‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Actually Put Mud in Alison Arngrim’s Mouth in Legendary Moment

by Joe Rutland

Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert were foes on “Little House on the Prairie” but Arngrim remembers a time Gilbert stirred up the mud.

Well, they were foes in the roles both of them played on the NBC family drama. Arngrim portrayed Nellie Oleson, a Grade A troublemaker. Gilbert, obviously to classic TV fans, played Laura Ingalls. Both characters often clashed, usually over something the dastardly Nellie had done or said.

One moment which stands out to “Little House on the Prairie” fans is when Nellie and Laura fight in mud. Arngrim recalls the scene and what she, unfortunately, received from Gilbert.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actress Calls Gilbert ‘Wiry Little Thing’

“You can see, there’s a scene where Melissa gets me in this headlock,” Arngrim told Tom Gregory in an interview in 2013. “Never get into a fistfight with Melissa Gilbert. She’s a wiry little thing. She’ll beat you senseless. She gets me in this headlock and you can see her hand come around with a ball of mud and I’m screaming.”

From the sixth-season episode titled “Back to School,” the two get into a fight over Almanzo, played by Dean Butler. Let’s take a couple of minutes to check out the clash between Nellie and Laura.

It takes Almanzo getting off his horse-drawn carriage to break up the clash in the creek. But the damage was done as both Laura and Nellie got down to business.

The tension between both characters stayed high throughout the series. “Little House on the Prairie” made good use of both actresses’ abilities on the show. Gilbert remained on the series through its entire nine-season run. Arngrim stayed on there for seven seasons, then made a guest appearance in the show’s final season.

Karen Grassle Took Time Out From Acting After Show Ended Its Run

Laura’s mom, Caroline Ingalls, was played by actress Karen Grassle. A lot of actors and actresses start looking for work right after their job ends. Grassle wasn’t one of those, though.

Why wouldn’t someone like Grassle not want to work again right away?

“After the series, the truth is I really wanted to have my own family,” Grassle said in a 2004 interview for Dave’s Gone By. She said that she was asked to do movies of the week and television series. “I said, ‘Thank you but no thank you.'”

The “Little House on the Prairie” actress wanted to have a family of her own. In other words, she wanted to mirror Caroline Ingalls’ experience.

“My energy went into having a family at that point,” she said. “So I think at that time, I think I had the second-highest TVQ (television identity) in the country in terms of women.”