This is the front page of a letter from Rose to her mother, Laura Ingles Wilder, as they worked on Laura’s LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series by mail.
If I were Laura’s editor/advisor, I’d leave the knife scene in. In MISSIONARIES OF OMO, I have a 13 year old girl defend herself against potential rapists, and in OYU’S TRIDENT I have another 13 year old take on a monster. I know I don’t write in the 1930s, but I don’t see why a frontier girl can’t defend herself with a knife when she feels threatened.
Rose seems to assume the kissing cousin is friendly. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Maybe that’s why Laura didn’t play with them for an entire summer. Maybe it’s not the Rockwell scene she’s trying to fulfill.
That said, Rose’s points about facts vs elements that move the story along is valid — though that can be overdone. Part of why I like Miyazaki’s films is he has scenes where nothing important happens. I like spending time in a place, just for the place itself.