‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Explained How She Truly Felt Like Her Character

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images)

Almost four decades after the original television run of “Little House on the Prairie” came to an end, television fans still identify many of the show’s actors for their roles in the series.

One of the most famous of these actors is Melissa Gilbert. She played the youngster Laura Ingalls alongside its star Michael Landon on the hit frontier show. Landon played Laura’s father, Charles Ingalls.

According to what Gilbert had to say during an interview, playing Laura Ingalls was a whole lot of fun. And, maybe more importantly, playing the character allowed Gilbert to be herself in many ways. The two were one and the same.

“I was living in the 1800s every day and that was just so much fun,” Gilbert said of working on “Little House on the Prairie. “We had real fires and fire pits and [Native Americans.] And everything was just such a remarkable adventure for me.”

Not only was the setting where “Little House on the Prairie” was filmed a fun place to work, Melissa Gilbert also said she enjoyed wearing the costumes of her character.

“I was at camp every day,” Gilbert also explained. “I would go in, I got to put on these really incredible clothes and lace up – not even lace up my boots. – I had high-button boots and I had an actual authentic button hook. And they taught me how to button the boots. The absolutely authentic clothing – for a 9-year-old girl and I had read the books – there was nothing cooler.”

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Said She Was Her Character and Her Character Was Her

The setting and costumes really allowed the young Melissa Gilbert to identify with her character on “Little House on the Prairie.” Actually, she felt such a close connection to her character that it made her job a lot easier.

“I did not have to imagine what it might be like to be this person in this world at this time going through whatever this person was going through, which I have to do now,” Gilbert also said.

In fact, the actress said during the interview that she truly felt that she was Laura Ingalls. Turns out, actress and character shared much in common.

“Absolutely, without question, I was Laura. Laura was me,” she said. “My nickname was ‘Half Pint’ on the set (and) on the show. I was plucky and determined. I was a tomboy. The freckles, the teeth, the ears – there was something so, just all-American kid about it. Scrapes, bruises, whatever it was, it was right there. Mud on the face, dirt under the nails – it didn’t matter. I was just me.”

You can watch Melissa Gilbert talk about “Little House on the Prairie” below. Her comments about identifying with her character begin around the 2-minute mark of the video.