Little House: “The Last Farewell”

Little House:

“No one else is going to shoot here and this (is) mine,” said director Michael Landon.

The “Little House on the Prairie” Finale was a beautiful end to a nine-season television series. It first aired on September 11, 1974.

The television series “Little House on the Prairie” is a clean and family friendly television series that still has fans around the world today. The finale, Little House: “The Last Farewell” also upholds that element.

“The Last Farewell” united the actors as characters in the show, but also the actors themselves. During the 10 years the actors were on set, they became very close.

Melissa Gilbert played the lead role of Laura Ingalls Wilder. On a “Little House on the Prairie” Today Show 40th Anniversary on April 30, 2014, some cast members went to celebrate the milestone their show had achieved.

“It’s a very emotional experience you know especially because we were all together for so long. I mean it was such an intense experience and we were a family there and to see it all again…” says Gilbert.

During the finale, The “Last Farewell”, main characters Charles and Caroline take a vacation to visit their daughter, Laura, and her family back in their home town of Walnut Grove. While there, Mr. Lassiter, a dishonest railroad businessman, tries to take over the town. He owns the land, and tries to have the citizens work for him. The town will stop at nothing to keep their land.

The town unites and attempts to defend themselves against Lassiter and his people. The town realizes they will not be able to reclaim their land. They decide they will have to face Mr. Lassiter and are forced to move.

Laura realizes that while Mr. Lassiter may have a right to their land, he doesn’t have a right to their homes and businesses. She expresses this idea to the town after she smashed some windows. So, the citizens of Walnut Grove decide to blow up their town. Literally.

“There were lots of tears when we finally blew up the town. The actors had all become very attached to their own buildings, so it was very emotional,” said Landon in an interview with Stephen Farber at the New York Times in 1984.

Although she left the show seasons before it ended, Alison Arngrim (who played the character of Nellie Olsen) does not hesitate to comment. In an email interview for the Husky PawPrint she said, “I am one of the few who think it (blowing up the town) was actually a pretty interesting idea. It was a VERY Michael Landon thing to do.” She explained that many of the actors in the finale did not like the idea of the town blowing up. So, some of the actors refuse to watch it.

The decision to blow up the town in the finale was a beautiful ending to the 9 season show. Arngrim said one of the reasons Mr. Landon chose to blow up the town instead of leave it was because, “Michael knew that if he HAD left any sets at all, other shows would use them. Including horror movies, stupid sex comedies, and generally other awful things that would be upsetting to see Little House used in.”

Blowing up the set of “Little House” was a decision that had many factors. While keeping other shows from misusing the set was one major reason for the explosion, Arngrim said Landon “really liked to blow things up,” and that it was a “VERY Michael Landon thing to do.”

After 7 years of acting on the show, Arngrim decided she wanted to do something else, both as an actress and in her life. It was time to move on, but “Little House” would never be forgotten.