Little House on the Prairie: Four Rivalries Behind the Scenes

The Little House on the Prairie cast appeared onscreen to be the ideal family. Reportedly, though, there were a few disagreements behind the scenes. Things were not always as they appeared on the popular television show.

 Here are four feuds that occurred behind the scenes of Little House.

1. Michael Landon and Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle (who portrayed Caroline Ingalls) and the late Michael Landon had a quarrel (he played Charles Ingalls). When it came time to extend her contract, she desired a higher salary. She believed she deserved compensation commensurate with the show's success. Grassle states in her book Bright Lights, Prairie Dust that things did not proceed as planned.

 During the contract discussions, according to Grassle, Landon and some of the cast and crew were cold toward her. Despite having a rocky relationship, Grassle and Landon made amends. She notes that despite their disagreement, she respects his work ethic. Grassle acknowledges the pressure Landon was under to put on a successful performance.

 She claimed that he "carried the weight of the concert on his shoulders." 2. Katherine MacGregor and several 'Little House on the Prairie' actors Katherine MacGregor, who as Mrs. Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, was a respected part of the group. 

She did, however, ruffle a few feathers. According to Alison Arngrim, who portrayed Nellie Oleson, MacGregor clashed with several cast members due to her tendency of critiquing their work. Arngrim writes in her book Confessions of a Prairie B that MacGregor instructed the other performers on how to stand, which props to use, and how to deliver their lines. Arngrim states that her co-ideas star's were not terrible. The issue was that her counsel was "constant and unwanted."

3. Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson

If you were a fan of Little House on the Prairie, you probably recall the epic battles between Melissa Gilbert's Laura Ingalls and Nellie Oleson (played by Alison Arngrim). Although the performers played adversaries on-screen, they were great friends off-screen. 

At the time, Gilbert's actual adversary was actress Melissa Sue Anderson (she played Mary Ingalls.). In her autobiography Prairie Tale, she discussed the tension with Anderson. Gilbert asserts that Anderson was unfriendly. Gilbert thought Anderson was "evil" and intended to "murder" her when she joined the cast.

Gilbert claims that Anderson was "cold," and she never got to know her. She was difficult to get along with, according to Gilbert. I believe her reticence was evident on-screen and certainly off-screen.

4. Alison Arngrim and Melissa Sue Anderson

Arngrim likewise had trouble communicating with Anderson. She claims that her co-star made no effort to get to know her. Arngrim even recounted an instance in which Anderson appeared to "threaten" her during scene preparation.

Arngrim claims she ran into Anderson years later at the burial of Michael Landon. She describes their relationship as aloof.

 Arngrim claims she inquired about Anderson's newborn in an attempt to be cordial and make small chat, but Anderson responded with a brusque response and walked away.

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