Awesome: Little House on the Prairie

Book series
  • 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 so valuable as long-term sources of food like cheese and butter— 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 Almanzo is particularly grateful for— it's the one thing his farm is really missing. 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 and he suddenly decides to slow down to a walk. The quesion is who is the most stunned - Laura, Almanzo or the townspeople.

TV Series
  • 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!"

Prequel Series

  • The Caroline Years:
    • "Across the Rolling River": A double one for Charles and Caroline in their spelling bee as they continually one-up each other.
    • "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 an independent widow single-handily raising seven children.
  • 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.