‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Explained Why These Two Episodes Are So Relevant Today

by Joe Rutland

When it comes to classic TV shows and their relevance to modern-day issues, Little House on the Prairie should be considered. Of course, the NBC family drama starring Michael Landon provided a mixture of tenderness and challenging times. Things were not always easy for the Ingalls in and around Walnut Grove. Yet Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, remembers lessons learned on the show. In fact, she would recall two episodes in particular that are relevant today. She would talk about them during a virtual group interview as part of GalaxyCon in 2021. Among other cast members, Gilbert appeared with Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, and Dean Butler. He played Almanzo Wilder, who would eventually marry Laura.

“The thing to remember, too, that’s important about Little House as well is that it was not lost on the creative forces behind the show the era that we were living through,” Gilbert said. “Post-Vietnam, the civil rights movement having come to the fore. The equal rights movement having come to the forefront. And those storylines and those issues were all interwoven into what we did.”

Melissa Gilbert of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Says She Heard From People All Over The World

She also would reference two episodes, The Wisdom of Solomon and Quarantine. When Gilbert and fellow cast members appeared virtually at GalaxyCon, the country was still in the midst of lockdowns from COVID-19. “Having come through the pandemic, more or less at this point [July 2021]. When we were in the thick of it and all on lockdown, I heard from people all over the world about Little House on the Prairie and the relevance of episodes we did then. Quarantine and Plague and The Wisdom of Solomon and how that affected people in the midst and middle of the Black Lives Matter movement this past year.”

She adds that a lot of that gets lost when people dismiss Little House as just another family show. According to IMDb, Quarantine is about when Mr. Edwards brings back to Walnut Grove something he picks up in Elmsville. It affects his daughter and the entire town must quarantine at this time. Edwards had taken Doc Baker over to Elmsville so he could treat people. The Wisdom of Solomon is about a young boy, played by Todd Bridges, who is willing to sell himself into slavery with the Ingalls family to get an education. Both of these episodes can be seen on cable television or streaming platforms right now. They, like many other episodes of the show, tell stories that live within the hearts of their viewers. Landon had a very important part to play besides lead actor. He was involved in many aspects of the show’s production.