Those who grew up in the ’70s likely remember Little House on the Prairie. The show was all about how the Ingalls family lived on their farm in Minnesota, and it was heartwarming, sweet, and relatable. It’s no secret how the show lasted over a decade and still has a serious following now.
Michael Landon was one of the most notable cast members on the show. And rumor has it he wanted to blow up all the set pieces as an act of retaliation against the network. Here’s what really happened.
The final episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ featured characters blowing up their own homes
The last episode of Little House on the Prairie, “The Last Farewell,” was a memorable one. It started with Charles and Caroline Ingalls deciding to return to Walnut Grove, Minnesota — the place where they originally lived. While they chose to leave for the city for better economic opportunities, Walnut Grove still had a special place in their hearts.
Unfortunately, Walnut Grove was taken over by railroad tycoons. While the land was once untouchable, such was not the case now. The townspeople wouldn’t be living the quaint way of life they came to love, and they decided to take a stand.
The townspeople emptied their businesses and homes and loaded up the town with explosives. One by one, the buildings in the town were blown up (except for the church and another small sacred house), and the people in Walnut Grove marched onward out of the town.
Show creator Michael Landon reportedly wanted to restore the land to its natural state
While the show created the perfect storyline to coincide with blowing up the buildings, there were other reasons for the plot. UPI notes Michael Landon, the show creator, producer, and actor, chose to blow up the set pieces so the land could be restored to how it was before Little House was filming there.
“Mike decided that if the town had to go he might as well send it out in a blaze of glory on the screen,” Bill Kiley, a publicist for NBC, explained.
As for the set structures themselves, they were worth $750,000 when they were first constructed, but the buildings were only hollow fronts. This would’ve made it ultra-difficult to save them. Any filming done on the inside of the buildings happened at MGM studios.
Rumors suggest Landon wanted to retaliate
While there’s a pragmatic reason for Landon wishing to blow up the Little House set, rumors persisted that Landon also didn’t want others to use the set pieces. Not only that, but other rumors suggested Landon was upset the show was canceled, and in an act of retaliation, he hoped to blow up the set as the final hurrah.
So, was this true? According to CBR, Landon totally understood why Little House had to end, and he continued to work with NBC after the show was over. It’s clear he wasn’t upset with the network, so he wouldn’t want to blow up the set just to irritate them.
Little House on the Prairie producer Kent McCrary also did his best to dispel any rumor that suggested Landon was retaliating. He explained he made an agreement that he’d put the land back to the state it was in prior to the show’s production once the filming of the show was over. McCrary mentioned nothing about Landon acting out of line.
While it’s clear why the town exploded at the end of the show, rumors are bound to persist well into the future!
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