‘Little House on the Prairie’: Karen Grassle Explained the Ways Michael Landon ‘Gives so Much’ in 1975 Interview

by Anna Dunn

Karen Grassle, who played Caroline “Ma” Ingalls on the hit show Little House on the Prairie, once explained the ways show creator and star Michael Landon “gives so much.” She spoke fondly of her time on the show in a 1975 interview with Bobbie Wygant.

When Grassle got to set, she was a relative newbie to the TV world. In fact, this was really her first big role. On her first day, she filmed with the well-established Michael Landon but said she wasn’t intimidated.

“I felt wonderful. He gives so much that I just felt I could do my work and I could hook in,” she said.

“The first day that something that really happened for us, It was raining and very muddy. We had a lot of difficulties getting to where we needed to be. We were shooting to umbrellas and carrying on,” Grassle recounted.

Not all days on set were easy, but Landon valued hard work. Even with the bad day, the moment they started acting together, Grassle realized she was a part of something special.

“I had just reassured Michael of something the wife says about how she is with her family and not longing for her folks at home. And he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘Caroline Ingalls, I love you.’ That’s when I know we would play together. We weren’t just going to do lines together.”

Cast of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Loved Michael Landon

It seems that no matter who it is that worked with him, everyone has wonderful things to say about their time working with Michael Landon. Bonnie Bartlett, who played Grace Snyder Edwards, once said he was fantastic to work with (even if she said he didn’t pay well).

“Michael Landon was a wonderful boss, and the whole cast was terrific,” she also said. “He laughed at me. Always thought I was very funny. [He was] very attentive.”

Allison Ingram, who played Nellie Oleson, said in an interview with Today that he, “Loved to laugh and loved to play practical jokes and fool around with the kids. And laugh all the time. So we worked harder on [Little House On The Prairie] than probably any other show, but also laughed harder than on any other show.”

The cast definitely worked hard on top of all the laughs. Ingram also said that Landon always got stuff done.  

“He was definitely the taskmaster,” she said. “We were going to get it done. Shows were all ahead of schedule and under budget.”

If you look at almost any interview with anyone in the cast, Landon’s humor is brought up. That sense of humor made him great at working with the kids. Landon’s entire attitude helped foster the chemistry with the cast that made the show as good as it was.