‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Once Said That Melissa Sue Anderson Tried To Kill Her

Little House on the Prairie may be known for its wholesomeness, but behind the scenes, things weren’t always so cheery and bright. Melissa Gilbert, who plays Laura Ingalls on the TV show, has even claimed that Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls) once tried to kill her.

Little House on the Prairie
Kelly Thordsen as Baker Makay, Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls, Tracie Savage as Christy Kennedy | NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert said there was ‘one mean person’ on the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie’

In Gilbert’s memoir titled Prairie Tale, she recalls her days on the hit TV show. The actor distinctly remembers the moment Alison Arngrim showed up on set in the third episode of the series. (Arngrim plays Nellie Oleson on Little House.)

According to Gilbert, she became best friends with Arngrim after telling her that there was “one mean person” on the set. That “mean person” was Melissa Sue Anderson, and the two bonded over their inability to get along with her.

“There was a distance to her, a coldness,” Gilbert said of Anderson. “She wasn’t easy to get along with.”

Melissa Gilbert once said that she hated her ‘Little House on the Prairie’ castmate, Melissa Sue Anderson

Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall, Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

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According to Arngrim’s memoir, Confessions of a Prairie B*tch, no one seemed to get along with Anderson. Yet Anderson’s biggest nemesis on set was her on-screen sister, played by Gilbert. As Arngrim remembers, the two of them hated each other in real life.

And on the first day that Arngrim arrived on set, Gilbert told her that Anderson was “very dangerous.” In Gilbert’s words, their co-star was even capable of murder!

“Whatever you do, watch out for that Melissa Sue Anderson,” Gilbert warned Arngrim. “She’s very dangerous. She’s evil, and I hate her… ” Gilbert continued, saying, “I hate her, and she hates me. She tried to kill me, you know. And she’ll kill you, too, if she gets the chance!”

Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls, Lindsay Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

Arngrim was shocked by what she just heard.

“It was as if we were suddenly in the middle of a really bad prison movie with an all-midget cast,” she joked. “We had just been told to ‘watch our backs’ by someone who looked like a talking Holly Hobby doll.”

Of course, to no one’s surprise, Gilbert was exaggerating about Anderson. Arngrim even labeled Gilbert as a “drama queen” for making up such wild accusations. But even so, Arngrim couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease at what Gilbert had just said.

“There was something very unsettling and insistent about her warning,” she wrote. “Just what sort of place was this?”

‘Little House on the Prairie’ star Melissa Sue Anderson never showed up to any of the cast reunions

According to Arngrim’s memoir, Anderson was rude to her throughout the entire series. Whenever she tried to talk to her castmate, Anderson would just give her a “cold stare” or flat out “ignore” her. They never seemed to get along, as much as Arngrim tried.

And because Anderson never really bonded with any of her Prairie co-stars, Arngrim says she never showed up to any of the cast reunions.

“Just about every year since, someone has put together an event for us to congregate, and we’re all very grateful and look forward to it,” Arngrim revealed in her tell-all book. “It was like a family vacation! The only one who has never came to a reunion? Melissa Sue Anderson. Big surprise there.”