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Little House on the Prairie – the fictional story

To Indian Territory! Charles and Caroline Ingalls decide to leave their log cabin in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and travel to Indian Territory, where land will soon be open to settlers. Pa feels that the Big Woods has gotten too crowded; in Indian Territory, there will be fewer settlers, more wild animals, and farmland that isn’t old and worn out. The family loads their covered wagon and says good-bye to family members. Laura, Mary, and Carrie ride in the wagon. Jack, the brindle bulldog, walks beneath it. For many days they travel across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and finally into Indian Territory, experiencing both danger and adventure.

High Prairie. On the high prairie west of the Verdigris River, Charles Ingalls builds a cosy log cabin for the family, a stable for the horses and new mule colt, and he digs a well for fresh water to drink. There is game a-plenty and town is only forty miles away! Laura and Mary explore their new surroundings and help Ma with the cooking and housework. Laura even helps Pa build a door for the new cabin. One exciting day, Pa takes Laura and Mary to see the Indian camp. And eventually, Laura gets to see a real Indian baby – a papoose.

Following an exciting Christmas (will Santa Claus be able to cross the high water of the creek?), the Ingalls family looks forward to warm weather, planting seed for crops, and improving the new farm. They are settling into life on the new land and happy to have good neighbors close by. But this is Indian Territory, and both the Indians and men in far off Washington force Charles Ingalls to rethink his plans of living there.



Publishing History. Little House on the Prairie was published in 1935 as the third book in the Little House series. There are at least two complete handwritten manuscript of Little House on the Prairie, owned by the estate of Laura Ingalls Wilder and archived at the Laura Ingalls Wilder / Rose Wilder Lane Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. A microfilm copy is available at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, and at Western Historical Manuscripts at The University of Missouri at Columbia.

The text of Little House on the Prairie was copyrighted September 26, 1935 by Laura Ingalls Wilder for an original term of 28 years. The copyright was renewed by Roger Lea Mac Bride in 1963 for another term of 28 years. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years. Mac Bride renewed the copyright again in 1991. Public Law 105-298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total protection of 95 years. Currently, the text of Little House on the Prairie is protected by copyright until the end of the year 2030.

The first illustrations for Little House in the Big Woods were by Helen Sewell for the 1935 publication. Illustrations for the uniform edition of the Little House books were by Garth Williams and published in 1954; his illustration copyright was renewed in 1981. Both are protected for 95 years, or the years 2030 (Sewell) and 2049 (Williams).



Characters in Little House on the Prairie.
* The Ingalls family: Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie.
* Animals with names: Jack (brindle bulldog), Pet and Patty and Bunny, the mule-colt.
* Relatives: Grandma and Grandpa (Ingalls) and unnamed aunts, uncles, and cousins in Wisconsin.
* Friends: Mr. Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. Scott, Dr. Tan.
* In Indian Territory: two sets of two unnamed Indians in the house, cowboys, unnamed settler who planted watermelons, the tall Indian, Santa Claus, the Osage Indian who could talk to Pa, Soldat du ChĂȘne, soldiers, stranded family.
Places Mentioned in Little House on the Prairie.
* In Wisconsin: the Big Woods of Wisconsin, Pepin, Lake Pepin, the Mississippi River
* On the way to Indian Territory: Minnesota, Missouri River, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, the creek.
* Kansas / Indian Territory: Independence, Fort Dodge, Fort Gibson, Verdigris River.
* Other Places: Indiana, Tennessee



Music from Little House on the Prairie.
Songs (and the chapter in which they appear) include:
Chapter 4, “Prairie Day” — Daisy Deane
Chapter 5, “The House on the Prairie” — Arkansas Traveler, The Devil’s Hornpipe, The Gypsy King, Irish Washerwoman, Money Musk, Old Dan Tucker
Chapter 6, “Moving In” — Roll On Silver Moon
Chapter 10, “A Roof and a Floor” — Ten Little Indians
Chapter 16, “Fire in the Chimney” — By Lo, Baby Bunting; Green Grows the Laurel
Chapter 17, “Pa Goes to Town” — There Is a Happy Land
Chapter 18, “The Tall Indian” — The Blue Juniata
Chapter 20, “A Scream in the Night” — Bean Porridge Hot
Chapter 26, “Going Out” — The Battle Cry of Freedom, The Gum-Tree Canoe, I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land, Oh! Susanna


Little House on the Prairie, the fictional story