Melissa Sue Anderson recalled the day Karen Grassle "Stormed Off the Set" on 'Little House on the Prairie'

The 1974 premiere of the historical drama Little House on the Prairie was a ratings success. The family drama, based on the works by Laura Ingalls Wilder, follows the Ingalls family as they faced the trials of the late 1800s.

Michael Landon, the show's creator, executive producer, and star, portrayed father Charles Ingalls. With Karen Grassle playing his wife Caroline, the actor was dissatisfied with her limited screen time and Landon's rather authoritarian inclinations. Season 2 Melissa Sue Anderson witnessed conflict between her co-stars.

Actor From 1974 through 1981, Melissa Sue Anderson portrayed the eldest Ingalls daughter, Mary, on the show. In her memoir The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House, published in 2010, she remembered the developing separation between her on-screen parents during the second season of the show. She writes, "I had began to observe a slight tension between Mike and Karen." 

"I didn't know precisely what it was about or what had caused it, but something was certainly different about their connection. I wondered if it was because Karen didn't have as many opportunities to 'act' as she would have wanted. I'm not sure if she felt sufficiently appreciated." 

Despite Anderson's affection for Landon, she stated that he could be exceedingly authoritarian at times. Including Grassle, he disapproved of the audience's participation in the show. "Mike repeatedly batted down any fresh ideas Karen may have had," Anderson wrote in her book. 

"It must have been quite aggravating for her. The situation gradually deteriorated to the point where they only communicated when absolutely essential... During these moments, there was heightened tension on site." Season 3 of 'Little House' was tumultuous.

In the third season of the show, Grassle's rising frustrations began to cause her cheerful demeanor to deteriorate.

"As season 3 progressed, our sweet and compassionate Karen Grassle became less so," the Little House on the Prairie star claimed. 

"I'm uncertain as to whether or not this change in her personality was entirely due to her interactions with Mike, but it's likely that they had a significant role." Due to a lack of on-camera possibilities, Grassle's demeanor continued to deteriorate, despite the fact that she was a classically-trained actor seeking important roles rather than stardom.

 "I can think it must have been challenging to work on a show where youngsters appear in the majority of episodes," Anderson said. "Unfortunately for Karen, the more 'diva-like' her conduct grew, the fewer meaty situations she was likely to get cast in." A "vigorous" day on the prairie

At some point, Grassle was supposedly bored up with her one-liners, bringing the issue to a head.

"And so it went: a great deal more 'More coffee, honey?' and 'Shut the door!'" Anderson described the limited involvement of Grassle. "Till one day, she stormed off set and into her dressing room, where she remained." Wow. That was very tense... This sort of conduct never occurred on Michael Landon Productions."

 Grassle's departure was an isolated episode, and she and Landon must have reconciled at some point. Anderson observed a more amicable relationship between her on-screen parents in later seasons, when she returned to Little House after her appearances began to decrease.

 Anderson wrote, "On one of my initial travels back, I observed something peculiar." "Michael and Karen were beaming. At one another... 

I never knew if they were acting or if their actions were genuine. But it made our set considerably less tense and a nicer place to return to."

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