Throwback Thursday - Little House on the Praire

Throwback Thursday is weekly feature where I read and discuss a book I previously read or that I might have read "back in the day".

When Did I Read It?

I have no idea how old I was when I first read this one. I vaguely recall reading portions of it for school (early 1990s), but no specific grade. The earliest distinct memory was fourth grade, but I feel like I read bits and pieces prior to that.

I freely admit this has always been my 3rd least favorite of the series, but hey, sometimes, rereads are fun and reveal hidden depths.

How Does It Hold Up? 

Disclaimer: Obviously, a book about American Western Expansion, especially one written in the first half of the 20th century is not going to be the most enlightened novel.  
Unfortunately, even accounting for the time period... it did not hold up too well and actually moved down to 2nd least liked. 
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. 
I enjoyed the adventure of exploring a new area and seeing how they did things back then. For all his flaws, Pa's open-mindedness was a nice breather. I can absolutely understand why I loved reading this one as a kid.

My main issue with this book is that it's actually Pa's story and not Laura's. As a kid, I read the book more as an adventure and didn't mind so much, but as an adult... Charles Ingalls frequently put his family in unnecessary danger to fulfill his wanderlust and was up to some general shadiness.

For example: Early in the book, Laura asks if they are in Kansas.
Pa had word from a man in Washington that the Indian Territory would be open to settlement soon. It might already be open to settlement. They could not know, because Washington was so far away.
 Towards the end of the book, Pa makes this statement.
"If some blasted politicians in Washington hadn't sent out word it would be all right to settle here, I'd never have been three miles over the line into Indian Territory."

I mean, you either know... or you don't.
I think he knew.

This is also the one including the infamous scene where Laura throws a fit because Pa won't kidnap a Native American baby for her. 
I even remember reading this one as a child and thinking that was such a weird thing to do.

After some research, Laura's age in the book is supposed to be around 5 or 6, in reality she was only 2. This makes a lot more sense because toddlers are ridiculous. At least the parents handled the situation appropriately.


  1. "general shadiness" lol. Yeah sounds like Pa was playing a little fast and loose there haha. I remember reading this as a kid and loving it, I think, because I had a whole covered wagon/ frontier thing going for a while!

    1. I distinctly remember carting around a wagon with my sister and our baby dolls in it pretending it was a covered wagon. I still enjoy westerns.

      But this one just isn't the best installment overall, even if it's still an important piece of literature.