WATCH: ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Walnut Grove at the Big Sky Ranch Then and Now

by Katie Maloney

What does the set of Little House on the Prairie look like today?

Undoubtedly, if you were a dedicated Little House on the Prairie fan you frequently imagined yourself on the set of the show. Maybe you imagined running around the Ingalls house. Or maybe you visited the school where Mary taught. Maybe you imagined picking up some much-needed supplies from the Walnut Grove Feed & Seed. Although the set of Little House is completely gone, fans still return to Big Sky Movie Ranch to see the show’s original locations. This video shows various locations on the set while cutting back and forth between what the locations looked like on the show and what they look like now.
Little House on the Prairie: Then and now.

Why Did the Crew Destroy the Set Of Little House On The Prairie?

After nine years of success, the network decided not to renew Little House on the Prairie for another season. However, instead of announcing the decision to the cast and crew, the network simply did not add the show to their fall lineup. Cast and crew gradually discovered the news from other castmates and coworkers. Needless to say, many members of the show were angry and heartbroken. The show’s creators knew that they had to do something symbolic for the show’s end. So, for the final episode, they blew up the entire town. During an interview, Melissa Gilbert said that blowing up the town was a sort of the last word from co-star Michael Landon.

“They blew everything up. It was Michael’s way of saying ‘No one else is going to shoot here. This was mine,'” said Gilbert.

But the crew couldn’t just blow up the entire set without writing it into the script. So, during the final episode of the show, citizens of Walnut Grove learn that a land developer bought all the land in the area. The developer says that the residents can stay but any money they make has to go to him. This news infuriates Laura Ingalls so she decides to get the town together to protest. The townspeople decide that they are going to blow up the entire town and start over somewhere new. 

Before the final day of filming Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon and the show’s crew blew up everything on the set. Today, fans can visit the set but they won’t see any of the original buildings. In a way, it’s kind of beautiful. It brings fans right back to the times when they were kids and had to imagine what it would be like to be on the set of Little House on the Prairie.