Why is the iconic show Little House on the Prairie still loved by both new and old viewers alike after all of these years?
Actress Melissa Gilbert, who played the famous role of Laura Ingalls on the hit show, explains why the wholesome family TV show is still as important as it was when its final episode aired 35 years ago.
Melissa Gilbert Gushes Over Her Time Spent on the Show
The series debuted in 1974. Even after all of these years, it still airs on TV with many viewers looking forward to watching the Emmy-winning TV series. In fact, since its first episode, Little House on the Prairie has never been taken off the air, and the reruns continue to be a hit.
Melissa Gilbert continues to praise the show, along with the relationships developed with her close-knit cast, and the loving lessons it taught both herself and viewers. She holds plenty of positive memories in her heart, and it seems she will carry them with her for the rest of her life.
“It was like a really great summer camp, but I also got to play the ultimate game of dress-up and be in those fantastic clothes and the button-up boots. I don’t remember it ever not being fun,” she says during a recent interview on CBS Sunday Morning.
The interview takes place from her cabin and farm in New York that she’s lovingly calls “Little House in the Catskills.”
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Role on “Little House on the Prairie”
At the young age of nine years old, the little girl portrays her character convincingly after being chosen for the role on the famous NBC show. Gilbert says she was lucky to learn several life lessons and important values during her 10 years of being on set.
“I absorbed so much without even realizing what I was learning, really important life lessons about family, community, and tolerance because I was saying all these things and having to understand all these things, they became a part of what I learned as well,” says Gilbert.
Gilbert discusses playing the role of Laura Ingalls. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that led her to stardom, seeing as she was one of the most important characters on the show. The series is loosely based on the books written by the real Laura Ingalls Wilder, where she describes growing up in a pioneer family.
Gilbert Explains Why the TV Show is Still Relevant
Gilbert gives a beautiful description of why the show still connects to so many people. She explains how Little House enforces the belief that if we work together as one country, we can do and achieve anything.
“Little House on the Prairie is a reminder of when things were simpler for us in our lives those 45 years ago,” says Gilbert. “Little House on the Prairie, then, reminded people of what we went through when we started this country and how difficult that was, and I think we’re at that place again. If we could’ve done what we did in the 1800s and the 1970s, we can do this.”
Praising Actor & Creator Michael Landon’s Moral Messages
Gilbert credits the actor, director, executive producer, and writer, Michael Landon, for the important moral values depicted in the series. Landon obviously wore many hats during the show’s long and successful run. However, he was best-known for his major role as the family’s patriarch Charles Ingalls. Sadly, Landon lost his battle with cancer in 1991 at the young age of 54. He continues to receive praise for being a multi-talented star, but most importantly, for his kindness, big heart, and virtuous beliefs and behavior.
“The shows values were a reflection of the values of our leader, Michael Landon,” says Gilbert. “He was that man. He believed that people are always really good at heart and that anyone is redeemable and that the only way to change things is to do it from a place of love and fairness and understanding.”
Gilbert fully believes that Landon would be a powerful advocate for spreading love, kindness, and generosity. These beliefs are desperately in need during the present time.
“It’s unfortunate for so many reasons that he passed away when he did because I think his voice would’ve been an incredibly important voice to have today,” she adds.
“Little House” Continues Teaching Important Life Lessons
Gilbert is thankful that the show continues to air on TV for both the long-time fans and the newer generations. While enjoying the show, the younger audiences will also learn lessons about love, togetherness, and wholesome goodness.
“The keys are going to be compassion, community, faith, whatever that faith looks like, love, that’s it. That’s all that matters,” she says with faith and hope in her voice.