‘Little House on the Prairie’ Extra Sean Penn Passed Out on Set: Here’s Why

by Clayton Edwards

Little House on the Prairie took place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The Ingalls family moved west to help settle some wild terrain. They had to deal with frigid midwestern winters. However, the show was actually shot in California. More specifically, it was shot on what is now Big Sky Ranch in the Simi Valley. The cast and crew of the classic show had to contend with the sweltering California heat.

The layers of period-accurate pioneer clothing worn by the Little House on the Prairie cast didn’t make that an easy feat. They spent long days in the summer sun to create the series. There was very little anyone could do to beat the heat while filming. Their only refuge came between takes.

In a recent Little House on the Prairie cast reunion, hosted by Stars in the House, the cast talked about the sweltering summers. While discussing how brutally hot it could be, some members of the cast talked about what they did to beat the heat between takes. For instance, Karen Grassle said that the crew had cold packs on hand. The cast would drape them over their necks to cool down when they weren’t on camera.

Other members of the Little House on the Prairie cast mentioned that some people even passed out due to the heat on set. During this conversation, Melissa Gilbert dropped a bomb that blew the hosts’ minds.

Sean Penn Passed Out on the Set of Little House on the Prairie

As they were talking about passing out from the heat, Melissa Gilbert chimed in with, “Sean Penn passed out.”

This caused some confusion. The hosts thought it was a joke. One said, “He wasn’t even on the show. He just passed out randomly at his house?” This drew some laughs from the Little House on the Prairie cast. Gilbert joked, “He passed out in Malibu. We were in Simi Valley. It was a whole thing,” before saying that Penn was actually on the show.

Sean Penn’s father, Leo Penn directed several episodes of Little House on the Prairie. So, he brought his wife and son along a couple of times to be background performers on the show. In fact, Sean Penn’s first acting gigs were on Little House. He was in two different episodes of the classic series. However, he was uncredited both times. The episodes were in 1974 and 1975 according to his IMDb filmography. So, that means that Sean Penn was in his mid-teens when he visited Walnut Grove.