Melissa Gilbert took the role of Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie at the age of nine. The young actress was the star of the show. In fact, she appeared in more episodes than any other cast member.
It was a heavy responsibility for the young actress. At the same time, it was a life-changing experience. Her time on Little House on the Prairie taught her several things. It gave her a solid foundation for her acting skills. It also taught her about family, community, and tolerance. She once said that she went on all of the adventures that Laura Ingalls went on. It felt like she was growing up in a different time. She also said that the show instilled some strong yet compassionate values in her from a young age.
She sat down with Mo Rocca from CBS Sunday Morning last summer to talk about what it was like growing up on Little House on the Prairie. She discussed all of the things she learned. Gilbert also talked about the things that really stood out in her mind about the show.
Melissa Gilbert on Two Things She Distinctly Remembered from Little House on the Prairie
Looking back on Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert says it was like summer camp. At the same time, she says it was like playing the best game of dress-up a little girl could ask for. Most of all, she says being on the classic TV show was always fun. However, there was still work to be done.
On this, Mo Rocca said, “You were just a kid with a lot of lines to learn.”
Melissa Gilbert smiled and replied, “I had a lot of words but more than just a lot of words, I did a lot of running.” In fact, Gilbert said she doesn’t remember ever walking anywhere on Little House on the Prairie. That didn’t end when she got older. She went on to say that even as a young adult, she ran all the time.
Looking back on all the lines she had to learn for Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert says she forgot her lines one time. They were shooting a scene and she couldn’t remember what to say. So, Michael Landon, ever the father figure, called her on it.
Gilbert said she immediately started crying. In response, Landon cleared the set so he and the young actress could have a moment alone. They went over the scene together until Melissa Gilbert knew her lines. At that point, she hugged Michael Landon and thanked him for his patience and for helping her. Gilbert said he knelt in front of her, made eye contact, and said, “and that is never happening again, is it?” With a smile, Gilbert told Mo Rocca, “and it never did.”