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Awesome / Little House on the Prairie

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Book series

  • Little House On the Prairie has a moment where the children are alone in the house, and the blaze in the fireplace gets out of control with Mary rocking Carrie before it. As 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 back across the floor to safety and tosses the stick into the fireplace. Only when she describes the scene to her parents later does she notice her hand is burnt; she says she was too scared at the time to feel any pain.
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  • 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 Funny Moment as well.
    • The whole book is an Awesome Moment for the Wilder family, depicting them as comfortable and prosperous on their farm though their own ingenuity and a lot of hard work. They work like slaves and feast at every meal, with multiple dinners getting descriptions that border on Food Porn.
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  • 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.
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  • The boys' declaration of This Means War! after EJ sends Laura and Carrie home for "disrupting the class" even though she told Carrie to rock the desk. They say that it was unfair, and begin a campaign of naughtiness. Cue the school board barging in on the continual disruption; though EJ belatedly tells Pa about Laura's supposed arrogance about him being on the school board, she's out within a few weeks.
  • While Ma and Pa tell off Laura for disrespecting her teacher, they don't punish her because they recognize that the teacher started it and that Laura was protecting little sister Carrie. In fact, Ma even puts a quote in her autograph album.
  • 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  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."
  • In On the Banks of Plum Creek, a blizzard comes up while Ma and Pa have gone to town leaving the girls alone. Both of them had heard stories about children who were found "frozen stiff" after having been left home alone in a blizzard, so Laura and Mary frantically bring wood into the house. They're so frantic, in fact, that they fail to realize they brought in the entire woodpile until Ma and Pa point it out upon their return (having just beaten the blizzard).
  • Also a funny moment from These Happy Golden Years: Almanzo shows up to drive Laura home for the weekend even though the temperature's well below zero and dropping, and she'd told him the previous weekend not to feel obliged on her behalf since she was only riding with him for the sake of spending the weekends with her family. When she asks why he came, he relates that he had in fact hesitated - not because of what she'd said, but more because of the vicious weather - until Cap Garland saw him staring at the thermometer, smirked at the obvious romantic dilemma, and told him, "God hates a coward."

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 Almanzo's orchard, and Caroline telling the story "Stone Soup" to inspire the kids. (Clearly, Willie got the message). This far into the series, Willie was nearing maturity and starting to realize how much of a fool he had been and that he needed to make a change in his life, and Laura supported him. Willie had shed his troublemaking ways after that, but his real crowning moment comes in Season 9's "May 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). 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. When Willie finally puts his foot down at his mother's abrasiveness, Harriet claims Rachel is the one responsible for his disobedience, when in reality, she's the reason he's completed his maturity into his own man.
    Harriet: You see what that wench has done to him!?
    Nels: (absolutely proud of his son) Astonishing.
  • "Bully Boys" has several, all because a trio of ne'er-do-well men have invaded their happy community and caused mayhem to ensue. The payback begins when Charles comes after the eldest Gallaender brothers for accosting his wife in public. As soon as he finds out that his Caroline been hurt, he immediately runs off to the Gallender residence to defend the honor of his wife, engaging in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that he almost won, had not the more able-bodied beefier brother jumped back in the fight. Then, the Reverend, who has been personally lied to by the Gallaenders with some nonsense about a sick ma (when their ma is every bit a deadbeat as they are and even ran off with a circus performer, leaving behind their love child as brother number three), invites them to church. You'd think this is simply because it's a kind gesture he's supposed to extend to anyone, but this time, it's to rope them into a town-wide intervention against their tyranny. At the Sunday service, Reverend Alden, normally the kindest and least aggressive of all the townspeople, changes gears from his usual gentle and virtuous sermons to a very fiery sermon about Hell directly aimed at the Gallenders, and clarifies that Christians are not pushovers or punching bags who have to put up with evils that won't quit vexing them. It is not unjustified for Christians to fight back against injustice and fight, if the fight in question is the good fight. When one of them catches his drift and confronts him, the Reverend pins him up against the chapel wall. Then, all of the men at church form a posse and march the Gallenders out of town peacefully, while their wives, spared the dirty work, sing them off with a round of "Onward Christian Soldiers". This is just one of many times the entire town of Walnut Grove bands together to show that they will not be intimidated.
  • 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 Jerkass 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 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 Funny Moment.
  • The episode where Charles and Isaiah took on a dangerous job transporting nitroglycerin to a blasting site. It has the corollary Aesop of anti-discrimination; among the group of nitroglycerine haulers is a black man who is a veteran with the job that takes the place of someone who gets cold feet, and used to being the butt of many racist comments and takes it all in stride, to the dismay of a white man who can't stand the idea of working with a Negro, let alone a snarky one. All the workers hired for the job also have to ride on the freight car because they didn't have seats paid for by the ones who hired them. By the end of the episode, the person who was picking on him has realized the man is of splendid character and worthy of respect. Now the group gets to take the train back home on board the passenger car. Unfortunately, one of the conductors on the train ride back to the station throws him out of the coach because he's black. Thus, he goes back to sitting on the freight car... and is soon joined by Charles and Isaiah, who quietly leave the coach in silent protest and look about a half a second away from beating the stuffing out of the acidic conductor. But the one fellow who originally picked on the black man lingers behind for a while, as though he decided to stay where he was... and then emerges on the freight car with an absolutely glorious one-liner:
    ...Threw me out, too...
    (grinning from ear to ear) ...He found out I was IRISH!
    • From that same episode: a bunch of bandits try to steal the cargo from the group, but Isaiah tricks them into thinking he's thrown highly explosive nitroglycerin at them. Then he pops the cap off one canister and drinks it, revealing he filled some of the empty ones with moonshine, and they couldn't tell the difference.

Prequel Series

  • 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.

  • The Charlotte Years:

  • The Caroline Years:
  • "Little House In Brookfield": Caroline tells off two snotty and rich girls off after she hears them criticizing how Martha must be a "poor Country girl" with no manners because she went "chasing after boys barefoot" with such a nice dress. Yes sweet, ladylike, and quiet Caroline just told them off.
    • 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 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.

The Rose Years

  • "Little House on Rocky Ridge"
    • 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 Miss Sarah'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?"
      Rose: No.
      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.
  • A meta example: according to Alison Arngrim's book, a producer on the show tried to pay a bunch of the young extras with bubblegum. An incensed Michael Landon read him the riot act, stating "How about you pay these kids with actual money so they can buy their own damn gum?" After that, it was made sure kid extras for any scene were paid a proper wage.


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