Following it’s debut on NBC in 1974, Little House on the Prairie rose to the top of the ratings charts and since then, has been revered as one of the most honorable classic television series of all time. Life on the Kansas plains in the 1880’s was full of hardships and disappointments, but the story of how the Ingalls Family survived and prospered despite the setbacks is deeply inspiring.
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.
For nine strong years, American audiences had a front-row seat to life in a 19th-century pioneer town.