Post 17:
“The Empire Builders”

Post 17: “The Empire Builders”

From 13-Year-Old Anne’s Journal —

November 22, 1982  – FAIR  

“This railroad come through Walnut Grove & had to threaten to take away the Wilder’s & the Carters property. They fought for it & won.”

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From Anne —

Well, here’s an episode that feels uber contemporary, packed with juicy issues: corporations vs. the little guy, selling out in the name of progress, eminent domain, and the congruency of economic progress and prostitution. It was kind of fun to see a few whores on the loose in Walnut Grove, the Las Vegas of Minnesota, if you will. Also great to see Melissa Gilbert brandishing a shotgun, at the end of the episode.

I wonder why the Little House TV writers didn’t take on “current” events more often. You never get more than a whiff of a Native American on the show. Or feel much backlash from the Civil War. Or hear about the invention of the lightbulb or whatnot. But “The Empire Builders” feels full of honest dilemmas.

Two scary things, though: thugs in flour sack masks … yow! And Laura’s eyeshadow is pretty heavy-handed in her bedroom scene with Almanzo.

Oh, you may ask: why the jump into Season 9, in the sequence of my journal? Ask the crackpots at Channel 4; it wasn’t my fault.

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From Tracy —

The march of progress! And all those beautiful old steam trains!! (Yup I’m a foamer.)No doubt they had a big budget for this one.

And then progress like it always does, progress runs right into a big heapin’ helping of NIMBYism. I like that they were able to come to a compromise but I always was a little irritated at how everyone on this show always does everything to make sure that Walnut Grove doesn’t succeed. As if plague, storms and market changes weren’t already against them enough. Ah well. As someone who thinks trains are still the future I’ll always be on the side of the industrialists on this issue. I just wish they hadn’t painted them with such a thick coat of cartoon tar and feathers. But hey, this is LHOP. Not Atlas Shrugged . : )

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