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The Darker Side of ‘Little House’ Reflected in New Book – And By Darker We Mean Drunken Love Triangles With a Dash of Arson

‘Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography’ by famed children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder hit the shelves in late 2014 and readers are finding that it comes with just a bit of warning: this book, unlike her beloved “Little House on the Prairie” series, is not for children.

Released by the South Dakota State Historical Society, the book takes a more realistic and less serene look at prairie life in the 1800’s. In fact, it was considered “too dark” to be published.

Some of the more mature themes of the autobiography include:

  • A neighbor of Pa Ingalls drunkenly starting his house, and himself, on fire
  • Domestic abuse
  • Love triangles gone awry
  • The horrific Minnesota grasshopper plague

It certainly doesn’t reflect the idealistic farm life we loved in the popular television series from 1974 – 1984. Ingall’s life in De Smet, South Dakota is well documented and the upcoming book should be popular for fans hungry for some gritty behind-the-scenes ‘Little House’ reading.

After Wilder’s death in 1957, the rough and unedited draft was preserved in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Mo.

To order the book by mail, visit the South Dakota Historical Society Press website to pay by credit card or send a check to 900 Governors Drive, Pierre, South Dakota. Make checks payable to the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Shipping in the United States is $5.00. The price of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is $39.95.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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