Dust off your best Sunday bonnet and hitch up the wagon, because Paramount Pictures is producing a film adaptation of the beloved Little House on the Prairie television series, which was itself based on the equally-beloved series of books written by pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The adaptation of the television series, which ran from 1974 to 1983 and was wildly popular, was previously in development at Sony, according to the Hollywood Reporter. But the entire project, including producer Scott Rudin as well as Martha Marcy May Marlene filmmaker Sean Durkin, is now making its home at Paramount. The script for Little House on the Prairie will be written by Abi Morgan, of Shame and Iron Lady fame.
Sony reportedly halted production of Little House on the Prairie back in June of 2015, apparently over concerns about its $45 million proposed budget, but Paramount realizes that there can be no price tag placed on nostalgia — and there is no doubt that the film adaptation of the popular TV series will make Laura Ingalls Wilder fans flock to the theater in record numbers.
The television version of Little House on the Prairie, which aired on NBC and was a huge hit for the network, was written and directed by Michael Landon. Landon also played the part of Charles Ingalls — otherwise known as “Pa” — the patriarch of the Ingalls family. Daughter Laura was played by Melissa Gilbert.
The show itself was an adaptation based loosely on the nine books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her upbringing and life as a pioneer. The television program drew the majority of its inspiration from the fourth book in Wilder’s nine-book-series: On the Banks of Plum Creek, which took place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.
Fans of the book series already know that the Ingalls family did not actually live in Walnut Grove, where the TV series Little House on the Prairie took place, for very long. The family moved on and eventually settled in De Smet, South Dakota, in 1879. The last five of the nine books of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series are set there, rather than Walnut Grove.
Laura Ingalls Wilder lived the majority of her childhood on the move, beginning in 1869 when her family left what she called the Big Woods of Wisconsin, stopping briefly in Rothville, Missouri, and settling in first at Kansas. The Ingalls family left there settlement in 1870, because Charles Ingalls had originally been told the location would be open to white settlers, but it was actually on the Osage Indian reservation and the Ingalls family had no legal right to occupy it. From Kansas, they went back to Wisconsin, where they stayed for the next four years, and it during this time period that the actual chronology and the fictional chronology of Laura Ingalls are different. Ingalls was about one to three in Kansas, and four to seven in Wisconsin
When they did arrive at Walnut Grove, where the TV series took place, Charles Ingalls served as the town butcher and justice of the peace while they were there, but then accepted a job with the railroad in 1879, which took them to the Dakota territories.
Originally, only eight books were published. Little House in the Big Woods in 1932, followed by Farmer Boy in 1933, then Little House on the Prairie in 1935, On the Banks of Plum Creek in 1937, By the Shores of Silver Lake in 1939, The Long Winter in 1940, Little Town on the Prairie in 1941, and These Happy Golden Years in 1943. The ninth, and final book, The First Four Years, was published later.
The Little House books were written for children, but have been well loved by generations. In 2014, Wilder’s Wilder’s autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” was published by South Dakota State Historical Society Press, almost 85 years after it was written. The book became an unexpected hit.
There is no word yet on who will make up the cast for the new movie.
[Photo by NBC/Contributor/Getty Images]