Little House On The Prairie
Little House on the Prairie is a fondly remembered hour-long, family TV show which ran on NBC-TV in the United States from 1974 to 1984. It was based, very loosely, on the well-known Little House series of children's novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder during the 1930s and 1940s. The TV show clocked up an impressive 205 episodes.
The series followed the adventures of a pioneer family living in a log cabin in Minnesota through the decades of the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s in a town called Walnut Grove (bought to life for the screen courtesy of a custom-made set constructed on the Big Sky Ranch in the Simi Valley, California). The featured family – the Ingalls – comprised Pa, Charles; Ma, Caroline; eldest daughter, Mary; middle daughter Laura; and youngest daughter, Carrie. As the show progressed, other characters would be brought into the family circle. The show's remaining key roles included other people living in the town, notably the bickering Olesons, husband-and-wife owners of the local store, and their spoiled children, Nellie and Willie; the local physician-cum-vet, Dr. Baker; and the town's minister, Reverend Alden.
The show was the idea of Michael Landon who, fresh from 14 years of playing Little Joe on Bonanza, was looking for a new TV vehicle in which he could not only star and act as showrunner, but also write and direct many of the episodes. NBC executive Ed Friendly held the rights to produce a TV show based on the Little House books, so a collaboration between Landon and Friendly was the obvious way forward.
During its run, Little House on the Prairie explored many different themes including alcoholism and drug addiction, faith, poverty, blindness and disability, loneliness, rape, terminal illness, suicide and death, child abuse, romance and love, bullying, and prejudice of all types including racism. Although primarily a drama, the program included many lighthearted and comedic moments as well.
The show remains popular in syndicated reruns and has been on the air in the US continuously since its original run. It is also shown regularly in many other countries across the world. It is available, complete, on DVD and Blu-Ray and as downloads. Three of the surviving original cast have written memoirs about their time on the program, and there are also yearly get-togethers and conventions which eager fans attend.
As with its sister The Waltons site, in the guide that follows, airdates have been researched afresh from primary sources as many/most sources on the Internet were found to be unreliable in this respect. Similarly, while mostly accurate regarding guest roles, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) – the main Internet repository for TV cast details – is very unreliable in documenting which regulars and semi-regulars appear in a given episode; again, these details have been redone from scratch.
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NBC Saturday Night At
Little House on the Prairie
(The Pilot Movie)
Episode# 0.01 (1) – 2 hours
Written by Blanche Hanalis
Directed by Michael Landon
Broadcast March 30, 1974, NBC
Starring: Michael Landon1, Karen Grassle2, Melissa Gilbert3, Melissa Sue Anderson4, Lindsay Sidney Green Bush5 [sic]. Executive Producers: Ed Friendly and Michael Landon. Based Upon the "Little House" Series of Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Ted Voigtländer A.S.C. (Director of Photography), Kent McCray (Associate Producer), David Rose (Music), Trevor Williams (Art Director), John Loeffler (Editor), Miles S. Middough (Assistant Director), Dennis Peeples (Set Decoration), Edward P. Ancona Jr. (Color Consultant), Photographed with Panavision Equipment®, Processed by Consolidated Film Industries, An NBC Production In Association with Ed Friendly.
Copyright © MCMLXXIV  by National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Guest Star: Victor French6. Cal Bellini (Brave), Sam Vlahos (1st Indian), Richard Alarian (2nd Indian), Marian Beeler (Grandmother), John Steadman (Grandfather) And Vic Mohica (Soldat Du Chene). Hal Burton (Indian Brave/Soldier)7, Ruth Foster (Aunt Ruby)7, Patrick O'Hagan (unknown)7.
1 Charles Ingalls.
2 Caroline Ingalls.
3 Laura Ingalls.
4 Mary Ingalls
5 Carrie Ingalls (played jointly by twin actresses Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush).
6 Mr. Edwards.
7 Uncredited on episode's titles; these entries have been taken from the Internet Movie Database and have not been verified.
After supplies of game dry up, the Ingalls family – Charles, Caroline and their daughters, Mary, Laura and Carrie – leave their house in the woods of Wisconsin to head south-west to Kansas to look for somewhere new to live. After an arduous journey in a covered wagon, the family settle on a prairie in Indian territory near Independence. A friendly neighbor, Mr. Edwards, helps the Ingalls build a cabin, and to celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. The family also meets Indians, both friendly and unfriendly. Ultimately, a land deal between the local Indians and the government evicts the Ingalls from their home, and they are forced to leave for pastures new once more.