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Short summary

The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the nineteenth century American Midwest.
A long-running drama based upon the "Little House" series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, "Little House on the Prairie" follows the lives of the simple, farming Ingalls family: Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, Carrie and then Grace and the later adopted Albert, James and Cassandra, who settle into a quaint little house on the banks of Plum Creek near the small town of Walnut Grove during the late 1800s. Often narrated by Laura, the series follows her simple farm upbringing from her childhood until her adulthood with Almanzo Wilder with whom she starts a family of her own. While the series is based upon the Little House books (and thus the real life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder), it is a very loose adaptation, with mostly only key events and elements of fact surviving the transition from book to TV series, the most important being Mary's eventual blindness, and Laura's future. Several other fictitious (some factual) characters make up the friendly community of Walnut Grove, ...

Trailers "Little House on the Prairie "

Michael Landon wore four-inch lifts in the series.

The real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, 1867, and died on February 10, 1957.

The show was a hit in its first season. In its second season, ratings dropped so low, that the show was in danger of cancellation. NBC moved it from Wednesday to Monday nights to attract a wider audience, and the ratings recovered in its third season. NBC intended to end the show after its fourth season, but the ratings stayed high enough to renew the show for a fifth season. It remained in the top thirty until it was finally cancelled in 1983.

Michael Landon had a unique way of inspiring child actors and actresses to cry when required for a scene. Melissa Gilbert described how he would work himself up emotionally, face her with his eyes full of tears and ask her, "Do you know how much I love you?" to which she would get all teary and emotional in response.

Alison Arngrim originally auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls, then for Mary Ingalls. When she auditioned for Nellie Oleson, she was hired on the spot.

Although apparently based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the show took many liberties with different characters. For example, Albert Ingalls, the Garveys, and Adam Kendall never existed. Although Mary Ingalls went to blind school, she never married.

According to Karen Grassle, Michael Landon considered his television son Matthew Laborteaux as his actual son.

The real Mary Ingalls never got married.

In her autobiography "Prairie Tale", Melissa Gilbert said Michael Landon, and many of the show's crew members, abused alcohol on the set of this show everyday. "He was always a hard worker and hard drinker", she writes, "and he and the crew would regularly have a few drinks of alcohol on the set, which is probably part of why he might have developed pancreatic cancer at such a young age." Landon was known to smoke three to four packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day.

Dean Butler remarked that the first kiss between him and Melissa Gilbert was so nerve-racking for everyone that there were chaperones on the set to make sure nothing unseemly was going on. From the sidelines, Melissa's mother Barbara was wailing "My baby!" so much, that she had to be consoled.

Out of the many young girls who auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls, Michael Landon was so certain that Melissa Gilbert was the perfect candidate, that hers was the only screentest he sent to the producers at NBC.

Melissa Gilbert appeared in 191 of the series' 205 episodes, more than anyone else. Michael Landon appeared in 177 episodes.

Linwood Boomer (Mary's husband Adam Kendall) was a script writer with several credits to his name. He is most famous for creating Malcolm mittendrin (2000).

According to Alison Arngrim, the writers intended for Mary Ingalls and John Sanderson to get married. Melissa Sue Anderson and Radames Pera had no romantic chemistry, so the storyline was replaced by Mary going blind and going away to school.

Laura Ingalls (Melissa Gilbert) and Willie Olsen (Jonathan Gilbert) are adopted brother and sister in real-life.

Despite the religious themes in the series Michael Landon never practiced any religion as an adult.

Melissa Gilbert was impressed by Michael Landon's habit of putting out cigarettes on his gloves. Landon smoked sixty to eighty unfiltered cigarettes a day.

While working on an episode of the show, Garett Brown, inventor of the Steadicam, chatted with former NFL player Merlin Olsen between scenes. Olsen mentioned how limited he thought television coverage of football was, because the static cameras couldn't give the audience any sense of the speed and flow of the game. With that in mind, Brown eventually designed what became known as Skycam, the floating hydraulic camera system that flies around the stadium above the players, with a 360 degree viewing angle. It has since become an essential tool in the coverage of live sporting and stadium events.

Michael Landon did not know how to play a fiddle (violin).

The character Charles Ingalls was ranked number four in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue).

Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert were good friends real-life. They used to play territory wars on the set.

Alison Arngrim wanted to date Radames Pera when he appeared in the series, but he felt she was too young for him.

Back in the 1800s, one of the main evening meals was beef stew. Throughout the series, when the Ingalls sat down to eat, they were eating Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and on the nights they would have fried chicken for dinner, they were eating Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The character Nellie Oleson was ranked number three in TV Guide's list of "TV's 10 Biggest Brats" (March 27, 2005 issue).

E.J. André appeared on the series seven times, in five different roles: Zachariah, Jed Cooper, St. Peter, Matthew Simms, and Amos Thoms. Eddie Quillan also appeared in seven episodes, but each in a different role: Buffalo Bill, Old Timer, Kavendish, Shorty, Gargan, Judge Picker and Jed Haney.

The only primetime non-reality series to stay in production during the 1980 actors' strike and the 1981 writers' strike, which delayed both fall seasons. Michael Landon, representing NBC rather than a studio, negotiated deals with SAG and WGA to allow the show to continue filming under a separate contract, while the actors, actresses, and writers continued to boycott the studios. (He did the same with the Writers Guild of America, purchasing scripts from the new members of the union, on the final season of Ein Engel auf Erden (1984), which he owned. NBC didn't use his new episodes during the fall of 1988, though.)

Laura's favorite perfume was lemon verbena. Mr. Edwards gave it to her in two episodes. Once when she was a little girl, and again after she was grown up.

The characters of Mary and Albert had their own theme music, which often played during their scenes.

According to Melissa Sue Anderson in her autobiography, " The Way I See It", there was tension on the set between Karen Grassle (Caroline) and Michael Landon (Charles). "Their's was not an equal relationship", she wrote. Allegedly Grassle was resentful of Michael Landon's power on the show, and she resented the fact that her character was basically a "June Cleaver" submissive type.

According to Allison Arngrim's autobiography "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" Katherine (Scottie) McGregor was a nice lady, but also a disruptive element on the set. She would give other actors and actresses direction. She would argue with the directors a lot. Eventually Michael Landon seriously considered firing her. But her performance as the show's villain was just too perfect to let her go.

The black locomotive used as a train in many episodes, notable from the red-and-gold enamel "3" medallion in front, is the famous Sierra #3 locomotive, used in numerous movies and television shows for nearly a hundred years. Its appearances include High Noon (1952), The Virginian (1962), The Great Race (1965), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Unforgiven (1992), Petticoat Junction (1963), Rawhide (1959), Bonanza (1959), Gunsmoke (1955), and many others.

Eight Oscar winning actors and actresses appeared as guest stars on various episodes: Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Burl Ives, Red Buttons, Eileen Heckart, Louis Gossett, Jr., Ralph Bellamy, and Sean Penn.

The series often reflected Michael Landon's right-wing political views. Landon endorsed Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election, and campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The theme song was penned by David Rose, who wrote many theme songs. However, he is best known for the 1962 Burlesque classic, The Stripper.

When she was offered the role of Caroline, Karen Grassle was working under the name of "Gabriel Tree". Michael Landon and NBC felt this name sounded too unconventional for a traditional and conservative family show like this, and asked her to revert to her real name.

The first dog the Ingalls owned was Jack. After he died, they adopted a stray black and white dog named Bandit.

Victor French (Isaiah Edwards) left the show for two years, from 1977 to 1979, to appear on Carter Country (1977). During this period, Merlin Olsen's Jonathan Garvey was brought in to become Charles' sidekick. When French came back after the cancellation of Carter Country (1977), Olsen was phased out of the series, and eventually given his own show, Father Murphy (1981), which was also produced by Michael Landon.

Since Walnut Grove did not have a jail of its own, Nels Oleson's (Richard Bull's) ice house served as such for anyone awaiting trial.

Melissa Sue Anderson was the only one on the show who was nominated for an Emmy, for her heartbreaking turn on season four, episodes twenty-one and twenty-two, "I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away: Parts 1 & 2", the episodes when Mary went blind. She didn't win.

There were three or four sets of siblings on the set everyday.

The final episode of the series, "The Last Farewell", was aired as a two hour movie. After a railroad executive comes to town claiming ownership of Hero Township, the town's residents dynamite all of the buildings. This was Michael Landon's idea. He thought it would be a more fitting ending, rather than have the town razed by bulldozers (as well as an ideal way to restore the set to its original state, as agreed)

In the 1990s, after the show had long been in syndication, Kevin Hagen (Doc Baker) started an (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign, supported by several other regular cast members, to force NBC to make, what they considered, higher residual and royalty payments to them.

CASTLE THUNDER: Heard every time it storms.

The episode "I'll be Waving as You Drive Away" was so memorable that the TV Guide placed it at 97 in the '100 Greatest Episodes of All Time' list of 1997.

Matthew Labyorteaux (Albert Ingalls) is the younger, adopted brother of Patrick Labyorteaux, who played Andrew Garvey on this show.

Season one, episode seventeen, "Doctor's Lady" and season nine, episode ten, "Love", are virtually identical in plot, as both deal with an older man (Doc Baker and Mr. Edwards respectively) falling in love with much younger women and deciding to sacrifice the relationships, due to the age difference.

The series got a lot of inspiration from another show that was popular at the time, called "Bonanza." Michael Landon originally became famous from his appearance on "Bonanza", and he would take scripts that were intended to be used for that, and made some change.

Father Murphy (1981) was a spin-off of this show, Executively Produced by Michael Landon, and starred many of this show's regulars, Merlin Olsen, Shannen Doherty, and Carl Dixon.

The series finale "The Last Farewell" ended with the town's residents marching out of town singing "Onward Christian Soldiers". The only buildings left standing were the church/schoolhouse and the Ingalls/Carter house.

Blanche Hanalis wrote the script for the original pilot episode in 1974. However, although she had no further involvement with the series beyond the pilot, she continued to receive the opening titles credit: "Developed For Television By....." for every episode, including the TV movie specials.

Charles and Isaiah's nickname for Laura was "Half-pint".

The two closest towns to Walnut Grove were Sleepy Eye and Mankato.

Each 45 minute episode took, on average, seven days to shoot requiring four days on location at Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley for 'Walnut Grove' exteriors (and various Hollywood studio backlots for "Sleepy Eye", "Mankato" "Winoka", etc.), and three days in the studio for all interiors.

In her autobiography "Prairie Tale", Melissa Gilbert said she confronted former co-star and on-screen niece-in-law Shannen Doherty about sleeping with Gilbert's then-husband, Bo Brinkman. Doherty answered "Well, you know I always wanted to be you." Gilbert stormed off and never spoke to Doherty again. "It was a little too Single White Female for me", she said.

Hersha Parady debuted in the show in a one-off role as Charles Ingalls' sister-in-law Eliza, in season three, episode six, "Journey in the Spring", returning in season four as Alice Garvey, who would eventually die in the blind school fire episodes, season six, episodes twenty-one and twenty-two, "May We Make Them Proud: Parts 1 & 2". The fire was started accidentally by Albert, played by Matthew Laborteaux, who also made his Little House debut in "Journey in the Spring", playing a young Charles Ingalls, in a flashback sequence.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Elastic Skunk
    This show debuted just after my birth, my mother watched it religiously and I was raised watching this show. I have read and re-read all of the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I now own every season available on DVD. Little House On the Prarie is a show that not only showed America what family is all about, it also tackled serious issues every week. I've read all of the negative comments and still can't see why anyone wouldn't love this show. Yes Michael Landon was a big part of the show, but the show was really about Laura and how she grew up, and as she grew up we got to watch a wonderful actress, Melissa Gilbert, grow up too. At 31 I now look back on this show with love and tenderness, remembering special times with my own mother as I watched it as a child. This is truly one of the best family shows that has ever been broadcast on TV. We need shows like this on TV now.
  • comment
    • Author: saafari
    I love that show,I grew up with it,I saw all the episodes about twenty times.Michael Landon was a marvelous man he knew the how to make the show works and to touch audience all over the world. The casting was perfect.The music was great,all the characters had their theme song. If only we could see more about the little house actors now because they were more talented than somme actors you get on television drama now.Mattew Laborteaux was a great actors especially in the episode I'll remember you and Fagin and who could ever forget Scottie Mc gregor and Alyson Amgrim as Hariet and Nelie Olson. My point is that THEY DONT DO SHOWS LIKE THIS ANYMORE and it's sad,they did try to copy it with Dr queen but still it wasn't the half as good. I am hoping one day of somme sort of a reunion even if I know that it wont be the samme as the great Michael Landon died and that many of the others actors did too.
  • comment
    • Author: MrRipper
    I enjoy this series (I faithfully watch the reruns) for the same reasons millions of others do; the story lines that provide valuable lessons in life and the outstanding performances by regulars and guests. I would like to let readers know my all time favorite episode. It's the one titled "The Man Inside". This is the one about the fat man who decides to "leave" so his daughter will no longer have to be embarrassedd by him. Later, the children in the blind school open her eyes and help her realize what a great father he is.
  • comment
    • Author: Liarienen
    The late Michael Landon spent his life as a part of our tv family. From 1959 when Bonanza came on the air until 1989 when Highway to Heaven was canceled, there was not a single year that he did not have a series on the air. That is a record that will stand for all time I believe. He specialized in creating high quality family programming. People don't generally realize that Mister Landon wrote and directed the majority of the episodes of Bonanza, Little House and Highway To Heaven. Little House showed us a simple, strong loving family who stayed together and solved their problems with the power of love and understanding. Michael was everyone's favorite strict but loving father. Melissa Gilbert said she really looked upon him as a father figure and the chemistry between Half Pint and Pa showed it. Thru Mary's blindness and her baby's death to Laura's marriage and all the other problems the Ingalls stayed together. The show had a first class ensemble cast and everyone did a wonderful job at creating colorful characters from Victor French's lovable Mister Edwards to Katherine MacGregor's snobby, mean Mrs. Olsen. What I like is the fact that Harriet Olsen always got her "comeuppance" at the end of every episode as did Nellie, but they never really did learn their lesson. One episode I remember particularly well was the one where Richard Mulligan played a Cival War veteran who was still troubled by his experiences at the Battle of Shiloh. He had ran away in battle and was seriously addicted to morphine. Mulligan was brilliant in the part and unlike most episodes, this one had a completely tragic ending. He killed himself. Also, the episode where Albert became an addict was excellent. People made fun of the scene where he vomits on Pa during withdrawal but that is exactly what happens to addicts when they go through it. Matthew Laborteaux visited rehab centers to research his part and it shows. It is a chilling look at the horrors of drug abuse.
  • comment
    • Author: Gianni_Giant
    Sure, this series isn't as good as the books, but it's very enjoyable in its own right. Since I was too young to watch the show during its original run, I like to catch up on the reruns whenever I can. The acting was right on: Melissa Gilbert as Laura was perfect. She grew in the role and showed she was quite capable of carrying the show when Michael Landon left. But I can't help but be jealous of her because the gorgeous Dean Butler played her husband, Almanzo! They both did a great job.

    Of course, it would be silly for me not to mention the other wonderful actors who made Little House so enjoyable to watch: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle as Pa and Ma Ingalls. Was there ever a cooler, prettier mother on TV than Karen Grassle??? Melissa Sue Anderson as gentle Mary Ingalls was incomparable, especially after she became blind. She was very convincing playing blind! Also noteworthy are Kevin Hagen as Doc Baker, Dabbs Greer as Rev. Alden, Victor French as Mr. Edwards, and Richard Bull and Katherine MacGregor as the nosy, rude, crass, but hysterically funny Nels and Harriet Oleson. And last but certainly not least is one of TV's best villainesses, Alison Arngrim as the snobby, bratty and whiny Nellie Oleson. What would LH have been without the great rivalry between Laura Ingalls and Nellie Oleson? Did they give the writers of Dynasty ideas for the mudfights between Krystle and Alexis???

    It's hard to describe what it is about Little House I love so much. I think I love the extreme closeness of the Ingalls family, and the romance. Whether it be the love and romance between long married Charles and Caroline, the sweet love and romance of Laura and her "Manly", among others, or also the fact I grew up watching the reruns on my grandmother's lap and we bonded to this show in a certain sense, I truly have a big spot in my heart for this show and also Laura Ingalls Wilder's wonderful books.

    My favorite episode is "Divorce, Walnut Grove Style", Laura and Almanzo's separation over the girl's song, and how they reconcile. What a wonderful show!
  • comment
    • Author: Legionstatic
    I'm not totally sure why I like the show so much. It has it's serious moments, sad moments and funny moments. One thing I know that I do like best about it is the relationship they show between Pa and Laura. But it also makes you wonder what kind of relationship Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert had in real life (and from what I've been able to understand it wasn't much different than it was on the show). It's a good wholesome family show and it's a show that makes your heart overfill with joy and love just by watching it. It's one of the best shows that has ever been on TV ever and there will never be another show like it. I've never gone out and bought a whole series of a TV show until LHOTP. I was a little surprised that I did. But once I started and watched the episodes I couldn't help it. It's one of those shows that you can watch over and over again and never get tired of it. Like I said I'm not 100% sure why I like the show so much. But I love the show and to me that is all I care about.
  • comment
    • Author: Eigonn
    I don't know what it is about this show, but it is one of my all time favorites. I am now in my early 40's and still watch it every time it airs. I own every DVD and even recorded every show long before DVDs were available. Michael Landon had a gift about the shows he wrote and directed. The best episode, in my opinion, is "The Lord is My Shepherd." The story lines and family atmosphere of these episodes says a lot. I can remember growing up watching these shows every Monday night - brings back fond memories of sharing those times with my family, particularly my grandmother, who adored Michael Landon as much as I did. I wish TV of today had the family values like it had many years ago. Shows such as "Little House" will forever remain a piece of history. Thank God Michael Landon left us such wonderful TV memories! :-)
  • comment
    • Author: Voodoosida
    I've also read the negative comments and I have none. I've noticed some of the things that were mentioned but so what? What's wrong with showing emotion and crying? What's the problem with bringing new characters on for just one episode? That's the way shows are done, which should be obvious to all adults by now - if they've watched at least, well.....*anything* in film. I've been part of filming many times and I can tell you honestly that Michael Landon would have been a dream to work with. Melissa Gilbert is a pro and I absolutely adore her work. She remains one of my favorite actors to this day. The rest of the players are priceless. I'm 41 now and I was growing up watching this show and I just wonder how in the world could a parent NOT want their child to watch something like that? I learned so much from the storylines, and they taught me the meaning of goodness and purity. Little House was the epitome of good. They brought to light many situations and the best solutions to them and in most cases no one was ever hurt(unless an emotional learning experience). And not even Jack drowned. :o) If you want a wholesome show that the family will love and will benefit from, this is it. Not even the Waltons can top this one, and I love that show. Overlook the discrepancies that were mentioned here and you won't be sorry you took the chance. I came here to post because I saw that the first season of Little House is coming out and I would love for others to benefit. I just wish they'd filmed it in the past 5 years so my son could've been part of it. :o)
  • comment
    • Author: Mmsa
    "Little House on the Prairie" has become an entertainment staple in my house. My wife began feverishly DVRing the show and trying to catch all the episodes in some semblance of order since running across it on GMC a couple of years back. Along the way, she sucked my sons into the family- oriented drama as well. She loves it so much I actually made a friend of mine drive 40 miles out of the way on a road trip so I could visit and take pictures of the Ingalls' homestead in Kansas for her.

    "Little House on the Prairie" tells the story of Charles Ingalls and his family as they move to Kansas and then Minnesota to start a new life. They settle down in Minnesota and face many hardships as they build a home for themselves outside of the town of Walnut Grove. As they settle into the challenges of everyday life, they make friends and learn to deal with a colorful group of people who run and live in the the little community.

    If you're looking for good clean family-friendly entertainment, "Little House on the Prairie" is most definitely the answer to your prayers. It's a show that teaches the importance of family and the strength it provides to weather through the storms life throws at you. Any fan of classic television should clean off a spot in their home library for this new edition of the hit series.
  • comment
    • Author: Lynnak
    A well-written show with some definite episodes within "genres" (broad comedies, moral choices, adventure, family values, religion). As far as a complete body of work, the seasons best hold together in the first four years, ending with "I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away" (you can believe that the family had faced issues and had to move as they moved previously, in the spirit of the books and the time period)...adding additional cast and bringing back characters afterward added some confusion and some continuity problems that are well documented. The last season of episodes and the last TV movies are often lambasted as not true to style, or by having substitute families, and while this is true to a point, the new characters often were used to tell similar stories.
  • comment
    • Author: Beazerdred
    When I was 10 years old, my family was transfered back to the US from Germany where my dad had been stationed with the US Army. Our first night stateside we stayed in an airport motel, and while flipping through the channels to see what was new on American TV (all we had in Germany was afrts), we saw our first Little House Episode. The Sunday School class was outside under the big tree discussing plans for Rev Aldens birthday. I had read the little house books in school, and based solely on the names I jumped up and yelled, "It's Little House, it's little house" Needless to say, it was still on Wednesday nights then, and it became a Wednesday night tradition in our house, then Mondays. Every time I see the episode I think of that first night after a long flight, and all of us in that motel room. Good memories....
  • comment
    • Author: Kerdana
    This TV-series is a classic! I love this show. It's great and it's cute...the cast is great and every episode of the series it´s extremely good. Melissa Gilbert is a magnifficent actress, she played her role very well from the start back in 1974 to the end in 1984.
  • comment
    • Author: Glei
    Whether absolutely realistic or not, this is a wonderful and touching glimpse of rural Western family life in the 1800's. The series is based, albeit loosely, on the actual pioneer family tales of Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose Little House books I must confess to not having read.

    The series chronicles the everyday experiences of the simple farming Ingalls family, who live near the Prairie village of Walnut Grove. The family consists of father Charles Ingalls, mother Caroline, and their three young daughters...Mary, Laura, and Carrie. Later the family is joined by baby daughter, Grace, an adopted son, Albert, and orphaned siblings, James & Cassandra. The viewer witnesses the growing up years of the Ingalls children. Mary learns to cope with blindness, later marries Adam (a teacher at the blind school), and suffers through the tragic death of her baby. Laura matures to take up teaching, weds sweetheart Almanzo Wilder, and becomes a mother to little daughter, Rose. Other Walnut Grove townsfolk are also regularly depicted, including the schoolteacher Miss Beadle (and later others), the parson Rev. Alden, the country doctor Dr. Baker, and the Olsens, who operate the local mercantile. Ingalls family friends, especially the Edwards and the Garveys, are included in some of the episodes.

    The Olsen family members, chief rivals to the Ingalls, are especially cleverly depicted. Harriet, the snobbish, opinionated, buxom family matriarch, frequently receives her comeuppance, but by the next episode is unrepentantly as bad as ever! Her nasty daughter, Nellie, with her well orchestrated blonde curls, is one of the most deliciously evil villains in TV history. She is a constantly whiny, jealous, uppity, and conniving thorn in young Laura's side...the girl everyone loves to hate. Nellie's mischievous younger brother, Willie, sometimes aids & abets his sister in her various schemes to outshine, hoodwink, or humiliate the Ingalls girls. Rivals Laura and Nellie frequently duke it out in one form or another. Only the long-suffering Olsen patriarch, Nels, emerges as a decent and sympathetic personage, forced to cope patiently with the arrogant, unscrupulous antics of his other family members.

    Years later Nellie grows into quite a reasonable young woman, who unexpectedly chooses a Jewish husband. The Olsen parents adopt Nancy, another girl with blonde curls and intended as a nasty little carbon copy of the younger Nellie. However, whereas Nellie was primarily a spoiled brat, Nancy seems downright hatefully dangerous.

    The stories of the strong, loving Ingalls family and their neighbours are amusing or heart wrenching, sometimes a little of both. I'm always touched by the earlier episodes' heart to heart talks shared by sisters Mary & Laura in their little loft bedroom at the Ingalls farmhouse. I also enjoy the portrait of the small, friendly community of Walnut Grove and the assorted goings on at the one room schoolhouse, as viewed from both the perspective of the pupils and later the young novice teacher, Laura. The program at times tackles some difficult issues, such as gossip, racism, child abuse, adultery, murder, and drug addiction. A sense of faith in God and messages of kindness and integrity shine through even in the darker tales.

    Family and village life are often viewed through the eyes of the middle daughter, Laura, the heroine of the piece. We are given a vivid portrait of her growing up years, as she blossoms from a dreamy, feisty schoolgirl to a lovely young woman, who finds her own fulfillment as a schoolteacher, wife, and mother. The series beautifully captures Laura's romance with the handsome, teasing young Almanzo (her 'Manley'), who always calls her Beth, her middle name. Her older sister, Mary's struggles in adjusting to her blindness are also moving, but the series is really Laura's story.

    The acting is universally stellar, especially the wonderful late Michael Landon, who portrays the hard working, good natured father, Charles Ingalls. Other notables include Karren Grassle as the gentle, compassionate wife & mother, Caroline, Katherine MacGregor as the condescending & domineering Harriet Olsen, Victor French as rough around the edges Mr. Edwards, Dean Butler as Almanzo Wilder, and Lucy Lee Flippin as his spinster sister, Eliza Jane Wilder. The young actresses portraying the girls are brilliant for their years... Melissa Sue Anderson as the gentle Mary and Alison Arngrim as that nasty bit of goods, Nellie Olsen. Above all, the incredible child pro, Melissa Gilbert, sparkles as the empathetic young heroine, Laura.

    This series provides surely one of the most brilliant ever TV portrayals of a touching father-daughter relationship, between Half Pint (Laura) and her Pa (Charles). Laura questions her Pa at times but always with love and respect. As for Charles, he's usually wise and patient, always has a twinkle in his eye and a good understanding of his young daughter. It's very moving to learn of the warm real life relationship enjoyed by the two stars, Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, and to read trivia tidbits as to how the mature actor could elicit tears from the child actress when called for by the script.

    In terms of family viewing, the only other series in its category is the Waltons. The Little House characters are so familiar that they almost seem like family members. Far better this warm, wholesome, and uplifting show than The Simpsons, with its glorification of rude manners (and even worse programs these days). Little House makes excellent family viewing, a series infinitely re watchable in re runs. If only we had more TV programming of its quality and values nowadays!
  • comment
    • Author: great ant
    I am a HUGE fan of Little House on the Prairie, and enjoyed the episodes as a child, and still as an adult. The acting talents on the show is incredible, and extremely rare today!! Michael Landon's talents and portrayal of the wonderful, humane father that he was, was outstanding. Not to mention his directing, writing and being executive producer, as well. Of course, his little 'half-pint,' was nothing less than an adorable little girl, who we saw grow up, who had so much love in her heart, that when she cried, you could feel her pain. Melissa Gilbert too was an incredible actress, as the entire cast was!!!! I've read reviews on the show on various websites, and there were a lot, mostly good!! However, one person said there was too much drama, but I replied, "They were just emphasizing how hard the times were," and did a GREAT job of that!!! Ma and pa were excellent role models, while helping their girls (and Albert), to figure things out for themselves, while teaching their children to respect themselves, and to do the right thing, and not to mention their Christian faith. The show was very believable, since the acting was incredible. Also, the Olson's input brought a lot of comedy to the show, as well as even pa (Michael Landon). Sometimes he was funny if he was upset or disappointed about something. If you have a chance, watch the episode from season 3, "Fred," it's hilarious!! I think what Michael Landon, God rest his soul, brought to the show, and the audience was a huge gift!!! Little House is a feel good show!!
  • comment
    • Author: Reddefender
    When I was five years old my grandmother bought me the Little House book set, and for nearly a year my dad read me a chapter or two a night, until all the books had been read. I still love these books and every fall I re-discover them.

    Although I loved the show I can't remember too many similarites between the books and the TV, other than some of the characters. In the books there were no Garveys, no Albert, no James and Cassandra BUT I understand that these characters were added to the show for an interesting cast. I liked the fact that they made Mrs. Oleson like her horrible daughter Nellie, but if you had read the books you would remember that Mrs. Oleson wasn't too bad, although I think she should've knocked some sense into Nellie. :-) Other characters that are left out of the show are Mary Power and Cap Garland (who was one of my favourites from the books). It would've been cool to see Nellie try to worm her way into Almanzo's heart like she did in the books. I don't remember a plot line like that. I do remember some woman that liked Almanzo in the TV show, and Laura humiliated her somehow, I think she didn't sew a dress properly and if fell of the woman? I can't remember clearly. I read in a biography that Willie went blind from a firecracker - that would've made a good story! I still loved the show though. My favourite episodes are when Laura steals the jewel box from Nellie, and she had the nightmares about jail, and when Nellie pretends to be crippled and Laura pushes her down a hill in her wheelchair. I remember the one where Carrie fell in the mine, that one made me cry.
  • comment
    • Author: Erienan
    The great Michael Landon spent his entire life as a part of the television generation. He has a career that span five consecutive decades from the late 1950's all the way until the early part of the 1990's. From 1959 when "Bonanza" came on the air,all the way through the mid-1980's with "Highway To Heaven",and the short-lived series "Us",there wasn't a single year that he did not have a series on the air. That is a record that will stand the test of time. Landon specialized in creating high quality family programming that made him one of the hardest working individuals in television. What made him so unique and successful in all the shows he produced and starred in,that the general public didn't realize that Michael Landon was very technical in what he did since he wrote,produced,and directed many of the episodes for "Bonanza","Little House On The Prairie",and "Highway To Heaven",not to mention his short lived series "Us". Its was here during his most successful show,"Little House On The Prairie",that he was not only the executive producer,but in charge of his own production company and the necessary means in which he had his own studio as well, Michael Landon Productions through the powers that be with TV executives over at NBC. "Little House On The Prairie",show audiences that Landon was way beyond his image as "Little" Joe Cartwright,for which he played for the 14 seasons that "Bonanza" ran on the air,and gave them new light into the character of Charles Ingalls,a strict but loving father who made a way out of no way to provide for his family during the times and struggles that went on the town of Walnut Grove. In about every episode it shows us how a strong loving family who stayed together and basically solved their problems with the love and understanding of one another through the hardships and trials that came their way,but made it through with hope and faith.

    "Little House On The Prairie",had enough staying power for the nine and a half years that it ran on NBC-TV(1974-1983)and from there became one of the best family oriented shows of the 1970's,and it stayed that way throughout the remainder of the early-1980's. The series produced 203 episodes,and also developed a spin-off as well,"Father Murphy",which ran for three seasons. Not to mention three successful made for TV movies based on this series as well,from the premiere episode in 1974,to the fiery climax of the series in mid-1983. However,about the episodes,as one comment mentioned them as sweet and sappy as it was remembered,but in other terms it was a series that tackled some very disturbing issues that were relevant in its day while at the same time staying within the frame of the moralistic/family oriented genre. Some of it tackled even darker subjects,and this was a first in the family oriented dramas of the 1970's. But at the same time,it has some very touching moments. Also it had some classic episodes to boot too....Who remembers the episode were Laura Ingalls and Nelly Oleson duked it out against each other? But for most part,and as far as the characters were concerned,we got to see Melissa Gilbert's character of Laura transform during the series run from the development of a little girl to a beautiful woman,and it was during this series that she got married too. The chemistry between Michael Landon as Pa and Melissa Gilbert as Half Pint was perfect in every aspect and it shows in the Golden Globes this show rack up,not to mention the Emmy nominations it received as well. As for the mom,Karen Grassle,there was no cooler mom that she was. The mom every daughter wanted to have. Compassionate,caring and down to earth. Oh yeah,let's not forget Laura's oldest sister,Mary(Melissa Sue Anderson),and the baby girl Carrie(played by twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush)who also grows up before our eyes during the show's entire run. And the family's faithful and reliable dog,"Bandit",who comes to the rescue just in case the children get into any danger. And as far as the townsfolk are concerned,out of all the characters in Walnut Grove, there was NOBODY so devious and deliciously evil as Nelly Oleson and actress Allison Arngrim,played it to the tee as well as her mom Harriet Oleson,played by Katherine McGregor...In other words..Nelly was the girl everyone loves to hate!!!

    This was a show that was way better and way focus than the other family shows that came out during the 1970's,and "Little House On The Prairie" was that show! Not even its competition,"The Waltons"(which was on a rival network)does not even come close!!! Out of all the shows this one tackled subjects that were too intense for a family show and it shows in some of the episodes. Landon basically went by the books that were the basis for the series that were written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and from there it worked. If you want a wholesome show that the family can love then leave it to Michael Landon and Company to bring you the best. There are some lessons and messages in some of the episodes. This is why it became NBC's most successful show,until it was cancelled in 1983.
  • comment
    • Author: Rrinel
    What can I say? I', an older 42 year old guy who basically can't stand all the new reality TV these days. It makes one really appreciate what a "real quality show is". Little House on the Prairie is an absolute classic TV series drama that was acted and directed completely by professionals. Moving episodes that made you laugh, cry, touched your heart and mind and kind of made one want to be a better person after watching. There aren't any TV shows that can do that these days(few exceptions). The characters, TV sets, music, and stories were all first rate. The morals of the stories were very clear and acted to perfection. (Talk about our old default TV shows!!). What I mean by default is that you the viewer were pretty much guaranteed to be entertained without fail with this TV show. One could hardly say that today with all the "crap" out there nowadays. You can clearly see this show was from a "different era" where honesty and integrity were at the core of the Mr. Landon's Values. Find this on DVD, keep it. An absolute "must" for any collector of the best of classic television shows. 10 out of 10
  • comment
    • Author: Ballazan
    For a person who does not enjoy the soppy cries and heart warming tears of a soap opera or a drama, this thick, juicy, slab of saga is something a little over the edge for you.

    But for those of us who do... its a winner. History glamorized, easier to look at, and made with morals and messages (too deep for some of us)just seems a bit more appealing. It's made for TV, so it is TV. Nice stories, good advice, and a good way to get your daily dose of endorphins. Little House on the Prairie is a crowd pleaser that any good natured soul could enjoy. I feel empowered just thinking about Michael Landon crying in nearly every episode, and I love it.
  • comment
    • Author: Nikohn
    "Little House on the Prairie", which originally aired on NBC from 1974 through 1983, depicts an American family's struggle to survive in pioneer America in the late 19th century. The television series was based on the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    The series was largely written by, directed, and starred Michael Landon, who was a television veteran of the program 'Bonanza'.

    In "Little House", Landon portrays Charles Ingalls. Along with his wife Caroline (Karen Grassle) and children Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), Laura (Melissa Gilbert), and Carrie (Lindsay-Sidney Greenbush), the Ingalls family endures tremendous hardships in their daily lives, including life among American Indians, crop failures, disease, hunger, wild animals, rough weather, and their neighbors in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The series is depicted from the perspective of Laura Ingalls.

    My favorite character in the series is Harriet Oleson, portrayed by Katherine MacGregor. To prevent the story lines from becoming stale, it is crucial for every successful series to have a good villain. Along with her TV daughter Nellie, Harriet Oleson is without a doubt one of the most appealing villains in TV history. Week after week during the 1970s, Harriet Oleson (and her daughter Nellie) did everything possible to make the lives of the Ingalls family difficult.

    At the end of each episode, however, it was the Ingalls family who inevitably endured and survived life's challenges due to their belief in God, community spirit, work ethic, and mutual love and devotion to one another.

    My siblings and I watched "Little House on the Prairie" each and every Monday night while growing up in the 1970s. During my childhood, I recall that it was not considered "cool" to admit that you watched this program, although it was consistently a top-rated program during it's original run on NBC.

    "Little House on the Prairie" is an American television classic that has endured the test of time. Belief in God, helping your fellow neighbor, a solid work ethic, and family values are all promoted by this outstanding program.
  • comment
    • Author: skyjettttt
    The TV series and the actors were EXCELLENT. The stories portrayed all had value in them. I have always been able to find some golden nugget that I could take and apply to my own life or situations. I enjoyed following the Ingals through their trials, disappointments, joys, work ethic and on and on. I enjoyed these shows growing up and my kids enjoy them now. Why don't they have shows like that anymore? I wish that I could thank all those that worked on this TV series! Thank you Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Anderson, Lindsey & Sidney Greenbush, Richard Bull, Scottie MacGregor, Victor French, and the many others (writers, camera people, producers, editors). Thank you for bringing such a great series into existence!
  • comment
    • Author: Coirad
    Huzzah! The first set of DVDs of this most tantalizing program are on their way.

    It goes without saying that Michael Landon was a major figure head in the television industry, starting with Bonanza, following with Little House on the Prairie, and culminating in Highway to Heaven. His legacy will live on forever.

    The DVDs are released just short of the pearl (30th) anniversary of this great series.

    Once again, Huzzah!
  • comment
    • Author: Danrad
    When they first started rehashing these series on a Swedish channel back in the 80ies, I absolutely hated it! But, by now - being older, and "wiser", I´ve grown to appreciate these stories - even more - I quite love them by now! -

    Strange, isn´t it, how your taste differs through the years?

    Thank you Monica-5, for a full explanation on why and how The Little House is so good!..

    I´ve grown to admire Michael Landon for being so diversified - acting, writing, directing - isn´t that great? And our dear Melissa Gilbert as "Laura" - she´s so perty in a nonAmerican

    way... maybe that is why I love her so much! She was/is just such a good actor - like the rest of the crew!..

    I just love to tease around & complain about old series - but "The Little House" has a strange way of getting me quiet and with my eyes flooded - It´s so heart-warmingly good!! I wish people were like that today...
  • comment
    • Author: wanderpool
    "Little House on the Prairie" is my favorite television series. Set in 1870's Walnut Grove, Minnesota, it follows the lives and adventures of the Ingalls family. "Little House" teaches lessons about life, laughter, and love, and has an incredible cast. It is loosely based on the very popular "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • comment
    • Author: lubov
    I absolutely love watching the "Little House on the Prairie". Every short story has some moral behind it. If you like nostalgic shows with very powerful meaning being sent across to you, you will like this one! I haven't read the books which this is based on, but I simply cannot imagine how good the books must be. Every character plays an awesome role in the 1974 show, Micheal Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson. All of them are truly amazing on screen, including the seemingly rude characters played by Scottie MacGregor(Harriet Oleson), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson)and Allison Balson (Nancy Oleson ). This show is good for all ages from 5 and up, but I think it's best watched as an adult simply because you feel so nostalgic and connected with all of the characters. I highly recommend this show to anyone! I give it a 9/10, one point less only because I need to give the book all honors for coming up with the stories a 10/10.
  • comment
    • Author: RuTGamer
    I did like this show in the beginning because it did follow LIW's series somewhat but when Michael Landon let his ego get in the way, the show introduced story lines and characters that never existed (i.e., Albert Ingalls, clowns that rape virginal girls, and the mountain man played by Ernest Borgnine who tried to help Laura recover from her little brother's death). I have no idea why the Ingalls family on TV adopted all these kids when in real life they had 4 daughters and 1 son who died in infancy. Times were hard back then and the real Ingalls family couldn't afford extra children! There was no Albert Ingalls who struggled with morphine addiction and became a doctor. Although, this fake character did die on the mountain with his adopted sister Laura and her students right next to him. I do think the show should have stuck with the original material and not have all these story lines that never happened!
  • Complete series cast summary:
    Melissa Gilbert Melissa Gilbert - Laura Ingalls / - 205 episodes, 1974-1983
    Michael Landon Michael Landon - Charles Ingalls / - 187 episodes, 1974-1983
    Karen Grassle Karen Grassle - Caroline Ingalls 183 episodes, 1974-1982
    Rachel Lindsay Greenbush Rachel Lindsay Greenbush - Carrie Ingalls / - 183 episodes, 1974-1982
    Sidney Greenbush Sidney Greenbush - Carrie Ingalls / - 183 episodes, 1974-1982
    Melissa Sue Anderson Melissa Sue Anderson - Mary Ingalls / - 163 episodes, 1974-1981
    Katherine MacGregor Katherine MacGregor - Harriet Oleson 153 episodes, 1974-1983
    Richard Bull Richard Bull - Nels Oleson 146 episodes, 1974-1983
    Jonathan Gilbert Jonathan Gilbert - Willie Oleson 140 episodes, 1974-1983
    Kevin Hagen Kevin Hagen - Dr. Hiram Baker 113 episodes, 1974-1983
    Alison Arngrim Alison Arngrim - Nellie Oleson / - 104 episodes, 1974-1982
    Matthew Labyorteaux Matthew Labyorteaux - Albert Quinn Ingalls / - 89 episodes, 1976-1983
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