‘Little House on the Prairie’: The Final Wrap Party Was a ‘Sad Affair’ According to Karen Grassle

Little House on the Prairie star Karen Grassle gives fans an inside look at her life and some of the behind-the-scenes happenings on the show. Here’s what she said about the final wrap party and why and it was a “sad affair.”

Why Karen Grassle left ‘Little House on the Prairie’

The cast of Little House on the Prairie pose together.
Little House on the Prairie cast | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Grassle enjoyed the people she worked with on Little House on the Prairie, but she says she became worn down from the work after a while. In her book Bright Lights, Prairie Dust, Grassle says the days on the set were challenging. In addition, sometimes the cast and crew had to work in extreme weather conditions. Grassle says one day the actor who played Nellie Olsen (Alison Argrin) passed out during the first week of filming because it was so hot.

Grassle also felt it was time to leave the show because of her contract dispute. She requested a higher salary but was met with resistance. Grassle says her dispute resulted in a strained relationship with Michael Landon. She also noticed some of the cast and crew members began to distance themselves from her. Grassle says she used to spend time with co-star Mary Sue Anderson (she played Mary Ingalls) in between scenes, but once the contract dispute was underway, she noticed that Anderson began to keep her distance.

Many factors contributed to Grassle’s desire to leave. She eventually made her exit after 8 seasons. Little House on the Prairie Season 8 Episode 22 (titled “He Was Only Twelve: Part 2”) was her last episode. She returned briefly for a guest appearance on the TV movie Little House: The Last Farewell.

The final wrap party was a “sad affair” says Karen Grassle

Grassle describes the final wrap party in her book. She says when she arrived, she received a cold reception. Grassle expected to be welcomed with open arms, but that wasn’t the case, according to her. Instead, she was met with what she perceived as resentment.

Grassle believes she wasn’t received warmly because she left the show when they needed her most. “I had been instrumental in breaking up the successful run when I gave my notice a year earlier,” writes Grassle. “Our kids had grown up and it seemed they couldn’t hire a new Ma.”

Grassle says the final wrap party for Little House on the Prairie was a “sad affair.” She felt a heaviness hanging in the atmosphere, which she describes as “murky.” According to Grassle, these parties weren’t the best, but this was one was especially somber.

Karen Grassle says she cried after her ‘struggle’ was acknowledged

Grassle attended another cast gathering years later. She says she was moved to tears when a former crew member praised her for being able to work under the pressures she faced. She didn’t think anyone was aware of how tough it was for her to work on the set. Grassle says her tears showed her how much it meant to have her “struggle” acknowledged.

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon and Karen Grassle Forgave Each Other After This 1 Moment

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