Little House on the Prairie's Melissa Gilbert Stood Up for Alison Arngrim in the Sweetest Way On-Set
When Laura helped Nellie.
Raise your hand if Little House on the Prairie has been your go-to show during the Hunker Down at Home Era. Can you see our digits waving from Birmingham?
If you're anything like us, the popular period drama, which originally aired in the 1970s and 1980s, has been a great source of comfort during these difficult times amid the coronavirus pandemic. As superfans, we're always excited to get behind-the-scenes glimpses into the stars and making of the show, and we just learned some fascinating intel from the editors over at Cheat Sheet: Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, rallied her fellow young cast members together to dispel some unfortunate rumors about Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson during the first season of filming the series.
"I sometimes had trouble talking to 'new people' one on one," Arngrim wrote in her book Confessions of a Prairie B*tch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated. "I was now faced with a cast and crew of over a hundred, some of them with rather intimidating personalities, to say the least — I had hoped I could just show up, do my job, and lay low, but it was not to be." Her shyness on-set was fast misinterpreted for an attitude and Arngrim's agent had a talk with the young star's father to discuss these unfortunate rumors that she was "difficult," and that her employment may have to be reconsidered.
That's when her on-set BFF, Gilbert, stepped up to set the record straight. "[Gilbert] had found out about the rumors and, having been the first to befriend me, knew they weren't true," Arngrim wrote, per Cheat Sheet. "So what did she do about this at the age of [nine]? She called a meeting." As it turns out, it likely wasn't even the kids spreading rumors about Arngrim, but the competitive parents of the young actors, trying to elevate their own child's future show biz careers, even if it meant sabotaging the careers of others.
Through a rousing speech, calling on her fellow child actors to stick together and speak up if gossip rears its ugly head to get to the truth of things, Gilbert not only helped to save her dear friend's job, but set the underpinnings of an inclusive community for the young stars. Bravo! You can read the full story on CheatSheet.com here and marvel at the kind leadership of a young Gilbert. Pretty inspiring for a young kid, huh?
Now, if you'll excuse us, it's time to headover to Peacock and get to streaming all nine seasons of Little House on the Prairie. And those three two-hour specials — Little House on the Prairie: Bless All The Dear Children (1984); Little House on the Prairie: Look Back to Yesterday (1983); and Little House on the Prairie: The Last Farewell (1984) — are calling our names, too.
And we're definitely ordering a copy of Arngrim's book, for more of the inside scoop of one our favorite television series. We think we've got our weekend carved out for ourselves.