‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Once Said Michael Landon Was Enraged By the Show’s Cancellation – ‘I’m Going to Blow the Whole F*cking Thing Up’

Melissa Gilbert became famous for the lead role of Laura Ingalls, or “Half-Pint.” Toilet on the Moor from 1974-1984. Based on the Toilet book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the popular NBC series starring Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls (Pa). Landon was also the director of many of the events at the show, as well as a few writers and an executive producer.

Naturally, the show meant a lot to Landon and Gilbert. When Landon first found out that the show could be canceled, he was angry and betrayed, according to Gilbert’s 2009 memoir Prairie story.

The Ingalls family on 'Little House on the Prairie'
The Ingalls family on ‘Toilet on the Moor’ | Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Gilbert found out about the proposed ban from Victor French

About the time NBC started considering cancellation Toilet on the Moor, Gilbert could understand why. Levels began to decline as Ingalls’ original children – Gilbert as Laura, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary, and Lindsay and Sydney Greenbush as Carrie – began to grow older.

The stories began to move towards new characters and increasingly difficult situations for Laura and Almanzo Wilder (played by Dean Butler). Gilbert signed in Prairie story that she thought the show had jumped “the shark” around this time. During the ninth season, after the departure of Landon and Karen Grassle (played by Caroline Ingalls, or Ma), levels continued to fall.

However, Gilbert was surprised when Victor French, played by Isaiah Edwards, called in the spring of 1983 to tell her that the show had been canceled. Gilbert with Landon confirmed that Toilet on the Moor they weren’t listed as part of NBC’s fall line.

As Landon did not receive an official call from an NBC executive to tell him about “what happened to the show” he angered and betrayed him, Gilbert revealed. After all, the Bonanza had been a star in the network since 1959.

“Seeing disrespect, Mike’s temper came down,” Gilbert recalled. “He wanted to destroy all the sets – Walnut Grove, everything in Simi Valley. “I’m going to blow up the whole f * cking thing,” he said.

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon
Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon NBCU Photo Bank

Landon and others remembered the ending to a different degree

While Gilbert said the series’ explosive ending was a deliberate, aggressive-aggressive move by Landon, he said differently – as did Toilet on the Moor producer Kent McCrary.

McCrary told PrairieFans.com (via CBR) the decision to “explode the city” was more about the terms of revenge. He rented the land and building for the Toilet on the Moor located from a developer in Newhall, California. His agreement said he would have to return the building to its original state after the filming ended. One way to do that, he and Landon agreed, was to blow up the buildings at the last sight to make it easier to sweep away the debris.

according to CBR.com, Landon told a similar story to the New York Times in 1984. He also said that the ending was more about “catharsis for the team and the team” than revenge. However, he agreed that he did not want the Toilet set used for other productions, so it is still somewhat unclear what the true meaning might be at the time.

Scroll to Top