After the mill closes, Charles is unable to pay off his debt at the mercantile. Mr. Hanson is forced to close the mill after one of his big customers declares bankruptcy. This was after Hanson had already shipped them a bunch of lumber. Charles had been expecting two months worth of wages before Hanson was forced to close down. Charles must taken on several jobs at the same time. Mary gets a job to help the family, while Laura does the chores at home. When the bill finally gets paid, Nels tells Charles that he thinks Charles is the richest man in Walnut Grove, since he has a very loving family.