Little House on the Prairie

‘Little House on the Prairie’: Toasting Michael Landon as Pa Ingalls on Father’s Day

Pa Ingalls, by his daughter’s words in Little House on the Prairie, “was a hunter and trapper, a musician and poet.” In short: he was an Outsider to his core.

Travel back to Walnut Grove with us this Father’s day as we celebrate one of the most prolific patriarchs in pop culture history.

“He liked a country where the wild animals lived without being afraid.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder famously wrote these words about her father, Charles Ingalls, in her timeless, best-selling Little House on the Prairie book series. While many-a reader fell in love with him through literature, the character of “Pa” would rise to unforeseen heights for the television adaptation. And he did so under the steady hand and remarkable charisma of one Michael Landon.

For many, Little House on the Prairie was escapism at its finest. Audiences could return to, and still do, a far simpler time where life was straightforward and family was paramount.

Seeing the Ingalls thrive under Landon’s Pa made him into a sort of surrogate father for an entire generation, a phenomenon that continues to this day – decades after the iconic actor’s death. He’ll live on forever as Charles “Pa” Ingalls… And we’re all better for it.

So join us in toasting this remarkable father figure this Father’s Day through the many things that made Pa Ingalls the ultimate Outsider “Pa”.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Through Pa Ingalls’s Eyes

To so many, Pa was the “epitome of bravery,” as the Little House website puts it. But he was far more for it, too. Charles was an incredibly resourceful craftsman, a trait that Michael Landon portrayed to perfection in the show. In the original books, Laura Ingalls Wilder describes exactly how incredible her father was at providing a comfortable life for their family:

“Everything from the little house was in the wagon, except the beds and tables and chairs. They did not need to take these, because Pa could always make new ones.” 

Little House in the Big Woods

Yet as stern and hardy as the man was, he was also compassionate and creative. In the same book, Laura writes of her father’s music “soothing their souls” – something all Outsiders will immediately relate to.

Nothing brings us through hard times quite like the music we love. And when your Pa plays the fiddle, said music takes on an entirely different meaning, too.

“…And he took his fiddle out of its box and began to play. That was the best time of all.” 

Little House in the Big Woods

Not only would Pa play, but he would dance and sing with his wife, children, friends, and even visitors. A rare sight, to be sure, but one that leaves a lasting impression on any son of man.

Perhaps the most telling quote of all, however, comes from a letter Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote to her daughter in 1937. Within, she says plainly:

“Pa was no business man. He was a hunter and trapper, a musician and poet.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

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