Many who have watched the show are probably wondering where “Little House on the Prairie” was filmed. The classic period drama set in the late 1800s depicts the Ingall’s life on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and first aired in 1974. The show immediately took off on the small screen as viewers took in the view of the American Midwest. the culture and dynamics of life at the time.
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The question that has always been asked is therefore: Did they actually film the entire nine seasons in Minnesota? And is Walnut Grove a real place? Well, let’s find out! But before we answer that, let’s take a look at some information about the series that you may still not be familiar with.
1. Do you remember the opening credits scene with a toddler tumbling? It was not planned.
Lindsay and Sydney Greenbush, then four-year-old twins, alternated as Carrie Ingalls due to child labor laws. And during one of the shoots, one of the twins tripped on her way down the hill, falling as she reached the bottom. The director found it adorable and decided to use the clip for the opening credits.
2. The series has never shied away from controversial topics.
While the show primarily depicted an idyllic and romantic take on 19th-century Americana, it never shied away from portraying difficult and controversial subjects. There were episodes that directly addressed issues of racism, alcoholism, drug addiction and rape which all remain prominent at this time.
3. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, was forced to hide her curves.
Of the 500 child actresses who auditioned for the iconic role, including Alison Arngrim (who ultimately landed the role of Laura’s rival Nellie), nine-year-old Melissa Gilbert landed the coveted role. But playing Laura just wasn’t fun and fun, as the young actress had to squeeze her chest and hide her curves to give off a more childish look despite her childhood.
4. The strong brotherly bond between Laura and Mary Ingalls was strictly on screen.
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Offscreen, Melissa Gilbert (Laura) and Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) had a strained relationship that lasted the entire series. Surprisingly, Melissa developed a close friendship with Laura Nellie’s nemesis played by Alison Arngrim. The two even stayed in touch even after the series ended. Nonetheless, we can all agree that the three child actresses definitely performed their roles with such professionalism, even at a young age.
5. Nellie’s famous blonde locks were actually a wig!
Although Nellie and actress Alison Arngrim both sported blonde hair, Alison’s hair was far too delicate to be styled in her character’s signature sausage curls. So they made her wear a wig that was attached so well that Alison’s scalp sometimes bleed from it. Not only that, but Nellie also had to wear layers of heavy clothing while filming, as the costumes tried to be authentic with the overall plot and setting.
6. The Ingalls definitely loved Dinty Moore and KFC at their table.
Whenever the family filmed their dinner scenes, the food served was usually Dinty Moore Beef Stew. For school lunch scenes, kids usually have chicken wings from the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken! An iconic Colonel Sanders mascot was also seen making an appearance in a Season 8 episode.
7. The series was almost canceled after season 2. (Good thing it wasn’t!)
While the series definitely gained popularity after Season 1, which led to its renewal for a second season, ratings dropped sharply after that. It was almost canceled, but luckily when the studio moved the broadcast from Wednesday to Monday, ratings started to improve. And by season 3 he was doing great again and lasted six more seasons.
8. “The Little House on the Prairie” has been renamed “The Little House: A New Beginning” for the ninth season but has not been renewed thereafter.
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After Michael Landon, who played Charles Ingalls, left the series in Season 8, the series was renamed to focus more on the story of Laura and Almanzo. But it didn’t get as much love as the original series, and after just one season, NBC decided to cancel it. A year later, they aired three 2-hour specials.
9. Walnut Grove is actually a real town.
Yes, you heard right. The author and main character of the series lived for a time in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Although they kept the city’s true name, the setting was actually located closer to Hollywood.
And finally, the question that many are asking.
10. “Little House on the Prairie” was filmed in Simi Valley, California.
Fans were definitely intrigued by where “Little House on the Prairie” was filmed, and sad to say; it was not shot in the actual Walnut Grove of Minnesota. Instead, most of the scenes were shot in Simi Valley, California. And the farm where the Ingalls lived was actually the Big Sky Movie Ranch, located at 4927 Bennett Road. It became an important filming location, and the science fiction television series “Westworld” made use of this location as well. Unfortunately, fans could no longer see the actual set as it was destroyed with a staged explosion for the last episode. Other locations used include Red Hills Ranch in Sonora, CA, Lake Sherwood, CA, and Old Tucson Studios on 201 Kinney Road in Tucson, Arizona.