Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, Little House on the Prairie told the story of the Ingalls family and their life on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Originally appearing on NBC with a two-hour pilot on March 30, 1974, the series kicked off as a weekly hour-long show on September 11, 1974, and ran through May 10, 1982, with a total of 203 episodes.
Famously featuring Michael Landon as family patriarch Charles, Landon also spent a large amount of time behind the camera as well, directing 87 of the episodes and writing many of them as well. (See Michael Landon at home, from 1975.)
While the show gave a glimpse into the prairie life of the late 1800s, it wove modern themes and topics into the fabric of its episodes — covering alcoholism, racism, prejudice and drug addiction. Despite the occasional heavy topics, the show had its lighthearted moments as well.
After Landon decided to leave the show, it was renamed Little House: A New Beginning and featured a new cast… though this proved a ratings flop, and this version of the show was canceled after only 19 episodes. It would continue on in three different made-for-TV movies, concluding in 1984 with Little House: The Last Farewell, which actually incorporated the destruction of the show’s sets into the final movie.