‘Little House on the Prairie’: One Actor Took a Trip to India, Missed Appearing in Series Finale

by Madison Miller

“Little House on the Prairie” had a pretty consistent cast list from 1974 to 1982.

Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, appeared in 190 out of 204 episodes. Meanwhile, Michael Landon, who played Charles Ingalls, appeared in all but four of the show’s episodes. While these two actors were glued to their roles, others actors came and went over the years.

Mrs. Oleson Is Missing From The Show’s Finale

When it came time for the season finale, many of the familiar faces on “Little House on the Prairie” were not even present. Melissa Sue Anderson, Alison Arngrim, and Merlin Olsen were all series regulars but did not make an appearance to help wrap up the show. Although “Little House: A New Beginning” had been broadcast as the final season afterward.

According to IMDb, Katherine “Scottie” MacGregor, who played the infamous villain, Mrs. Oleson, had also been one of the actors to not have a role in the series finale. She was allegedly battling alcoholism throughout the course of the series. She eventually converted to Hinduism as a way to overcome and cope. MacGregor had grown exceptionally close to her faith during her life.

A part of her faith required a pilgrimage to India. It happened to be at the same time the finale was scheduled to film. She chose to pursue her faith rather than star in the finale. Michael Landon and Karen Grassle would instead be the leading figures of the finale of “Little House on the Prairie.”

In her autobiography called “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” Alison Arngrim mentioned what it was like to work alongside MacGregor. She wrote that while she was a very kind and considerate woman, she could also be quite disruptive. She would try to give other people on the set directions, which would often cause frustration. MacGregor would also argue with the directors. Eventually, Michael Landon had considered firing her, but her villain was a fan favorite.

What Did Katherine MacGregor Do After ‘Little House on the Prairie’?

After her time on both “Little House on the Prairie” and “Little House: New Beginnings,” Katherine MacGregor took a new approach to her life. According to Biography.com, she decided to retire from acting and open a children’s theater company. It was called the Wee Hollywood Vedanta Players. The name was actually inspired by her Hindu faith as well.

Unfortunately, MacGregor passed away in 2018 at the age of 93. MacGregor had gone from a small town in Colorado to eventually being cast in roles in different productions. She moved to New York in 1947 and toured with “The Seven Year Itch” and then was cast in “Handful of Fire” on Broadway in 1958. However, her most memorable role will always be as the complicated, villainous Mrs. Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie.”