This award-winning family drama was based upon Laura Ingalls Wilder's 9-part series of autobiographical books. Television producer and NBC executive Ed Friendly became aware of this enduring story in the early 1970s. He asked Michael Landon to direct the pilot movie, who agreed on the condition that he could also play Charles Ingalls.
TIME: beginning in the 1870s.
PLACE: the American frontier - more specifically, Walnut Grove in the state of Minnesota.
THE CHARACTERS: Charles/Pa Ingalls: a homesteader farmer/woodworker; compassionate and loving, yet quick-tempered and ready to throw a defensive punch whenever necessary
Caroline/Ma Ingalls: Patient and understanding wife and mother; the ideal prairie woman Laura Ingalls Wilder: The winsome, tomboyish second daughter of Charles and Caroline, who serves as the voice of the entire series, and eventually married Almanzo Wilder
Mary Ingalls Kendall: Charles and Caroline's pretty and ultra-responsible oldest daughter, who longs to be a teacher and goes completely blind at the age of 15. She later marries Adam Kendall, although this is a fictional piece created just for the TV series
Carrie Ingalls: The cute third daughter of Charles and Caroline, who didn't have a large role but was always portrayed as a very sweet little girl
Grace Ingalls: Charles and Caroline's fifth and final child, who was only about 4 when her role in the series ended
Jack: the loyal, lovable family dog, who was replaced by Bandit when he died in Season 4.
Albert Quinn Ingalls: The fictional adopted son of Charles and Caroline--an orphaned runaway whom the Ingalls meet while living temporarily in Winoka
James Cooper Ingalls: The fictional adopted son of Charles and Caroline, who comes to live with them after the death of his parents
Cassandra Cooper Ingalls: The fictional adopted daughter of Charles and Caroline, and the younger sister of James
Supporting characters include: Miss Eva Beadle: The first teacher of Walnut Grove, who taught Laura to read and helped Mary realize her dream to teach
Dr. Hiram Baker: the loyal town physician
Reverend Robert Alden: The town's devout and hugely caring Church minister
Mr. Isaiah Edwards: The mountain-man/drifter-turned-farmer who settled in Walnut Grove, who had a drinking problem and, despite his happy-go-lucky exterior, had a lot of emotional turmoil in his life
Grace Snider: A widow and town postmistress who marries Isaiah and adopts three orphaned...