Little House on the Prairie

Hey! This version of Little House on the Prairie, which is a Disney production, was filmed not in the U.S. of A., but rather, right here in Alberta. Interesting that this country is deemed to have more of that frontier scenery left to it! It is an updated version of the series featuring the Ingalls family and all the other characters we loved. This was first released as a 6-part television miniseries by Disney in 2004. Based on the semi-autobiographical books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie gives us a little insight into what life was like for these pioneers living in the West of the United States. Director David L. Cunningham's (To End All Wars) cinematography is beautiful and really illustrates the ruggedness and wide expanse of the land during that time. I do have some problems with the shakiness of some of the shots – I guess some 'modernity' has to slip in every one and a while, but it just ends up being distracting to me. Cunningham has also decided to stay fairly true to the novels, which is a smart idea because they are so well loved by many generations, but does not bring along the better qualities of the television series into this production. These Ingalls are not quite as warm and lovable as those of Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, but it definitely is more realistic. One thing that it does do better than the television series is to show how hard it was on the frontier in those days. Little House on the Prairie is still all about hard work and family values which will make parents happy. Despite its shortcoming Little House on the Prairie still remains one of the better family-type television productions that has ever aired. This DVD might even inspire some kids to read the novels for the first time or for some of us older folk to reread them.

The Ingalls have moved west to set up a farm in Kansas. They are a hard-working honest family whom everyone in their new community loves and respects. Charles Ingalls (Cameron Bancroft – Mystery, Alaska, Love & Human Remains) and his wife Caroline (Erin Cottrell – Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde), along with their children Laura (Kyle Chavarria – starred in television series such as According to Jim and Gilmore Girls) and Mary (Danielle Chuchran – The Cat in the Hat) try to build a life for themselves on the rough frontier. There is plenty of land in Kansas but working the land is tough and on top of that is the problem of relations with the Indians. Most of the residents in the town, including Mr. (James Cosmo – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Troy) and Mrs. Scott (Gina Stockdale – A Guy Thing) are leery and judgmental about the Indians, but the Ingalls are much more compassionate and open-minded towards them. This earns them the respect of some of the higher members of the Indian tribe. Through these struggles the Ingalls learn about the perils of judging a person without really getting to know them.

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