‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actress Explained How Show Pulled Off Iconic Nellie Oleson Scene in ‘Bunny’

by Clayton Edwards

Little House on the Prairie is full of memorable moments. The citizens of Walnut Grove found themselves in all manner of insane situations over the years. During the nine seasons of the classic show, they dealt with plagues, serial killers, and countless other issues. However, one of the most iconic scenes from the show doesn’t have anything to do with an overly dramatic plot. In fact, it all centered around Nellie, the resident mean girl, getting her comeuppance.

That moment came in season 3 of Little House on the Prairie in an episode titled “Bunny.” In that episode, Nellie mistreats Laura’s horse, Bunny, and is bucked off. Then, she pretends to be paralyzed to get sympathy from everyone around her. Laura feels so guilty about it that she vows to help Nellie get around and take care of her day-to-day activities. However, she soon finds out that her rival is faking her injuries. This discovery leads to the iconic wheelchair scene. Nellie gets what she has coming to her after Laura shoves her down a hill and into a pond. Check out the scene below. Then, we’ll see how they pulled it off.

Alison Arngrim on Her Favorite Little House on the Prairie Scene

During an interview, Alison Arngrim talked about her iconic downhill wheelchair ride. Not only is it her favorite scene from Little House on the Prairie but it’s also a fan favorite. Arngrim said that fans all over the world love the iconic wheelchair scene. However, it wasn’t an easy sequence to capture.

First, the Little House on the Prairie crew attached a heavy steel cable to Nellie’s wheelchair. This allowed them to roll her down the steep hill and stop her before she reached the bottom. Then, they took Alison Arngrim to a longer hill that wasn’t quite as steep. They attached a camera to the front of the chair and sent her down that hill. This is where all of the reaction shots from the scene come from.

The fear on Nellie’s face is real. The Little House on the Prairie star said that there was no safety gear involved on that second trip. She wasn’t even strapped into the chair. Arngrim explained, “There are no brakes on the wheelchair. There is no seat belt. I’m in my nightgown, underwear, and bedroom slippers. There’s no safety equipment of any kind.  No padding. ” Furthermore, she had a real broken arm.

The end of the scene, where the wheelchair hits the bottom of the hill and sends Nellie somersaulting into the pond is the best part for several Little House on the Prairie fans. That wasn’t Arngrim, though. During the interview, she joked that she didn’t “do major somersaults.” Luckily, they had a stuntwoman on hand to take the tumble for her.