9 behind-the-scenes details about 'Little House on the Prairie'

"Little House on the Prairie" was the staple diet while growing up. This wholesome family show realistically depicting pioneer life was appropriate for all ages and never lacked a storyline to shed a tear over or have a good belly laugh.

The Ingalls family could have been anyone's family, except they lived in the 1870's and were small-town farmers. But they discussed all the major topics we still talk about at the dinner table today, including poverty, prejudice, and prayer.

Three decades after the last episode aired, a lot of interesting facts surfaced through memoirs and interviews. Here are some things you probably didn't know when you were watching the show back in the day:


Laura Ingalls and Willie Oleson were played by real-life brother and sister Melissa and Jonathan Gilbert. The pair were not biologically related to each other having been adopted by actors Barbara Cowen and Paul Gilbert. Their sister Sara Gilbert is also an actor.


Laura and Mary were played by Melissa Gilbert and Mellissa Anderson and the pair never really got along and reportedly still don't.


Walnut Grove is a real town in Minnesota. They have a museum dedicated to "Little House on the Prairie" show and books. Visitors are welcome. 

Real dynamite was used to 'blow up' Walnut Grove in the explosion in the final episode of the series after the residents were forced out.


Mean girl Nellie’s blonde locks were not Alison Arngrim's real hair but actually a wig fixed firmly to her head. And although many have speculated that Pa's hair was also a wig, him being prematurely gray, the consensus is that he dyed his own hair brown until the makeup and hair crew started doing it for him.


Puberty hit Melissa Gilbert faster than the storyline would allow and she was forced to bind her chest to hide her curves and continue wearing fake little girl braids to hide her true age. 

Melissa Gilbert received her first kiss, ever, from her co-star Dean Butler at the age of 15.


Sean Penn's father was a director on the show and he made his acting debut on "Little House on the Prairie" at the age of 13. He also got to play alongside his own mother, which made the task less daunting.


Family dinner at the Ingalls' home usually comprised of a wholesome bucket of KFC and Dinty Moore stew on the menu.


Most people will attest to seeing Shannon Doherty on their screens for the first time in "Beverley Hills, 90210" but she actually first appeared in "Little House on the Prairie" as little Jenny Wilder.


There were many educational aspects to the show that parents could use to engage in conversation with their children and countless lessons to be learned from it. But the original book series, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was banned in a few schools for containing underlying racist content.

Did you know all of these facts? Who was your favorite character?

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