Little House on the Prairie was a beloved family series that warmed the hearts of many viewers with its endearing depiction of the Ingalls family. However, behind the idyllic image of the show, there were tensions and personal hells that plagued the cast off-screen. Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson played sisters Laura and Mary Ingalls, but their relationship off-screen was far from sisterly.
Although the two actresses portrayed loving and tender sisters on-screen, Gilbert revealed in her own biography that things were different behind the scenes. Gilbert recalls the supposed coldness conveyed by her partner and how they never really had a brotherly relationship. The animosity between the two was said to have continued, despite Gilbert warning co-star Alison Arngrim about Anderson, calling her “evil”.
While Anderson remained quiet about their distant relationship, she hinted at it during an Entertainment Weekly meeting in 2014. She stated that she was friendlier with the technical team, while Gilbert and Arngrim spent all their time together. As each actress left the series at different times, rumors started arising that Anderson was leaving due to her bad relationship with her young co-stars. However, Anderson flatly denied it, instead stating that she was leaving to explore other career options.
Each actress went their own way after the series ended, appearing in different movies or television productions. Melissa Gilbert remained part of the story until the end, while Anderson left the show in 1981 and Arngrim a year later. Despite rumors and speculation, it seems that the enmity or coldness between Gilbert and Anderson continued long after the show ended, as they never crossed paths beyond the 2014 reunion.
Even now, more than 40 years after the series ended, Little House on the Prairie remains a beloved classic for many viewers. And while tensions may have plagued the cast off-screen, the Ingalls family remains an endearing symbol of family unity and perseverance in the face of adversity.