Parched for some pioneer spirit?
Through nine seasons of homespun drama on Little House on the Prairie (1974–83), the Ingalls family of Minnesota — lumber mill worker Charles, wife Caroline and daughters Mary, Laura and Carrie (Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson, Melissa Gilbert and Lindsay Greenbush) — stood tight through money woes and tragedies galore circa 1870. (Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiographical books inspired the series.)
The pack’s mix of love and faith proved as sturdy as the mighty trees Charles milled: House was still a Top 30 hit when Landon, also an executive producer, and the gang wrapped up the NBC series after 204 episodes. Now that they’ve all arrived on Prime Video this month, we picked some of the highlights.
“The Richest Man in Walnut Grove” (Season 2, Episode 1)
The proud Ingalls family, stiffed by a boss and in debt to general store owners Nels Oleson (Richard Bull) and snide wife Harriet (scene-stealer Katherine MacGregor), work side jobs like crazy to make things right. Take that, Mrs. Oleson!
“I’ll Be Waving as You Drive Away, Parts 1 and 2” (Season 4, Episodes 21 and 22)
Over 20 million homes tuned in to this gripping two-parter: Scarlett fever robs Mary of her sight. In a bittersweet twist, she falls for the also-blind Adam (Linwood Boomer). Anderson, at a then-groundbreaking 15 years old, scored a Best Actress Emmy nomination.
“Back to School, Parts 1 and 2” (Season 6, Episodes 1 and 2)
Laura, now a teenager and smitten with older future husband Almanzo (Dean Butler), asks Pa to stop calling her “Half-Pint.” While that’s a heart-tugger, Laura’s mud fight with jealous Nellie Oleson (Alison Arngrim) is a riot.
“Growing Pains” (Season 8, Episode 3)
James (Jason Bateman), the troubled orphan taken in by the Ingalls clan, runs away. (Another orphan, Matthew Labyorteaux’s Albert, joined the family a few seasons earlier.)
“Once Upon a Time” (Season 9, Episode 15)
In the final season (branded Little House: A New Beginning), Laura writes a book inspired by her family’s heartbreaks and triumphs. A pox on the editor who demands some silly changes!
Little House on the Prairie, Seasons 1–9, Streaming now, Amazon Prime Video