Melissa Gilbert Compares COVID-19 Pandemic to 1975 Episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Lois Oladejo
May 01, 2020
10:00 P.M.
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Melissa Gilbert, who acted on the series "Little House on the Prairie," compares the COVID-19 pandemic to episodes on the show that tackled almost similar issues.


Currently, the world is going through unprecedented times with the spread of the novel coronavirus. Although pandemics had plagued the world in the 17th and 18th centuries, for most, this is a first.

Interestingly, with the human imagination capable of creating scenarios, "Little House on the Praire" had some episodes that are similar to what is going on at the moment.

Melissa Gilbert visits the SiriusXM Studios on November 17, 2017. | Photo: GettyImages


The episodes, which were titled "Plague" and "Quarantine," followed the lives of those in the town, on how they dealt with a new disease that was killing people in the town.

Drawing similarities from the disease period in the fictional Walnut Grove, Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on the show, admits that there are certain similarities. She expressed that:

"...The town mitigated the situation by getting everyone to quarantine at home, putting the sick in one place, and trying to find the source."

Melissa Gilbert discusses "If Only" with the BuiLd Series at Build Studio on August 14, 2017. | Photo: GettyImages


The episode "Plague," which was shot during the first season of the series and aired on 29th January 1975, followed the town's struggle with a new disease called "Typhus."

Symptoms of the fictional disease included fever, which is similar to a sign of COVID-19. Another similarity during the time on the show and now was the widespread fear and confusion that affected those in the town.

The town had to go on lockdown after Mr. Edwards returned from a nearby town as a carrier of mountain fever.

Publicity photo of child actress Melissa Gilbert promoting her role on the television series "Little House on the Prairie." | Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Also, to battle the disease, members of the town had to stay away from each other to avoid spreading the disease. They also created a makeshift hospital where those who had been infected could be treated.

Melissa expressed that she had been thinking a lot about how the show tackled life in isolation as she continues to isolate in her cabin house. She also said:

"I realized how prescient it was. We can all learn something from what happens in that episode."

Melissa Gilbert poses for portrait at the 34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 07, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images. | Photo: Getty Images


In the episode "Quarantine," which was in season 3, the town once again had to go on lockdown after Mr. Edwards returned from a nearby town as a carrier of mountain fever.

In the episode, members of the town had to maintain social distance to avoid contracting the virus, and a scene showed Mr. Olsen talking to Charles Ingalls from his window to maintain social distance.

Interestingly, just like people in the world right now are making donations and adhering to social distancing rule, people of Walnut Grove did precisely the same thing.

In all, like Melissa admits that just like the way people of Walnut Grove were able to overcome the disease, she is optimistic that things would change for the better soon.


We at do our best to give you the most updated news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation is constantly changing. We encourage readers to refer to the online updates from CDС, WHO, or Local Health Departments to stay updated.Take care!