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Westerns
Little House
on the Prairie

Title Card - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

NBC Network
1974 - 1983
Drama
60 Minutes

The story of the Ingalls, a pioneer family struggling to establish a homestead near the 1870s town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

The family included:

  • Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls, the father
  • Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls, his wife
  • Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, the middle daughter, whom her father called "Half-pint." Laura taught at the local school when she grew up. She fell in love with Almanzo James Wilder (Dean Butler) and had a daughter named Rose. As a child, Laura had a black and white mutt named Jack who was replaced by a Collie named Bandit.
  • Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls, the oldest daughter She lost her sight and was subsequently sent to the Sleepy Eye School for the blind where she fell in love and married her instructor Adam Kendall (Linwood Boomer) and moved to the Dakotas.
  • Lindsay/Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, the youngest. 
  • Matthew Laborteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls, adopted son
  • Wendi Turnbaugh/Brenda Turnbaugh as Grace Ingalls, the Ingalls' fourth daughter.
  • Jason Bateman/Missy Francis as James and Cassandra Cooper, two orphans adopted by the Ingalls.

The Ingalls Family with Bandit the Dog - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
The Ingalls family with Bandit the dog

Listen to Theme Music

The members of the Walnut Grove community included:

  • Richard Bull as Nels Oleson, the town's General store owner, his wife Harriet (Katherine MacGregor) and their two children Nellie (Alison Arngrim) and Willie (Jonathan Gilbert);
  • Kevine Hagen as Doctor Hiram Baker, the town's physician;
  • Dabbs Greer as Reverend Robert Alden, the town's minister;
  • Karl Swenson as Lars Hansen, the town's Mill owner.
  • Victor French as Isaiah Edwards, a local homesteader and close friend of Charles Ingalls.
  • Merlin Olsen as Jonathan Garvey,  a local homesteader and close friend of Charles Ingalls. He had a wife named Alice (Hersha Parady) and a son named Andy (Patrick Laborteaux).
  • Ketty Lester as Hester Sue Terhume, a former employee of the Sleepy Eye School for the blind who moved to Walnut Grove and worked at the Mrs. Oleson's restaurant.
  • Alilson Balson as Nancy Oleson, a young girl whom the Oleson's adopted. She looked like their own daughter Nellie and acted just as bratty. Nellie Olson has since grown, married Percival Dalton (Steve Tracy) and moved to New York to manage his late father's business.
  • Stan Ivar/Pamela Roylance as John and Sarah Carter who moved into the Ingalls farm when Charles sold the place and moved to Burr Oak, Iowa where he found a job.
  • Leslie Landon as Etta Plum, the teacher who replaced Laura Ingalls when she decided to stay home and raise her new baby.

Screen Captures from Series Opening
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Screen Capture - LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

Memorabilia

TRIVIA NOTE: The series was based on the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the fall of 1982, Michael Landon left the series and the show was renamed LITTLE HOUSE: A NEW BEGINNING with Laura and her husband Almanzo being the new focus of the show.

On the final two-hour TV Movie episode of the series entitled "Little House-The Last Farewell" broadcast February 6, 1984, the land of the town of Walnut Grove was purchased legally (but through nefarious means) in a land swindle.

Instead of leaving their homes, the citizens dynamited the town in an act of final desperation/vengeance, leaving only splintered wood and smoking piles of debris for the new owner.

In reality, the TV Walnut Grove was located on leased farm country in Simi Valley California about 40 miles from Hollywood. Because the lease required that the television production crew return the land to its original condition, the show's producer Michael Landon (died of cancer in 7/1/91) decided to destroy the entire town instead of seeing it bulldozed into oblivion. Scenes of the real destruction of this TV town became part of the final TV episode.

In 2005, Disney produced a Little House on the Prairie miniseries starring Cameron Bancroft as Charles Ingalls, Erin Cottrell as Caroline Ingalls, Kyle Chavarria as Laura Ingalls and Danielle Chuchran as Mary Ingalls.

The real Ingalls family members (on whom the series was based) lived in such diverse places as Burr Oaks, Iowa; DeSmet, South Dakota; Mansfield, Missouri; Pepin, Wisconsin and Spring Valley, Minnesota. 

There are tourist attractions dedicated to the lives of the Ingalls in Walnut Grove, Minnesota at 330 8th Street off US 14 (a museum); and Independence, Kansas, the official site of The Little House on the Prairie; and in DeSmet, South Dakota at the US 14 exit at Brookings (a refurbished homestead called The Surveyor's House) It was in DeSmet that the writer Laura Ingalls met her husband Alonzo Wilder.

Obituaries: Michael Landon: 07/01/1991; Victor French: 06/15/1989; Kevin Hagen: 07/09/2005; Dabbs Greer: 04/28/2007; Karl Swenson: 10/08/1978;


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