Little House on the Prairie: Adapted


The Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published between 1932 and 1943, told the story of Laura’s childhood in the American Midwest between 1870 and 1894.

The series of nine books were based on the idealised adventures of the Ingalls family, however Laura also wrote about the Wilder family and her later marriage to Almanzo Wilder.

The eight books follow the adventures of Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace as they learn to cope with the hardships of life on the prairies. We are also introduced to a variety of memorable characters who become friends and enemies.

The books have been adapted for television more than once and were also adapted into a musical stage show. Every now and then, rumours of a new series surface but none have materialised so far.



Little House on the Prairie first aired as a two-part pilot on 30 March 1974 and then as a network series from 11 September 1974. The series was loosely based on the books, using many of the familiar characters, but opting for more contemporary storylines to attract a modern audience.

The series begins with the Ingalls family arriving in Walnut Grove and building their house on the banks of Plum Creek. For the next eight seasons, the series would follow the various adventures of the Ingalls family and the other townspeople in Walnut Grove.

At the end of Season 8, the show was rebranded as Little House: A New Beginning as it turned its focus to Laura and Almanzo, however it was cancelled after one season.


Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder was a two-part television film series made by CBS based on the later books in the Little House series when Laura and her family are living in DeSmet, South Dakota, where she meets Almanzo Wilder.

The films take a darker tone than the 1970s series as they follow Almanzo and Laura through the early years of their marriage and the hardships they endure with their farm. Laura and Almanzo are blessed with the birth of a daughter, Rose, but face tragedy with the loss of their unnamed son.

Laura has to become a tower of strength when Almanzo is struck down with diphtheria leaving him partially paralysed and tough decisions have to be made about their future.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie (2005)

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie is a six-part mini-series directed by David L. Cunningham starring Erin Cottrell as Caroline Ingalls and Cameron Bancroft as Charles Ingalls. The series was broadcast on 26 March 2005 as part of The Wonderful World of Disney anthology series.

The series attempts to portray a more realistic version of the early books and stays mostly faithful. The most noticeable changes being the absence of Carrie Ingalls who presumably hasn’t been born yet. The series begins as the Ingalls family stake their claim on a piece of land on the Kansas prairie and Pa starts building the Little House in the Big Woods.



The novels were adapted for the stage by Rachel Sheinkin (book), Rachel Portman (music), Donna di Novelli (lyrics), and Francesca Zambello (director). It premiered at the Guthrie, Minneapolis, on 26 July 2008 before going on a national tour.

The cast included Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls in the 1970s television show, as Caroline “Ma” Ingalls. The show was hugely popular and it transferred to the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, New Jersey, before going on a national tour.

The musical takes place in the 1880s, when the Ingalls family takes advantage of the government opening land for settlement in Dakota.