’Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Gilbert Reveals the Advice Michael Landon Gave Her After Show’s Finale: ‘He Was Right’

by Katie Maloney
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Melissa Gilbert opens up about her final day on the set of Little House on the Prairie.

After nine seasons, Little House on the Prairie came to an end. But producers made sure that the show went out with a bang – literally. During the episode, the townspeople learn that a land developer just purchased all the land in Hero Township. The developer tells the townspeople that they can stay but whatever money they make belongs to him. Laura, played by Melissa Gilbert, inspires the entire town to fight against this injustice. The townspeople decide that, if they cannot live on their land freely, then they will blow up the entire town. During an interview, Gilbert opened up about the final day of filming for Little House On The Prairie. As the cast walked to set, they saw that nothing remained after crew members had blown up the entire set.

“We all walked down into town from the trailers together and rounded the corner and it was gone. Everything blew up but the little house. There were all of these buildings that I grew up in and around. I got my first kiss behind the church, I got stung by a bee, I learned how to ride a horse. There’s so many things that happened there. And it was just all gone. And it was crushingly sad. For all of us, the crew included. And we all kept going all day and then someone would start to cry and then everyone else would start to cry and we’d all stop and hold each other,” said Gilbert.

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Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls on Little House of the Prairie. Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

Michael Landon Gives Melissa Gilbert Advice During Last Moment On The Set Of Little House On The Prairie

Although the moment she realized the set was entirely gone was “crushingly sad,” Gilbert said that it also provided closure. She said that, with the set gone, no one doubted that this was the end of the show.

“There was closure. I’m a big closure person,” said Gilbert. “There was no question that this would never happen again and it was time to move on.”

Melissa was only 10-years old when Little House on the Prairie debuted. After nine years on air, she really did grow up on the set of the show. So, it makes sense why she would be uncertain about what her future held after the show ended. Melissa said that, when filming for the final episode was complete, she went to visit the rubble that was left of the town one final time. When she arrived, Michael Landon was standing in the middle of the rubble. She walked over to him and discovered that he was crying.

“He put his arm around me and he was crying. And I started crying,” said Gilbert. “And I looked at him and I said, ‘I’m scared.’ And he said ‘Don’t be scared. For you, this is just the beginning.’ And we walked away back to the trailers together, arm and arm…But he was right. It really was just the beginning.”

After her work with Little House on the Prairie, Melissa received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. She was also inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Additionally, she continued to act for television shows including Choices of the Heart and Babylon 5. She even joined season 14 of Dancing With The Stars.

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