Melissa Gilbert, once Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie,” has long since concluded her time on the 1970s and early 1980s show.
While the show may have concluded many decades ago, there are still elements of the show very present in her life.
Melissa Gilbert and Her Farm
According to an interview with CBS News from July of 2020, Gilbert is living comfortably (and somewhat familiarly) on her farm.
On “Little House on the Prairie” she was a young girl constantly running around the open fields and the family’s land. Now, she has responsibilities and ownership of her very own property.
“It’s very rustic. Look at my hands. I have blisters from shoveling and there’s dirt everywhere constantly … I’ve just given up,” Gilbert said in reference to her work on the farm.
She lives with her husband, Timothy Busfield, on their New York farm. The two have been married since 2013. She is 56 now and is a mother, as well as a grandmother.
Gilbert talks fondly about her time on “Little House on the Prairie.” In fact, she jokingly called her farm the “Little House on the Catskills.” Beyond sharing a mutual love of the outdoors and farm life with her character on the show, Gilbert was also incredibly close with Michael Landon.
He played the father figure on the show. However, he was also a fatherly figure in real life and to the show. He served as a writer for some episodes as well as an executive producer. When Landon was passing away from pancreatic cancer in 1991, Gilbert went to spend the afternoon with him while he was bedridden.
He passed away the next week. When Gilbert and her second husband, Bruce Boxleitner, had a son, they named him Michael in honor of Landon. She said that many of the values she learned on the show that she keeps close to her today, came from Landon. She said, “he believed in the good in people.”
Today, the show remains wildly popular in reruns. It’s likely partially a reflection of people seeking what they may consider “the good ol’ days.”
“I think Michael would be proud and thrilled,” Gilbert said about Landon and the show’s popularity today. “I think that he would be here talking to you instead of me and I would gladly yield the chair.”
Gilbert Musical Adaptation of ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Besides living the farm life, Gilbert has revisited elements similar to her role and character on “Little House on the Prairie.”
Through 2008 and 2009, Melissa Gilbert got to revisit the world of “Little House on the Prairie.” This time she played Caroline “Ma” Ingalls in the musical adaptation of the classic show. The show was directed by Francesca Zambello and starred Kara Lindsay as Laura Ingalls.
The show ran for 11 weeks and sold-out for the entire run.
Unfortunately, she had been working with a broken back while performing in the musical. She had surgery in 2010 to remedy her back which was a complete success.
A later 2012 head and neck injury would also stop her from running for a congressional seat in Michigan.