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Heartwarming / Little House on the Prairie

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  • In Little House in the Big Woods, little Laura's rather upset because Mary has blonde hair whereas hers is, in her own words, "ugly and brown". Pa then points out that he has brown hair, too, which makes her much happier with her own.
  • In These Happy Golden Years, Almanzo making it clear that he will continue to take Laura home every Friday and then back to her school on Sunday even if he has nothing to gain from it himself. To elaborate: the previous weekend, Laura told him up-front that she was only going with him in order to get home, so he shouldn't feel any obligation to come. On Friday afternoon, the temperature is forty below and dropping and Laura is absolutely certain there's no chance at all he's going to come. He does.
    • On the same note, once Laura's teaching job is over and she's back at home, she discovers that her school friends are all going sleighing and clearly having a wonderful time. Realizing that her extended absence has caused her to be left out, she feels quite depressed - until Almanzo shows up at her door asking if she'd like to go sleighing.
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  • A subtle one in By the Shores of Silver Lake. At the beginning of the book the Ingallses move west to Dakota Territory, even though Ma doesn't want to, because Pa (as ever) wants a homestead and has a job offer at the railroad camp in the meantime. Once they're there, Laura wants to go further west, and is jealous of her "wild" cousin Lena whose family is going to move on. Pa obviously feels the same way but tells her he promised her mother they would settle down somewhere where the girls could go to school. One night Laura takes Carrie out to slide on the frozen lake, and by following the reflection made on the ice by the moon, they end up going all the way across. They see a wolf and run back to the house, where Pa is surprised to hear that they got that far away in the first place.
    "We followed the moonpath," Laura told him. Pa looked at her strangely. "You would!" he said.
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  • In These Happy Golden Years, Mary's first trip home from college. She moves around the house with ease, shows the family her tools and books, and gives them gifts she's made — except for Pa, who receives a blue silk handkerchief. She tells them that she bought it while out on a trip with her roommate Blanche, who, while legally blind, can still see colors if they're bright enough. They fooled the clerk into thinking she could tell the colors by touch, which Mary laughs about. It's the first time she's outright laughed since she went blind, and Laura thinks that alone makes all the trouble and unpleasantness of her own time as a schoolteacher worth it.
  • In These Happy Golden Years, Laura telling Almanzo he may kiss her goodnight, after she accepts the engagement ring. It's sweet and a little awkward, and it's Laura clearly trying, when she's been mostly reserved towards him all along.
    • A lot of her earliest interactions with Almanzo are both sweet and somewhat funny, mostly because while the reader can easily see what he's doing, Laura is fifteen and completely clueless. He's being as romantic as was actually possible in a frontier town, and Laura does not see it. It takes Mary Power pointing it out to make Laura realize hey, surprise, she's being courted. (The narrative explicitly mentions that Laura has no idea why a 'grown-up' would want to spend time with a girl still in school.) Somehow, this comes off as endearing, rather than creepy.
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    • Part of it is due to Almanzo's personality. He's a very quiet, low-key man, and he's very respectful of the shy-yet-spirited Laura's autonomy. He doesn't try to get her attention by playing up how great he is, he looks for things that interest her and suggests doing them together, like the sleigh and buggy rides, and taking her to singing school.
      • He's also the one person who doesn't underestimate her. While Pa refuses to let Laura ride or drive his horses because he thinks she's too small to control them, Almanzo lets her drive all of his horses, even the unbroken ones, and is thrilled when she's the one who finally gets one of them to listen. When he leaves Lady and his buggy with Pa while he goes out of state to visit his parents, he explicitly instructs Pa that Laura has his permission to drive Lady whenever she pleases. (This continues after they're married: he buys Laura a pony for the sole purpose of having a pony to ride, and the Rose books identify half of the Wilders' horses, Pet and her foal, Little Pet, as belonging to Laura, not Almanzo.) When Laura says she doesn't feel right saying she'll obey Almanzo against her better judgment as part of her marriage vows, Almanzo immediately agrees with her. He tells point-blank that no woman ever keeps that vow even if she does make it, no decent man would ever expect her to, and if she's still uncomfortable with it, he's happy to ask the reverend to completely excise the word 'obey' from their vows. Basically, he wins her over by showing her that he respects her as an individual and likes her exactly how she is, when most people in those days would (and did) see her as a woman first and a person second.
  • In The Long Winter and continuing until-and-through These Happy Golden Years there's the sheer amount of work and effort Laura puts in in order to help Mary go to, and stay at, her college. It's a constant driving factor with Laura, wanting to work and earn money and to do well in school so that she can become a teacher (even though she doesn't want to be one) and thereby help bring home enough money. Only rarely does she think of buying things for herself, Mary is always the priority.
    • At the end of The Long Winter, Ma gives Laura the beautiful sewing materials from the delayed Christmas package, because Laura had given away things she had made in the past for the family's benefit. In subsequent books, Laura uses large amounts of that material to make Mary new clothes for college, and she's happy to do so.
  • Rose's birth. The First Four Years spends a lot of time fussing and figuring out the Wilders' financial situation, and this is the only time it's not made out to be a dire annoyance.
    There were doctor bills, but, after all, a Rose in December is much rarer than a rose in June, and must be paid for accordingly.
  • The Caroline Years:
    • In Across The Rolling River Caroline's relationship with Miss May and how that inspires her to become a teacher.
    • And her growing friendship with Charles Ingalls, especially their Friendly Rivalry over the spelling bee.
    • In Little City By The Lake Caroline's friend Millie standing up for her when the other girls look down on her mother making her dresses.
    • Caroline's aunt doing her best to give Caroline a new dress for a ball despite Caroline's protests.
    • When Caroline's family is stricken with cholera, a neighbor travels all the way to Milwaukee to get Caroline's grandmother. Said grandmother also tells Caroline that if he hadn't had to worry about infecting his own wife and child, their neighbor probably would have tended Caroline's family with his own two hands.
  • The Charlotte Years
    • On Tide Mill Lane: The town celebrating when it's announced the war is ending and later the Tucker's delight when Will (Lew's striker in the forge) returns home.
    • Throughout the book Lew shoulders a much larger workload in the forge because he doesn't want to replace Will. When Will returns, he's lost a leg and isn't sure if Lew will give him his job back. Lew and Martha both tell him he's ridiculous for even suggesting that they wouldn't want him.
    • Overall just how happy Martha is after her struggles growing up in the previous series. The narrative makes it clear that she loves every minute of her life in America from looking after the children, cooking without help, being married to 'the finest blacksmith either side of the Atlantic' visiting their neighbors and her freedom in living as a commoner.
    • And by extension, how happy she and Lew are together. It's obvious Martha kept her rebellious streak from her childhood, but rather than being ashamed of her, Lew clearly adores how spirited she is and doesn't mind saying so, whether it's commenting she could frighten the president if she wanted or laughing at her cheering for him in public. It really gives you insight as to why they both risked so much to marry each other.
    • A particularly sweet scene occurs when Lew insists that Martha buy a dress for herself. Martha objects saying they need other things and fine clothes are wasted on her 'common chicken feathers'. We get a brief look into Lew's feelings for Martha.
    Lew: My Martha, a common chicken? I think not. Ye're a skylark, of course. Soars high, nests on the ground, sings the happiest song in the heavens. I ought to have seen that right away.
  • The Martha Years:
    • Little House In The Highlands: Martha making up with her brother Duncan after he loses her doll.
    • Down To The Bonny Glen: Martha's new governess Miss Crow subtly comforting her about a ruined sash and Martha's growing affection for her after loathing her previous governess.
    • Martha breaking tension between her brother Duncan, and their friends Lew and Ian over the suddenly realized class differences, by challenging Lew to a footrace. He clearly realizes what she's doing and plays along.
    • Beyond The Heather Hills: Martha bonding with her older sister Grisie after three books of sisterly tensions.
    • From the same book Lew helping Martha get craft supplies when she's stuck in bed, including giving her his own knife. Even the gruff, no-nonsense Cook is touched and calls them quite a pair. Bonus points for Martha never doubting he'd do everything he could to help her. And in the end Lew insists she keep the knife so Martha gives him one of her home-made dolls for his little sister.
  • A meta example: In her book, Alison Arngrim says she gets asked all the time if Michael Landon "loved" her and the other kid actors on the show. She never knew how to answer that question, but she did make it clear that he respected them as fellow professional actors, even calling out a producer who was trying to pay some extras with bubblegum rather than actual money.


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