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A version of the "Little House" stories that cover some of the events that take place in the last three books of the series and the book "The First Four Years" Laura is living on the prairie nere De Smet, South Dakota and eventually meets the man that she will marry, Almanzo Wilder. Life, however, is not easy on the prairie and after a crop lost to hail, the loss of their baby son, the burning down of their house, and a terrible bout of diptheria, the Wilders must make some hard choices about how to move on from the tragedies. Written by
To say that this is the "True" story of Laura Ingalls Wilder is stretching it a bit. The story is more true to her real life (or at least her version of it) than the TV series ever was, but it doesn't quite get there.
Richard Thomas as Pa however is much better than Michael Landon and more true to the character portrayed in the books. Lindsay Crouse also does a credible job as Ma. The only thing that I would disagree with is the writer's insistance that Charles' wanderlust was a sticking point in their marriage so much so that Caroline couldn't contain her bitterness. While it was an issue in their lives, Ma has never been portrayed as being bitter and she and Pa would have never have been so out of control about it that they would air their grievances in front of the girls.
Oddly enough the girl playing Laura resembles illustrator Garth Williams' depiction of her in the book series. Meredith Monroe is charming, but some times her performance seems a little too quiet.
Unfortunately the modern world begins to intrude here and the innocence of the books seems to have been lost to make the story more interesting. Also there is a great deal that is left out for the simplification of the story. Characters that contribute to forming the Laura that eventually becomes attractive to Almanzo.
In addition, the beautifully innocent courtship that is portrayed in the books seems to be a little muddled here in the movie. While on the one hand, Almanzo has to be asked to kiss Laura after they become engaged on the other he can't wait to get her in bed once they get married.
All in all, to me, it is a more serious endeavor to portray the books. It will be interesting to see what the rumored version for the big screen to be written by Horton Foote will bring
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