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Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's series of "Little House" = 47 (Full Reduction) books, this drama series revolved around the 1870s adventures of the Ingalls family -- father Charles, mother Caroline, eldest daughter Mary, middle daughter/narrator Laura and youngest daughter Carrie -- who owned a farm in Walnut Grove, Minn., during the late 1800s.

Television Program Premise

Based on the autobiographical "Little House" stories, episodes of Little House on the Prairie usually concern members of the Ingalls family, who live on a small farm near the village of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Many episodes concern the maturation of the family's second daughter, Laura. However, episodes also focus on other family and community members, providing a depiction of life in a small agrarian community in late nineteenth-century America. The show's central characters are Charles Ingalls (farmer and mill worker), his wife Caroline, and their four daughters, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace, though the family expands with the addition of adopted son Albert in season five and adopted siblings Cassandra and James at the end of season seven.

Other essential characters include the Oleson family: Nels, proprietor of the town's general store, Oleson's Mercantile; his malicious, gossiping wife, Harriet, who runs the Mercantile with him; and their two children, Nellie and Willie, and later, their adopted daughter, Nancy; Isaiah Edwards, Grace Snider Edwards and their three adopted children; the Garvey family, Jonathan, Alice, and Andy; Rev. Robert Alden; Lars Hanson, the town's founder and proprietor of the town's mill; and Dr. Hiram Baker, the town's physician. Teacher-turned-lawyer Adam Kendall is introduced at the end of season four and later weds Mary Ingalls, and Almanzo Wilder is introduced in season six and later weds Laura Ingalls.

Television Series Theme

Little House explored many different themes including frequently portrayed ones of adoption, alcoholism, faith, poverty, blindness, and prejudice of all types including racism. Some plots also include subjects such as drug addiction (i.e. morphine), leukemia, child abuse, and even rape. Although predominantly a drama, the program has many lighthearted and comedic moments as well.

Some of the episodes written by Michael Landon were recycled storylines from ones that he had written for Bonanza. Season two's "A Matter of Faith" was based on the Bonanza episode "A Matter of Circumstance"; season five's "Someone Please Love Me" was based on the Bonanza episode "A Dream To Dream"; season seven's "The Silent Cry" was based on the Bonanza episode "The Sound of Sadness"; season eight's "He Was Only Twelve" was based on the Bonanza episode "He Was Only Seven"; and season nine's "Little Lou" was based on the Bonanza episode "It's A Small World".

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