By Lennon Parker, PrairieFans.com Web site Producer
Location: Big Sky Movie Ranch, Simi Valley, California
What a way to bring in the new year with a visit to Big Sky Movie Ranch in Simi Valley, California! Brian Part, Carl Sanderson Edwards and I had the privilege of visiting the ranch and viewing the different locations that were used in the original “Little House on the Prairie” TV series as it appears today. The visit was special for Brian Part since it was his first visit back to the location since he left the “Little House” TV series.
I was completely in awe during the visit to the ranch. The scenery alone was very beautiful and such a peaceful atmosphere. I did however notice some areas that had some fire damage from the 2004 Simi Valley fires, but very little. Most of the damage was re-covered by mother nature herself.
My trip back to the prairie started at the Ingalls Homestead.
The theme song opening location
Here's how the hills look that was filmed for the theme song opening. I was so impressed how much nothing hasn't change so I added some before and after shots to the pictures. This was shot right in front of the Ingalls homestead.
The Ingalls homestead
As you can see in the pictures above the location where the “Little House” once stood is very recognizable. What caught my attention was the big tree! This was not far from the creek. Another thing that caught my eye was the road from the Ingalls homestead into town was exactly the same as it was in the series. In the pictures, to the bottom left you can see Brian remembering the Ingalls home. Also, myself on top pictured at the road into town and then the two of us at the spot where the "Little House" once was.
Walking the roads used in the series. The roads haven't changed any! Felt like I was walking into an episode. The ranch was very peaceful!
Tree from “Harvest of Friends”
The tree used in the season one episode, “Harvest of Friends” when Charles climbed to get the kite and fell off. Tree can also be seen in the opening credits when the girls are running down.
The town indeed has changed, but if you compare some of the photos below with some of the town shots on this Web site, not much has changed. The building you see in the photo was used on another production and not “Little House.”
The Sweetheart Tree
What was neat about the visit into town was finding the Sweetheart tree. The girl pictured is Kyle Chavarria who played Laura Ingalls in the Disney Little House.
According to Brian, this is where the Edwards homestead once was. The second picture is the road to the Edwards place. What a walk!
Going into town you will find the famous pond from the season six episode, “Back to School” where Nellie and Laura have the famous mud fight that Almanzo has to break up. The pond had not changed at all. The tree Laura cries is still there as pictured on the far left above. Also, I thought it would be neat to hold up a publicity photo of the two after the fight that took place at that spot.
Overall, the trip back to the prairie was a lot of fun! What made the trip especially fun was hearing the stories from Brian at all the location spots that he remembered from when he was on the show.
Exclusive Video: A Visit To Walnut Grove at Big Sky Movie Ranch
Below is a promo video I produced showcasing the “Little House” locations at Big Sky Movie Ranch in Simi Valley. I also produced a short documentary that will be available soon.