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1981 - Father Murphy

Father Murphy is an American television drama series that aired on the NBC network from November 3, 1981 to September 18, 1983. Michael Landon created the series, was the executive producer, and also directed the show in partnership with William F. Claxton, Maury Dexter, Victor French and Leo Penn. [Later on, Landon would cast Shannen in 'Little House of the Prairie']. The series stars actor Merlin Olsen as an 1870s frontiersman named John Michael Murphy who teams up with prospector Moses Gage (Moses Gunn) to shelter a group of orphans who are being threatened with a workhouse. Murphy disguises himself as a priest and befriends a schoolmarm to help the children find a home. At the end of the first season, his true identity is revealed to the head of the workhouse, and the orphans seem destined to a life of labor. Instead, Murphy marries the schoolmarm and they get custody of the children. Shannen appeared as Drusilla Shannon in two episodes, 'By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 1', aired on December 1st 1981, and 'By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 2', aired on December 8th 1981. A mountain man (Eli) comes down from the mountains with his adopted child (Drew) and brings the child to Gold Hill for some education. Later, a number of the kids get themselves put into the Claymore work camp in order to save Ephram who was sent there. After Ephram is jailed and sent to Claymore work house and Will and Drew get themselves sent there also to rescue Ephram, they discover that it isn't as easy to get out as they thought. It looks hopeless, until Murphy hatches a plan to get them out. Shannen was nominated at the Young Artist Awards for her performance.
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