The Little House on the Prairie warmed the hearts of the nation with both the book and TV series.
The show debuted in 1974 and despite it ending over 30 years ago, it’s still much loved to this day by a wide range of audiences.
Whilst you may think you know everything about the TV drama, there are some behind the scenes secrets that the cast and producers tried to keep from fans.
1. Alison Arngrim’s Broken Arm Was Real In The ‘Bunny’ Scene
Alison had a real cast on in the episode after having a skateboarding accident in real life and breaking her wrist.
2. Heavy Beer Drinkers
Both the camera and off-screen crew were known to get through two cases of Coors a day whilst filming.
3. Alison Arngim Almost Passed Out On Set
The actress, who played Nellie Oleson, passed out on set once due to the extreme heat. The women wore 1800 style dresses and costumes including petticoats, bonnets and stockings. The temperatures would rise to as high as 100 at the California set causing Alison to faint.
4. Michael Landon Wasn’t Afraid To Show Off His Body
Michael, or Charles Ingalls as we knew him on the show, was more than happy to do the shirtless scenes. He also reportedly used to wear no underwear under those extremely tight trousers.
5. Melissa Gilbert Was Only 15 Years-Old When She Had To Kiss Co-Star Dean Butler
Melissa played the part of Laura Ingalls in the hit show who married Almanzo Wilder (Dean Butler) – but she was just 15-years old at the time. She was extremely nervous when it came to the kissing scene, with it only being her third ever kiss! After the scene she asked producers if the affection between the characters could be kept to mainly hugs and kisses on the cheek.
6. Alison Arngrim & Steve Tracy Would Make Out On Purpose To Gross Melissa Gilbert Out
The young teen actress would hate seeing the older actors openly kiss on set, so the pair would do it even more to wind her up.
7. Rachel And Sidney Bush Were Only 3-Years Old When They Played Carrie Ingalls
The identical twins played the role of Carrie perfectly. Due to the law, the director had to swap the twins around every three hours to give them a rest, calling for a ‘fresh’ twin before scenes.
8. Carrie’s Fall In The Opening Credits Wasn’t Supposed To Happen
The twin who played Carrie Ingalls trips and falls during the opening credits whilst running down a hill – but it was actually an accident. The director thought it shown the toddler in a cute light so kept it in.
9. The Food Was Dirty Moore Beef Stew
In any of the scenes where the family are having dinner, the food was actually just dirty moore beef stew. For all but one occasion when Ma cooked fried chicken, which of course was KFC.
10. Melissa Gilbert Ended Her Friendship With Michael Landon After His Divorce
The actress became close with Landon’s real-life wife and kids whilst filming the series. The actor’s affair with the make up artist became public, causing Melissa to distance herself from him and remain loyal to his wife.
11. Landon Wore Four Inch Lifts Inside His Boots
The actor didn’t want anyone else to rise above him on set and wanted to appear taller. He can thank his special boots for the swagger he had on screen.
12. The Simi Valley Ranch Set Was Contaminated With Radioactive Waste
It was reported that the set at the Big Sky Ranch was used for people to dispose of radioactive materials – was this to blame for the high cancer rates in the cast and crew?
13. Nellie Oleson & Laura Ingalls Were BFFs
They were enemies on-screen, but in real life actresses Melissa and Alison were the best of friends and often had sleepovers.
14. Sean Penn Got His Breakthrough Role On The Show
Penn was just 13-years old when he made his debut on the Little House on the Prairie. He appeared in the episode ‘The Voice of Tinker Jones’ being cast by his dad.
15. Landon Dyed His Hair For The Role
Michael Landon took to the hair dye for his role as Charles. The actor went grey in his early 20s so starting dying it early on. He let the professionals step in and help with his hair colour in the Little House on the Prairie. It was said it would turn to a lavender colour after being in the California sun.
16. Michael Landon Asked Karen Grassle To Change Her Name
When the actress auditioned, Landon asked Karen to change her name back to Karen Grassle. She was going under her stage name Gabriel Tree at the time.
17. Melissa Sue Anderson’s Mom Was Overprotective On Set
Melissa’s mother was worried about her whilst she was filming, causing the young actress to not really make any friends on set. She played the part of Mary Ingalls.
18. People Didn’t Believe Melissa Gilbert & Dean Butler Had Believable Chemistry
Melissa’s awkwardness made the chemistry between the on-screen couple unbelievable with the stars often being told to make more effort.
19. Nellie Achieved Her Curls Through An Old Fashioned Curling Iron
The old fashion curling irons were used to ‘torturously’ style Alison’s hair and give her character Nellie the curls she needed.
20. But They Soon Changed It To A Wig
They wanted to give Alison the perfect curls so swapped the iron for a wig. This actually made the actress’s scalp bleed as it held on with metal combs and pins.