Melissa Gilbert on the Life Lessons She Learned from Little House on the Prairie
We're all enjoying the simpler things in life more than ever right now. A blood orange sunset. Reading a book on the porch. Getting busy in the garden.
Recently, Melissa Gilbert, who starred in Little House on the Prairie as Laura Ingalls Wilder, spoke with CBS Sunday Morning from her home in Sullivan County's Catskills' Mountains in upstate New York, or as she calls it, "Little House in the Catskills." Watching the segment reminded us of another great way to escape daily life: Tuning into some episodes of the much beloved TV series. "With everything that's going on in the world right now, I think from what I'm hearing from people Little House on the Prairie is a reminder of when things were simpler for us in our lives, those 45 years ago," Gilbert says of the surge in popularity the show—which debuted in 1974—has enjoyed as of late.
Gilbert also opens up about how principles from the show have established guiding mantras for her life. "Little House on the Prairie then [airing amid the oil crisis, recession and Watergate scandal of the 1970s] provided people with a reminder of what we went though when we started this country and how difficult that was. And I think we're at that place again," reflects Gilbert. "If we could have done what we did in the 1800s in the 1970s, we can do this. The keys are going to be compassion, community, faith—whatever that faith looks like—love. That's it. That's all that matters." Here, here, to those beautiful words.
Later, she shares how acting in the show starting from the age of nine personally helped her grow into the person that she is today. "I absorbed so much without even realizing what I was learning—really important life lessons about family, community, tolerance—because I was saying all these things and having to understand all these things, they became a part of what I learned as well," Gilbert says.
"The shows values were a reflection of the values of our leader, Michael Landon [who played Charles Ingalls and served as executive producer]. He was that man. He believed that people are always really good at heart and that anyone is redeemable and that the only way to change things is to do it from a place of love and fairness and understanding," Gilbert said. "It's unfortunate for so many reasons that he passed away when he did because I think his voice would've been an incredibly important voice to have today."
Watch the full interview below.
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Right about now, we think we'll head back to the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the Bank of Plum Creek. See you on the Prairie.