Little House on the Prairie

Little House On The Prairie - Pilot Movie

Season 1, Ep 1, Aired 3/30/74
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  • Episode Description
  • When the Big Woods of Wisconsin becomes a difficult spot for hunting, Charles Ingalls reluctantly decides to move his family to Kansas's more open and fertile land. Leaving their beloved relatives proves to be devastating, but the resiliency of the Ingalls spirit reigns supreme as they head out in their covered wagon. Along the way, Charles falls in love with the lush openness of the Indian Territory, and he quickly settles there with his wife and three young daughters. A kindly man named Isaiah Edwards helps Charles build a house, and Laura develops an instant fondness for him, but Caroline takes longer to accept his gruff nature. Joyous times are mixed with sad ones as the family deals with wolves, Christmas celebrations, Indian encounters, new births, fires, and above all, the unnerving realization that maintaining a stable, permanent homestead is not as easy as it looks, especially when they have decided to place their footprints on Native American soil.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Melissa Sue Anderson

    Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

  • Michael Landon

    Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

  • Karen Grassle

    Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

  • Lindsay Greenbush

    Carrie Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

  • Fan Reviews (3)
  • Fantastic way to start such a wonderful series.

    By Lady_Lancaster, Mar 14, 2011

  • What a wonderful beginning for a wonderful series!

    By dragonfly_pat, Mar 09, 2008

  • Great episode!

    By guinn75, Feb 06, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (20)

    • Charles: Are the children asleep? Caroline: All but Laura. How much longer, Charles? Charles: I don't know. Caroline: We crossed into Kansas days ago. What are you looking for? Charles: I'll know it when I see it. Caroline: But the children are tired, and the life seems to have gone out of all of us. Charles: It'll pass, Caroline. We had no future where we were. It was a hand-to-mouth existence at best. I want more than that for you and the children.

    • Caroline: I hope I never see one. Laura: Then why did we come to the Indian Territory? Caroline: (laughs) I suppose it does sound pretty foolish to come to the Indian Territory and hope that you'll never see an Indian.

    • Laura: How come Mr. Edwards doesn't come around anymore? Charles: He's got his own place to look after. Laura: I think he doesn't come by anymore because he knows Ma doesn't like him. Charles: Well, I don't know that she doesn't. Laura: She don't, and I know why! Charles: Oh, is that a fact? Laura: Mm-hmm. Because he spits!

    • Laura: I'm sorry, Pa. Charles: For what, Half-Pint? Laura: For thinking you didn't care about Jack when he almost drowned. Charles: Didn't care? I blame myself for not putting him in the wagon. I should have taken into consideration how tired he was. I was just so full of guilt for letting him drown. Laura: But you only said you were sad about not having a good watch dog anymore. Charles: I guess I just couldn't find the words to say what was in my heart.

    • After Jack disappears, Laura starts walking alongside the wagon like he did Caroline: (peeking out from the covered wagon) Laura, come inside, dear. It's too hot to walk in the sun. Laura: I'm not hot. Caroline: Then put your bonnet on. The sun and the wind will make your skin all leathery. Charles: Let her be, Caroline. She's hurting.

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    Notes (7)

    • Filming Locations: Cedar Glen Apple Ranch in Yankee Hill, CA; Baker Ranch in Tuolumne, CA; The Stanislaus River; and other Sierra locations filmed at The Orvis Ranch in Stanislaus County, CA, and Agoura, CA.

    • Filming Dates: January 7-27, 1974

    • Twin actresses Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush's names appear in the opening credits as "Lindsay Sydney Green Bush." In the actual series' opening credits, the name would correctly be shown on screen as Greenbush.

    • Actress Ruth Foster appeares in the opening scene of this episode as one of the family members to whom the Ingalls are bidding farewell. She's the same actress who would play Walnut Grove postmistress and resident Ruth Foster in future episodes. She's also the only actress in the entire series run whose real name was used as her character's name.

    • Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary) has said in previous interviews that when she was first approached about auditioning for Little House, she was told that it was a "period western type of show," and so she wasn't really expecting what it actually was. She got excited when she found out that she was auditioning for Little House, because she was the right age, and she had read the books. In addition, she originally read for the role of Laura, but Michael Landon saw her and immediately thought, "This is Mary."

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    Trivia (20)

    • This is Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls)'s favorite episode, although she enjoys many of the episodes from the early seasons. She says she loves the pilot so much because it was so accurate in portraying what that day and age was like for pioneers.

    • Melissa Gilbert found out she won the role of Laura Ingalls while standing in the lunch line at school from Michael Landon's daughter Leslie. Leslie got grounded for doing it.

    • Actress Melissa Gilbert auditioned against 500 other child actors for the role of "Half Pint", her screen test was the only one Michael Landon submitted to NBC Studio's for consideration.

    • Melissa Gilbert fondly remembers her first day on the set of Little House, with this episode. It was filmed in California, but it had just snowed, and on top of that, there were two toddlers on the set--the girls who played Carrie--and Gilbert says "There was snow, and there were babies, so I was in absolute heaven." Gilbert also vividly remembers how when she first met Michael Landon, he was so happy, and he was just in complete command of everything. She says she always called Landon "an upside-down triangle" because he was so tall, big and muscular, while Gilbert herself was just a tiny little girl who was 10, but was actually the size of a 6-year-old, according to her.

    • This is the first episode where we see baby Carrie's rag doll, which she carried around for a long time when she was really little on the show. The doll's name is Debbie, and to this day, Lindsay Greenbush still owns it and shows it to fans when she makes appearances. The doll has a missing leg now, and Lindsay likes to joke that "Nellie Oleson must have gotten a hold of it."

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