Post 23:
“Plague”

Post 23: “Plague”

From 13-Year-Old Anne’s Journal —

December 1, 1982 – EXCELLENT

“This man sells corn. (He doesn’t know that the rats got to it.) Everybody gets sick and Charles finally figures out why. Him & Doc Baker go to the corn shed & find all these rats everywhere. They burn the shed. People get better & that’s the end.”

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From Anne —

In seventh grade art class, the teacher made us do paper maché. My team chose to make heads and enact a puppet spoof of Little House.

Now, you can imagine how conflicted I felt about this. On one hand, I was an authority on the subject and glad to offer my consulting services. On the other hand, my smart-alecky peers were skewering my precious tropes. A Mensa-level girl in our group ended up writing a script featuring “Pa quivering on the buckboard.”

Well, here is the source of her admittedly-accurate parody. The infamous Plague episode in which Charles holds back tears while watching a father cradle his dead son under a tree! The father has gone all Norman Bates on us, and all Charles can do is stand there with wet eyes. That’s life on the big prairie.

You have to think that whoever did the music for this episode was indeed inspired by Hitchcock. The shrill strings that play when Pa opens the shed to see all the rats is worthy of Pyscho, for sure. Love how windy it is throughout this whole episode, also: great atmosphere!

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From Tracy —

I came away from this episode wanting to learn more about doctors on the Prairie and found this handy DVD:

In Search of History: Frontier Doctors

I got a copy from the library so you might check at your local branch.

Caution! Do not try to eat a meal or eat anything while watching this. You will seriously regret it. I got more than a bit queasy and I’m a tough-titted sort. But I came away from it with new found respect for the Doc Bakers of the past.

Another thing to note in this episode is the amazing linseed oil tin bread oven that appears at 2:39 in the beginning of the episode. Reuse indeed you clever little prairie bastards!

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