‘Little House on the Prairie’: Karen Grassle Explained the ‘Love and Care’ Cast Put into Program

by Anna Dunn

Karen Grassle was brand new to Hollywood when she landed an infamous role. Grassle played “Ma” Ingalls on Little House on The Prairie. You wouldn’t guess she was new by the assured way she presented herself during a 1975 interview with Bobbie Wygant.

During the interview, Grassle gushed about Michael Landon and the rest of the cast. She talked about how much love the cast put into Little House on the Prairie.

After realizing how well the pilot did, Grassle explained that “there was so much love and care – every day from everybody, and I think it shows. I think that kind of positive energy comes out to the public.”

Even though she was brand new to the industry, Michael Landon knew he wanted her on Little House on the Prairie almost immediately.

“After I read my second scene with Mike, he leaped up like a jack-in-the-box and said, ‘Bring her to wardrobe!’” Grassle explained in a recent interview with Fox.

Grassle Filled in for Producer Michael Landon When He Was Ill

Karen Grassle was a newbie, but even so, Landon entrusted her with an important job when he got sick while filming season 1. She had to fill the director/producer/general powerhouse’s massive shoes.

“He had to be packed in ice for the fever, and we were all very worried. At this time, I was able to step in and do extra scenes and to help with the resolution of the story, for which he was grateful when he returned. We were all amazed at his physical endurance,” Grassle said in a 2001 interview.

Karen Grassle Became Close with One Particular ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Cast Member

While Karen Grassle spoke fondly of every cast member from the start, she went on to speak of one who she really connected with: Karl Swenson, who played Lars Henson, was a friend of hers.

“I was closest to Karl Swenson,” she told Entertainment Weekly, “He was an exceptionally smart man, and I always loved it when he came on set. There was a lot of old-boys’-club stuff going on. Every Monday, it was like, “How about those Rams?” That wasn’t my scene.

Grassle also had a fondness for Alison Arngrim. Arngrim played the infamously terrible Little House on the Prairie antagonist Nellie Oleson. Karen Grassle had nothing but positive things to say in a 2001 interview where she talked about just how interesting Arngrim Was.

“Alison began to shine as she hit her teen years,” She said. “She wore wonderfully campy 50s outfits and, when she could drive, got a funny 50s car.”

Grassle knew that the love and care on behalf of the cast and crew is what made the show special. Turns out, she was right. Little House on The Prairie is one of the most infamous shows of all time.