‘Little House on the Prairie’: Karen Grassle Opens Up About ‘Developing Relationships’ With Onscreen Daughters

by Leanne Stahulak
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The Ingall family on “Little House on the Prairie” seemed so tight-knit on the show partially because of the bonds formed between cast members behind the scenes.

There was no one better suited for any of the roles on the wholesome, heartwarming show. Michael Landon portrayed Charles Ingalls as well as Karen Grassle portrayed Caroline. Grassle in fact told the New York Post how she spent extra time with the four on-screen daughters in the Ingalls family so they’d feel comfortable with her playing their mother.

The “Little House on the Prairie” star told the outlet how she “spent a lot of energy developing relationships” with Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls). She also spent time with identical twins Rachel Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls) “so they felt comfortable doing scenes with me as their mother.”

This all happened during filming for the first season of “Little House on the Prairie,” in Sonora, California. Grassle also “forged a special bond” with Laura Ingalls actress Melissa Gilbert. Laura played a prominent role on the show as “Half Pint,” the apple of her father’s eye.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Discusses ‘Family’ Aspect of the Cast

The whole cast of “Little House on the Prairie” would spend nine seasons together, from 1974 to 1983. Melissa Gilbert told Closer Weekly back in May what it was like on set.

“We were very lucky,” Gilbert said. “We were like a second family.”

She and co-star Alison Arngrim, who played rivals on the show, got along like sisters on set. “I used to say they tried to take our childhoods, but Melissa and I kept stealing them back,” Angrin told Closer Weekly. “We were always doing crazy things, pranking people and carrying on. We liked to go out in public, get recognized, and freak people out.”

Apparently, even “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon would get in on these pranks.

“We used to catch frogs in the creek,” Rachel Lindsay Greenbush, one of the Carrie actresses, said. “We would bring them back to Michael. He would put them in his mouth, walk up to people, open his mouth and the frog would jump out! People would freak out!”

However, just like a family, there was tension between different groups on set. Grassle and Landon did not get along, especially towards the end of the series.

“When we were in the top 10, I said, ‘Gee, it is time to renegotiate my contract,’ [but] Michael did not want to pay me,” Grassle said. “It was very difficult.”

Despite some of Landon’s problematic behavior on set, Grassle told Closer Weekly that she and Landon did makeup eventually. “We had a friendly phone call about the good old days,” Grassle said. “I was glad we had that healing.”

Outsider.com