(1974) Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson, Melissa Gilbert, Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, Victor French, Carl Belloni, Sam Vlahos, Richard Alarian, Marian Beeler, John Steadman, Vic Mohica
Co-producer and director Michael Landon offer a vivid impression of the hardships and sacrifices typical of the pioneers of 19th Century America in this nostalgic pilot for the television series of the same name.
Based on a true story by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this wilderness adventure chronicles the trek of the Ingalls Family from their tiny home in the woods to an uninhabited land they homestead.
Along their journey, the Ingalls encounter wolves, Indians, treacherous weather, and a “repulsive” neighbor — Mr. Edwards (Victor French) — who teaches little Laura (Melissa Gilbert) the art of spitting.
Little House on the Prairie, while wholesome and heartwarming, is surprisingly suspenseful. The performances of Landon and Grassle in particular, are powerful.
This film contains no lulls — it’s two hours of solid entertainment for adults and children alike. No wonder the series that followed (picking up from the Ingalls’ settling in Walnut Grove) would last nine years on prime time television!