment of a powerful man in town. For that troublemaker, she even left him copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and some Bible passages to tell him what a jerk he is.
When Rose wins valedictorian and is given the opportunity to give a speech at graduation, she wants to talk about women's rights. The school's headmaster forbids it, however, because it's inappropriate and his wife doesn't want to vote, and threatens to take away her diploma if she goes through with. Rose gets around it by writing a poem with alternating lines in English and Latin— the English lines are innocuous, but the Latin lines are all slogans about suffrage. She notices one of her classmates stifling his laughter, and when the headmaster congratulates her for seeing sense and leaving that nonsense out, she covers her involuntary smirk by saying her "womanly instincts" must be acting up. She left the misogynistic headmaster befuddled and shown that she knows more Latin than he forgot, and kept him from stifling her opinions and from withholding her diploma.
Rose learning Latin in a year and passing with high marks, despite only starting to learn the language herself.