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Little House on the Prairie

About Little House on the Prairie

Based on the autobiographical books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie chronicles the life and times of the Ingalls family and the other residents in and around the fictional town of Walnut Grove. Recounted by the Ingalls' middle daughter Laura, the show is a vivid exploration of life on the American frontier. The series begins with head of the household, Charles, relocating his family from Wisconsin to the banks of Plum Creek in Minnesota. Once the family builds and settles in their new cabin, Charles along with wife Caroline and their three young daughters -- Mary, Laura and Carrie -- begin to move into a life that is expected to bring better opportunities and advantages.

It's not long before the Ingalls learn that life on the frontier is not as easy as it seems. With little money to keep their farm flourishing, Charles must often take multiple jobs in exchange for his needed farming supplies. His wife helps keep the family together with her nurturing and compassionate strength. Cooking, cleaning, raising the children and pitching in with the farming are what she does best.While Ma and Pa are working to keep the family together, oldest daughter Mary focuses on her books and exceling in school. As one of the prettiest girls in Walnut Grove, Mary is highly coveted by the local boys. With perfect scores in school and a host of boys eager to walk her home, Mary is used to a life without many obstacles. But when a critical illness leads to the unexpected loss of her eyesight, Mary is forced to face new obstacles.

Middle daughter Laura is a natural-born explorer. Enthusiastic to venture into the wide open frontier, she helps bring new insight into her family's life in Walnut Grove and the people who live there. Laura's strong spirit and often feisty demeanor is a perfect balance to Mary's gentle manner. Laura is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs and she will confront anyone who dares to challenge her, including the Olesons and their horrible daughter, Nellie.

The real Laura Ingalls Wilder was born Feb. 7, 1867 in Pepin, Wis. In 1868, her parents Charles and Caroline moved Laura and her sister Mary to the prairies of Kansas. Life on the prairie was at times quite joyful and others, filled with hardship and disappointment. When Laura reached middle age, she began to journal her life and adventures during her upbringing on the Kansas plains in the 1800s. Upon securing a publisher, she wrote a successful series of children's books chronicling her youth on the frontier.

In the early 1970s, TV producer and executive Ed Friendly came across the autobiographical Little House on the Prairie books. He was easily charmed by the tales of life on the American frontier and approached Michael Landon to direct a pilot. Once Landon suggested himself for the role of Charles, NBC knew they had the makings of a hit series. With a loose adaptation of the original books, Little House on the Prairie debuted with exceptional ratings. For nine strong years, American audiences had a front-row seat to life in a 19th-century pioneer town. The trailblazing series gave birth to some of the most memorable characters in TV history: TV Guide rated Charles Ingalls as the Fourth Greatest TV Dad of all time and Nellie Oleson was crowned No. 3 of TV's Top 10 Biggest Brats.

On March 21, 1983, Little House on the Prairie took its final bow. Though audiences no longer wanted to see the Ingalls on a weekly basis, they still craved more. To satisfy their appetite, four TV movies based on the original series were produced. Today, it is finding fame again with a younger set of fans. Even with the modern comforts of the 21st century, people around the world can still relate to the love, strong morals and rich family values that the Ingalls represent. And for the enthusiasts who grew-up watching the popular television drama, Little House on the Prairie still continues to fulfill the pioneer seeker in all of us.

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