Karen Grassle, the actress who played the treasured role of Caroline “Ma” Ingalls, once spoke about “The Handyman” episode in season 4 of Little House on the Prairie.
“The Handyman episode was a really fun script for me,” she said in an interview. “Because Caroline never gets to lean into her femininity.”
Grassle often talks about her love for acting as a craft. From one of her first Little House on the Prairie interviews to interviews decades after, many of her favorite moments involved getting to push her acting to the next level.
“[Caroline] always has to be strict and hold herself tall and be good and right, you know? And here, now is this gorgeous guy who is just falling for her. And Charles is away, and how wonderful!” She laughed, “To have someone to treat you like that when it’s usually all about the practical… it’s not romantic there when it takes a whole day to do laundry, and one of your kids sleeps in the same room with you.”
Caroline Ingalls typically was the strong and ever sturdy mother figure of the Ingalls family. For Grassle, “Ma” getting to let loose and flirt a bit in the episode with the handyman allowed her to portray a more complicated side to Caroline.
“Caroline got to sparkle a bit and show another aspect of herself that wasn’t really operative in the family,” she said.
Grassle’s Favorite Little House on the Prairie Experienced involved a Country Music Legend
Portraying a more feminine side of Caroline Ingalls was fun for her. Still, one of Grassle’s top career moments is when she got to work alongside music star Johnny Cash. When asked about her “top showbiz” moment, Grassle immediately referred to the singer.
“When we worked with Johnny Cash and his wife, June, on Little House on the Prairie. I had been listening to his music since I was a kid!” she told Closer Weekly.
Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter, played an ex-con and his wife on the show. Johnny Cash’s character, Caleb Hodgekiss, rescues the local Walnut Grove preacher from a runaway wagon only to try and con churchgoers out of their cash through a fundraising scheme.
Grassle has consistently expressed unwavering gratitude for her experience on the hit TV Show, whether working with the stars or honing her acting skills. Her devotion to acting gave TV viewers a delightfully complex mother figure to look up to and admire. Her consistent gratitude offers people something to admire even when the TV is off.