‘Little House on The Prairie’: True Fans and History Buffs Spot Historical Inconsistencies in the Classic TV Show’s Wardrobes

by Clayton Edwards

“Little House on the Prairie” is an incredibly popular television show. Part of the draw of the series is its look back at the simpler times of American life. The show focuses on the Ingalls family as they make their way through life in early midwestern America.

“Little House” takes place in the late 1800s but many eagle-eyed fans and history buffs have spotted some major historical inconsistencies.

Today, we’re going to look at some modern things that appeared on “Little House on the Prairie,” over the years.

Modern Fashion in “Little House on the Prairie”

The wardrobe department on “Little House on the Prairie” did a great job. They made period-accurate costumes for each of the characters to wear. However, there were still some major historical inconsistencies and once you see them, you’ll never be able to stop noticing them.

Women’s Fashion Goofs

The ladies on “Little House on the Prairie” look great. Their dresses and bonnets make them look like they just stepped out of a time machine. However, they may look a little too good. Their hair and nails are always nearly perfect.

The women on the show look like they have professionally styled hair. At the same time, their nails are always manicured. These things just didn’t happen in the 1800s especially for women living in the rural Midwest.

Another major inconsistency can only be spotted in few scenes. Sometimes, you can see that Ma Ingalls is wearing a bra. The first bra was invented in 1914, decades after the events of “Little House on the Prairie.”

Modern Men on “Little House on the Prairie”

The men’s fashion inconsistencies are a little more noticeable. At the same time, they aren’t as easy to explain away. The ladies having nice hair and nails and Ma wearing a bra are pretty understandable.

On the other hand, most of the men are clean-shaven. This is especially true for Charles Ingalls. In the books, Laura Ingalls notes that her father wore a beard according to the show’s IMDb.

However, Michael Landon’s character never gets more than light stubble. It was almost unheard of for men of the time to be completely shaven especially in rural settings like the one in “Little House on the Prairie.”

The men on the show sport modern hairstyles. Again, look at Michael Landon’s character as an example of this. When you see photographs or painted portraits from the late nineteenth century, it appears that men paid more attention to their beards than their hair. Surely none sport gloriously feathered locks like Charles Ingalls does on “Little House on the Prairie.”

Not Historically Accurate but Historically Important

In the end, these inconsistencies make “Little House on the Prairie” special. It was intended to be a look back at the nineteenth-century Midwest. Looking back at the show now, it seems that it is also a window into the seventies and eighties in America.

Overall, they allow the show to embody two very different kinds of nostalgia. It may not be a historically accurate show. It is, however, an important piece of television history.