‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor Said Melissa Gilbert Really Punched Her Nose in 1 Scene: ‘I Thought It Was Broken’

Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim were known to get scrappy from time to time as Laura and Nellie on Little House on the Prairie. Arngrim shared in her book how, for the most part, the actors had the choreography down and never got hurt — but there was one time when she took a real punch to the nose. She even thought Gilbert had broken it.

Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson with Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls on 'Little House on the Prairie'
Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson with Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim had some big fights

One of the biggest fights to play out between Nellie and Laura happened in the episode “Back to School, Part II,” with Arngrim writing in her book Confessions of a Prairie B*tch that Gilbert was “lucky she lived” through it.

“That was one of our best fights, and Melissa and I loved it,” Arngrim wrote. The characters were fighting over Almanzo and things got dirty when they rolled around in the mud. “Right before we started filming, the director told us, ‘There’s no sound, so don’t worry about saying anything,'” Arngrim explained, so they really started to throw the curse words around.

“Melissa grabbed me, threw me down in the mud, and screamed, ‘Take that, you B*TCH!’ I came up yowling and thumped into her full force, shouting, ‘Oh yeah? F*CK YOU!,'” the actor recalled of the scene.

“We screamed and swore and called each other every filthy name in the book and beat the crap out of each other,” she continued. “We were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe.”

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Gilbert really hit Arngrim once

The actors found a way to convincingly deliver those fight scenes without ever getting hurt, Arngrim noted, but there was once instance where Gilbert’s fist actually made contact with her co-star’s face.

“Melissa and I never worried about hurting each other during fights,” she wrote in her book. “We just had some kind of psychic choreography that allowed us to yell, ‘Go!’ and start flailing away, without ever making real contact.”

“Well, except once,” she added. Arngrim explained how it was a “weird dream sequence in ‘The Fighter,’ where Laura dreams about boxing with Nellie.” The actors had to wear 1800s boxing gear, with Arngrim explaining that “the prop men padded the gloves so that our hands weren’t really in them all the way” in an effort to make things safer for the girls.

Things didn’t end well, however. “We couldn’t tell where the ends of the gloves were by feel,” Arngrim explained. “So, sure enough, Melissa swung, meaning to miss me, and punched me right in the nose.”

“I could feel my nose bend,” she added. “I really thought it was broken for a second.”

Thankfully her nose was fine and they adjusted things by taking the padding out of the gloves and putting their hands all the way in.