‘Little House on the Prairie’: One Actress Thought the Show’s Script Were Better than Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Books

by Keeli Parkey

“Little House on the Prairie” is a classic television show based on a beloved series of books. Also called “Little House on the Prairie,” the book series was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Pretty much any time a book is made into a movie or television show, a debate can be had about whether or not the movie or television show lived up to the book. Or, one could also argue that the movie or television show outshined its source material.

For actress Melissa Sue Anderson, the scripts for “Little House on the Prairie” were better than the book that provided the source material for the classic television show. Anderson played Mary Ingalls on the classic television show.

While she in Chicago promoting her book, Anderson compared Wilder’s Books to the scripts created for the show. Anderon’s book is titled, “The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House.”

At the time, HollywoodChicago.com asked her how Wilder’s books influenced her portrayal of Mary Ingalls on television. The publication also wanted to know if she would reread the books during filming.

“No,” Anderson reportedly said with a laugh about reading the books during filming. “I read them when I was a kid, before I got the series, but I think our scripts were – I hate to say it – better than the books.”

Why did she prefer the scripts over the books? Anderson said it had to do with character development on “Little House on the Prairie.”

“They were certainly more interesting,” Anderson said of the scripts, “because the other characters were developed more fully on the show than they were in the books.”

Melissa Sue Anderson Did Have Some Good Things to Say Wilder’s Books

Even though she preferred the television show’s scripts to Wilder’s books, Anderson did have some good things to say about the source material.

“I think fans watching the show get the same feeling that young kids get reading the books,” she said. “The thing that the books were great at was making you feel as though you were there. I think our show did that for the TV audience, they were able to feel as though they were part of that time.”

During her interview with HollywoodChicago.com, Anderson also said she believes the show continues to teach important life lessons to viewers.

“It obviously teaches great family values and the importance of being a family unit,” Anderson reportedly said. “It’s very easy nowadays to be all spread out, with each person running somewhere else and not being together very often. So those things were then and are now very important to try to be a cohesive unit as much as you can.”

Where is Melissa Sue Anderson of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Now?

Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary Ingalls as a regular cast member on “Little House on the Prairie” for seven seasons. She only appeared in a few episodes during the show’s eighth season. The show aired from 1974 until 1983.

After her time in Hollywood ended, Anderson moved to Montreal. She became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 2007. In 1990, she married Michael Sloan, a television writer and producer. The couple has two children.

Her book, “The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House” was published in 2010.