While speaking to the Daily Planet in June 2021, the “Little House on the Prairie” star shared the episodes that he’s particularly fond of. “As far as episodes I’m not in, at the end of the first season, there’s a two-part episode called ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd,’ Butler explained. “I think this is one of the finest episodes in the history of the series. There is just something beautiful in the storytelling about that.”
Butler also went on explain that in the episode, Melissa Gilbert’s Laura goes to find God to get Him to give Ma and Pa a new baby boy [after the death of her infant brother]. “Then here’s [guest star] Ernest Borgnine, playing the character Jonathan on the mountain,” Butler said.
Butler further shared that Jonathan was on the mountain with Laura when Pa and Victor French’s Mr. Edward showed up. “They turn around to thank him and he’s gone. Where did he go? Who was he? Michael [Landon] just had a wonderful touch with that. In terms of favorite episodes I was in, that would be towards the end of season 6 in an episode titled ‘Sweet Sixteen.’”
Meanwhile, Butler explained that the episode was a huge turning point for Laura and for his character, Almanzo. “Now we were moving into the latter stages of the books and at the end of season 6, we are jumping into the happy, golden years of the last of Laura [Wilder’s] initial publications.”
Dean Butler Talks Being Melissa Gilbert’s First Kiss on the Set of ‘Little House on the Prairie’
As part of the “Little House on the Prairie” episode, Dean Butler reveals that he was Melissa Gilbert’s first kiss. “TV Land gave us an award years later for the most memorable kiss in television history. It was a funny kiss because Melissa’s mother was offscreen nearby crying. She was seeing her little girl have her first kiss ever, both onscreen and off so that was a big deal”
Butler further explained that Gilbert had no life experience to lead her through the kiss. “She had nothing in her life to prepare her for this moment. Melissa was just gutsy. Melissa Gilbert is a gutsy woman and she was a gutsy little girl. She was just prepared to step in and do what needed to be done.”
Butler also recalled years later when he found out that Gilbert was terribly uncomfortable in that moment. However, no one could tell. “She would have never given that away. She’s a gamer that way. I think a young woman of lesser courage and internal strength might have folded in that moment. It’s tribute to who Melissa is that she handled that so well.”