Lots of Little Pieces of a Little House
With some vacation time coming Charles (Michael Landon) and Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassle) decides to return to Walnut Grove to spend time with their daughter Laura Ingalls Wilder (Melissa Gilbert) and her family. But their happiness is short lived when they discover that a railroad tycoon somehow owns the deed to the entire township and plans to take control of it to line his own pocket. With everyone in town coming together to get rid of the tycoon they discover he isn't going so decide to take drastic action to make sure he doesn't prosper from what they built.
I've mentioned it before but two shows dominated my childhood; "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie" although I have to say I think I watched "Little House on the Prairie" more because I had a crush on Melissa Gilbert as much for the stories and the rest of the cast. As such I have forgotten many of the episodes I watched back as a child although it was impossible to forget the movie special "Little House: The Last Farewell" as how could you forget a movie which blew up the entire set to wipe it off the face of the planet. Now some say this was Michael Landon's revenge on the studio for cancelling his show although it is also said the plot of land had to be cleared after production as it was only leased and so it gave Landon the chance to do something memorable and it certainly was a memorable finale to the long running series.
But what about all the stuff which went on before the destruction of walnut Grove, well much of the movie is really a last farewell as so many scenes give those who were regulars in the series a chance to show up and have their bit to play which includes a young Shannen Doherty. As such we get to see everyone from Richard Bull as Nels Oleson to Victor French and we get to revisit the places which over the years have become characters in themselves such as the school building.
But "Little House: The Last Farewell" doesn't just feel like a sad farewell as we also have the story of businessman Nathan Lassiter, played by James Karen, deviously taking over the town. And whilst it isn't the most amazing of storylines it is perfect when you consider the outcome of it and everyone gets their chance to do some demolishing with lovely Laura letting rip in the kitchen with the windows taking the brunt of her anger.
What this all boils down to is that "Little House: The Last Farewell" is about two things; firstly giving us a chance to see the characters we have grown to love and the places which have felt like home one last time. And secondly the big finale of the destruction of Walnut Grove which for what ever reason was behind it is certainly a spectacular way to go out considering so many series end up not getting a finale after they are cancelled. Ironically thanks to the way NBC worked they switched around the order of the movie specials so whilst this should have been a last farewell an earlier movie special was broadcast after this, go figure.