The Year: 1883. The Place: The Montana Territory. The Challenge: Blizzards, hunger, scorching sun, forest fires, the neighbors, and more ... Three modern families experienced life on the ... See full summary »
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2002  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Kristen Brooks
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The Year: 1883. The Place: The Montana Territory. The Challenge: Blizzards, hunger, scorching sun, forest fires, the neighbors, and more ... Three modern families experienced life on the American Frontier. If you think you know everything that happened ... You don't. Written by Cynthia O.

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Three modern families experience life on the American Frontier in the 1880s


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29 April 2002 (USA)  »

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When the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001 occurred during filming of the show, the production wanted to keep the authenticity of 1883 life (no television, no radio) they told the families of the tragedy via local newspapers. See more »

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"Little House" this ain't!
2 September 2003 | by (California) – See all my reviews



It goes without saying that if you want quality programming, you have to tune into PBS, and the "House" series beats anything network television has to offer hands down. Best of the series? "Frontier House".

So many of us grew up reading the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The television show based upon her works took great liberties with the stories over the years and ultimately disappointed.

Interested in a taste of what her life was REALLY like? Check out "Frontier House"! Mrs. Wilder's books might be viewed as simplistic or idealized in comparison to what you'll view in this show, but it should be remembered that she was raised a pragmatic frontier's woman whereas the participants in this PBS mini, for the most part, had no real conception of exactly how tough 1880's pioneer life could be. She took the difficulties of her life in stride, just the facts of life, and was therefore later able to share with us her story without dwelling on the unpleasant daily realities of her life.

Contemporary Americans on the other hand, can only stare in wonder at three families willing to do without, for Four & 1/2 months, niceties such as baths or showers, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste & floss and perhaps most importantly, toilet paper.

And that's not even mentioning near starvation, sickness, fickle weather and feuding neighbors.

These three families have been plopped down in some of the most beautiful country on earth. The contrast between the beauty and romance of the locale with the harshness of the living conditions is a real eye opener for viewers, accustomed as we are to filmed period pieces where issues like B.O., poor dental hygiene, and lack of toilet and bathing facilities are largely glossed over.

It's wonderful to have an opportunity to live out this adventure with these families, and PBS has outdone itself, but you'll find yourself grateful that you can sit in your clean, comfortable home eating a bowl of popcorn or ice cream while you do so.

Our ancestors were indeed made of stronger stuff than we today.


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