Little House on the Prairie premiered over 50 years ago. And like most television series from that time, it was wholesome. The warmth and innocence of the period piece turned the series into an everlasting icon that is still popular a half-century later.
In an interview with The Christian Perspective, Wendi Turnbaugh, who played Grace, the youngest Ingalls child, spoke about the shows resonating popularity. And in her opinion, people appreciate the religious and family-oriented aspects of the series.
“People are starving for family values and faith-filled content,” she said. “I think people might say that they don’t want that or need that. But that is what draws people in.”
And viewers aren’t the only people who are affected by the show’s warmth. Little House on the Prairie made such an impact on Turnbaugh that it became an interpretation of her faith. In August of 2019, she wrote a book called Prairie Devotional. In the book, Turnbaugh reflects on the spiritual aspects of her 1970s series. And she offered insight into the on-screen family dynamics.
During an interview with CBS, Turnbaugh credited her husband for the idea. He told her that she should write about Little House on the Prairie years before she actually became a published author.
“My husband actually gave me the idea, probably about 10 years ago,” Turnbaugh said. “I thought it was a really good idea. But I didn’t have the confidence.”
In 2015, Wendi Turnbaugh underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. And shortly after, she began writing. But she didn’t go into it thinking she’d publish a book.
“It started out as a blog just to inform people of my health and what was happening,” she told the news outlet. “And it became this [Prairie Devotional].”
Little House on the Prairie Star Alison Arngrim was Happy That She Didn’t Play One of the Wholesome Characters
Little House on the Prairie may have been a wholesome, feel-good series. But even the purest shows have their antagonists.
And Alison Arngrim was Little House on the Prairie’s “nastiest” character. Arngrim actually auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls-Wilder. But the producers thought she made a better Nellie. And as Angrim told From the Desk, she’s “so glad” they did. Because she loved playing “the mean one”
“I am so glad I didn’t have the burden of having to play a ‘nice’ person for all those years,” she admitted. “I think it would have been exhausting! And if you look at the reaction of viewers 40 plus years later, you can see how each of us made our character ‘iconic’ and forever identified with our individual performances. In millions of people’s heads, ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’ will always conjure up the face of Melissa Gilbert.”