Several weeks earlier, Percy and Nellie traveled to New York (with their infant twins, Benny and Jenny) to help run the family's store and hotel after Percy's father, Mr. Cohen, falls gravely ill; the elder Mr. Cohen soon dies. Nellie - who is never seen on-camera - writes to her parents and tells them that their stay in New York will now be permanent to carry on the family business. This news saddens Nels, but Mrs. Olesen's life virtually comes to a complete stop. She is deeply depressed, refuses to eat and cannot sleep; there are times when she'd rather be dead. Nels and Dr. Baker are very concerned and decide to talk Mrs. Olesen into adopting a 9- or 10-year-old girl. At first, Mrs. Olesen flatly objects, but changes her mind after Cassandra visits with her. The Olesens travel to the orphanage in Sleepy Eye to visit with the young girls; Nels considers one of the well-mannered girls, but Mrs. Olesen rejects them all since none of them are like Nellie. Nels tries to reason with his wife; just when he gives up hope, there is a loud crash and a scuffle involving one of the girls. Mrs. Olesen's spirits immediately perk up, and it isn't long before they find out who this girl is - Nancy, a bratty troublemaker who is exactly the girl Mrs. Olesen is after. Nels tries to get his wife to reconsider, but upon learning that Nancy will soon be taken to a home for behavior-problem children, he feels obliged to adopt the girl for everyone's sake. Willie objects when he meets his new sister, since it will ruin his chance at a normal childhood. As one might expect, Nancy immediately asserts herself as the town's new troublemaker, getting into a first-day-of-school fight with Cassandra and stealing Willie's homework. After the latter incident, Nels wants to reprimand Nancy but Mrs. Olesen interferes. Laura has a talk with Nancy to find out the reason behind her bratty behavior, and Nancy says its because she was abandoned by her mother. Nancy then wants to get the starring role in an upcoming talent show, but classmate Belinda Petersen has gotten the nod instead. Nancy then schemes to do away with Belinda, and hatches her plan by inviting her over under the premise of practicing songs for the upcoming show, and asking her to get some ice from the ice house. Nancy gets Willie to close the door to the ice house, he being unaware that Belinda is inside. Other stories in the episode involve Adam and Mary planning to move to New York to take over his father's law practice (since meaningful work can't be found in Walnut Grove); and Hester Sue coming to work at Nellie's Restaurant and Hotel (after the state closes the School for the Blind).
Directed by Michael Landon Starring Michael Landon
, Karen Grassle
, Melissa Gilbert
, Melissa Sue Anderson
, Lindsay Greenbush
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