This ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Described Her Last Day on the Show: ‘In An Instant I Was Now on the Outside’
The television drama Little House on the Prairie was based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Airing from 1974 to 1983, the series depicted life in the 1800s in the rural Midwest. Michael Landon created the show after leaving his role on Bonanza, and served as Little House’s executive producer and star.
At the end of the fourth season, Landon made a shift in the storyline by moving the majority of characters out of the country to the big city of Winoka. The change resulted in some actors being written out of the series.
‘Little House’ star had her last scene in season 4
Charlotte Stewart portrayed schoolteacher Eva Beadle on Little House until the end of season 4. She recalled her final day on set in her memoir Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me.
“My last day shooting Little House was August 22, 1977,” Stewart wrote. “The final scene was at Paramount on the Oleson’s store set… Mike made sure I had a good moment to end on.”
With her final lines being with co-star Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Miss Beadle’s star pupil Mary Ingalls, Stewart recalled getting emotional during her last scene.
“The tears in my eyes were real,” she revealed. “Those lines from the script were words from my heart. I had enjoyed being part of this ensemble so much… had loved the make-believe world of 1870s Walnut Grove. … And then reality crashed the party.”
‘That’s a wrap for Charlotte’
Stewart recalled the finality of her time on the show after her scene with Anderson was completed.
“When I walked out the door of the store, the director, Bill Claxton, called, ‘That’s a wrap for Charlotte,’” she remembered. “And that was that. Four years with Little House had, for me, come to a close. Everything and everyone around me plunged forward at the usual, formidable pace.”
While she had a solid working relationship with the Little House cast and crew, Stewart wasn’t expecting any fan fare upon her departure.
“The Little House set wasn’t a place where there were a lot of parties, so I had no expectations of champagne and confetti,” Stewart shared, adding that she could’ve used a bit more support. “But a hug — a real hug, not a scripted one — would have been very welcome at that moment. Some well-wishes for the future. But I knew I couldn’t really expect that either. Everyone had a job to do.”
Charlotte Stewart compared her exit to ‘the death of a dear friend’
As a seasoned actor, Stewart realized that the show must go on despite her no longer being a part of the Little House ensemble.
“It’s the nature of the business,” she wrote. “People come and go. And sometimes you’re the one who goes. I had been inside Mike Landon’s Little House typhoon since 1974 and in an instant I was now on the outside, it seemed.”
Sad to be leaving her role, Stewart had to make one last stop to drop off her costume.
“A feeling of numbness came over me,” the Little House star explained. “I suppose in some way that’s hard to explain, it was like the death of a dear friend. I reached the prop truck, had my last vodka, and then left my pretty prairie dress and golden wig behind for a final time.”