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Wave of the Future 

Mrs. Oleson decides that reopening Nellie's Restaurant and Hotel as a franchised restaurant will result in big business for the fledgling business. Does she have what it takes to meet the ... See full summary »


Maury Dexter


Blanche Hanalis (developed for television by), Laura Ingalls Wilder (based upon the series of books "Little House" by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Landon ... Charles Ingalls
Karen Grassle ... Caroline Ingalls
Melissa Gilbert ... Laura Ingalls Wilder (credit only)
Rachel Lindsay Greenbush ... Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Sidney Greenbush ... Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Katherine MacGregor ... Harriet Oleson
Richard Bull ... Nels Oleson
Dean Butler ... Almanzo James Wilder
Jonathan Gilbert ... Willie Oleson
Allison Balson ... Nancy Oleson
Jason Bateman ... James Cooper Ingalls
Melissa Francis Melissa Francis ... Cassandra Cooper Ingalls (as Missy Francis)
Wendi Turnbaugh Wendi Turnbaugh ... Grace Ingalls
Brenda Turnbaugh Brenda Turnbaugh ... Grace Ingalls
Ketty Lester Ketty Lester ... Hester-Sue Terhune


Mrs. Oleson decides that reopening Nellie's Restaurant and Hotel as a franchised restaurant will result in big business for the fledgling business. Does she have what it takes to meet the demands of a tough franchiser, and can she fight off unexpected competition from Charles and Nels when they open up their own restaurant? Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

7 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Walnut Grove restaurant is almost always shown as being extremely busy (as in people actually having to wait for a table to be empty). Realistically, a small, rural 19th century town like Walnut Grove would not have a restaurant that is always that busy, much less survive for long. This was a poor, farming Community where locals probably didn't have the disposable income to eat out. Dining out was still considered a well heeled, city person's luxury in the 1800s. Percival Dalton would have pointed out this demographic when he was hired to save their restaurant. See more »


The phrase "wave of the future" was not used until 1940, based on an essay by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. See more »


Nels Oleson: The same pan fried steak?
See more »

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User Reviews

Wave of the Future is fast food!
16 November 2013 | by mitchrmpSee all my reviews

I've always liked this episode. A man comes to town claiming he has the "wave of the future" in restaurants. He knows a way he can decrease the work load and increase prophet in Harriet's restaurant. They will serve just three meals a day, and the food will be pre-cooked so all they have to do is warm it up. Sound familiar? Yep, the idea of fast-food is coming to Walnut Grove!

But in typical Harriet Oleson fashion, Harriet signs without carefully reading the whole contract. Almost immediately, they discover all sorts of problems. They have to have signature tables, signature napkins, curtains, and everything - and of course the owners pay a little above cost! We also notice that everyone works harder. They are expected to be open seven days a week from breakfast to supper...

By the way, I've always known Caroline to be totally against any kind of work on Sunday, yet in this episode she's totally fine with working on Sunday night. And with that said, Charles didn't really like Caroline working, yet now he's letting her work like a dog while he stays on and does the domestic stuff...just a bit off-kilter if you ask me.

The episode ends in an interesting twist as the Colonel Sanders comes wanting to open a restaurant serving only one meal - fried chicken.

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