After rescuing a seriously ill, unconscious Reverend Alden from his runaway wagon, down on his luck plainsman, Caleb Hodgekiss, puts on the clergyman's collar and devises a plan to fleece the charitable townsfolk of Walnut Grove.
When Nellie Oleson is seriously injured after falling from Bunny, a horse that used to belong to Laura Ingalls, Nellie's mother blames Laura for the accident and orders the animal destroyed. But Laura secretly steals her still-beloved Bunny away from Mrs. Oleson's vengeance and resigns herself to the penance of waiting hand and foot on a demanding, bedridden Nellie.
Conniving Mrs. Oleson is so certain that her scheming and daughter Nellie's new thoroughbred racehorse will beat Laura Ingall's speedy mount, Bunny, in the Hero Township horse race that she puts up a valuable family heirloom as first prize.
Passing the Oleson's house while out with Mary for a night of window soaping on a spooky Halloween eve, Laura hears a loud argument and peers in the window just in time to witness Mr. Oleson swing his sword... and cut off Mrs. Oleson's head!
After a letter from Wisconsin brings the sad news of his mother's death, a grieving Charles travels back to his boyhood home in the big woods, hoping to convince his heartbroken father to return with him to Walnut Grove.
Life in Walnut Grove with Charles, Caroline and three active grandchildren seems to be just the tonic Grandpa Ingalls needs to help him recover from his wife's death until a broken promise after a terrible accident reopens an old wound and drives a wedge between him and granddaughter Laura.
To save him from Farmer Parsons shotgun, Laura takes a cantankerous billy goat in trade for doing chores for Mrs. Parsons, names him Fred, and finds, much to her dismay, that mischievous Fred's constant companion is trouble.
Following Reverend Alden's lead, the Walnut Grove townsfolk try to turn the other cheek when the bad behavior of the recently arrived Galender brothers causes tempers to flare, until a series of incidents begins to reveal the trio's more sinister nature.
Laura feels like she has grown enough to go hunting with Charles so they let her. While unrolling the bedroll, she accidentally knocks over the gun that Charles left loaded and ready to shoot. It goes off, hitting Charles in the abdomen. Laura has to try to help him back to the trapper's cabin. She manages to get him on his horse, but when they are going up a hill, it's too steep and the horse and Charles slide back down the hill. The horse dies. Charles sends Laura to the cabin to get help. She gets there and the trapper has gone off to check his traps and only his ...
Mr. Edwards adopted son, John, must choose between going away to school for several years to realize his dream of becoming a writer or marrying his true love, Mary Ingalls, and living the life of a farmer in Walnut Grove.
Counting on his immunity to protect him from the deadly mountain fever that killed his first wife and daughter, Isaiah Edwards takes Doc Baker to help with neighboring Elmsville's outbreak. But after contact with an infected townsman, Mr. Edwards unwittingly carries the disease back to Walnut Grove and when daughter, Alicia, develops symptoms, he must fight to save his new family while the rest of the town goes into quarantine.
Mrs. Oleson rewrites Alcott's "Little Women" to ensure Nellie is the star in Walnut Grove's school play based on the classic story; but shy Ginny Clark steals the show when, taking a lesson from her character, Jo, to try to get her bitter mother to come to the event, she surprises everyone by playing her part to perfection, both on and off the stage.
Jeremy Stokes lives in Walnut Grove. His daughter Amelia was rumored to have been kidnapped by some Indians. When her husband is killed she and her son, Spotted Eagle, come home to live with her father. Jeremy says that while in Walnut Grove, Spotted Eagle will be called Joseph Stokes. He doesn't want to claim the child as his own flesh and blood. His story is that that her daughter was kidnapped and she is just taking care of Spotted Eagle. Amelia tells Caroline that actually she fell in love with Spotted Eagle's father and that Spotted Eagle is her actual son.
While Mary fights a life-threatening infection and the hospital bills mount, Charles puts himself and a railroad tunneling team in danger by volunteering to complete a dangerous blasting job in unsafe conditions to earn the cash bonus he so desperately needs.
Yearning to escape the hard life that sent his father to an early grave, the young son of poor, black Mississippi sharecroppers makes his way to Walnut Grove and offers to sell himself to the Ingalls' family in exchange for an education.
Laura is playing with Anna when Nellie walks by and says she is starting a club and they are going to play in her room and she invites Laura but Laura wants to play with Anna so Nellie says she can come too. Laura is enjoying a music box, but Nellie is being bossy and tells everyone to pay attention to her so when Harriet directs everyone downstairs a few minutes later for refreshments, Laura steals the music box. She takes it home to play with in the loft of the barn, but when she thinks someone is coming, she gets startled and drops it and messes up the part that ...
As a prank to make him look foolish, the older boys of Walnut Grove school nominate the object of their practical jokes, gentle Elmer Dobkins, to run for class president against popular Mary Ingalls and wealthy Nellie Oleson. While Mary and Nellie wage their campaigns with promises of popcorn and gum balls, Mr. Dobkins witnesses his son being teased by the older boys and, when he finds out why Elmer was nominated, angrily orders him to pull out of the election. But, when election day comes and the race seems too close to call, a cruel act and children tired of being ...
When a particularly rainy growing season in Walnut Grove destroys any hope of a harvest the Ingalls and the Edwards families set out on a 400 mile trip to the Dakota gold fields, hoping to pan enough gold to see them through the cold Minnesota winter. There they meet other families with similar hopes and dreams as well as those who will stop at nothing to acquire the wealth they desire. Can Charles and Isaiah keep their families safe and reach their goal in this wild and dangerous country?
The Ingalls and the Edwards strike gold on their Dakota claim and, as the men work at extracting the ore, Caroline and Grace start a school for the miners' children with the help of the local minister, Reverend Phillips. But even as the families try to lead a normal life, greed, the bane of the gold rush, raises its ugly head. Caroline is alarmed when even Charles is unable to define how much gold is 'enough' and when Laura's discovery of an old miner's secret results in murder and betrayal the Walnut Grove residents begin to question their motives for staying any ...