"South Dakota's Great Faces:

Laura Ingalls Wilder, DeSmet, and "Little House of the Prairie Series"

Bryant Dakotan, July 7, 2010


One of South Dakota's best known Great Faces is Laura Ingalls Wilder, a woman who charmed the world with her stories of life on the prairies.

Wilder was born in the woods of Wisconsin on Feb. 7, 1867. Her family moved across the prairie, making stops in Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and finally settling in De Smet, South Dakota, in 1879.

Wilder began writing the "Little House" series in 1932. Her daughter, Rose, encouraged her to tell the tales and memories of life on the frontier. By the early 1950s, Wilder's stories were being read worldwide. The series contains eight books, five of which have settings in De Smet, South Dakota.

Wilder was 76 years old when she finished the final book in her "Little House" series. After her husband died in 1949, Wilder continued to live at their home in Missouri, Rocky Ridge Farm, until she died in 1957 at the age of 90.

Her last book, "On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894," was published in 1962. Wilder submitted portions of that diary to the De Smet newspaper,which is where they first appeared.

Wilder's book, and the resulting television series based on her books, have depicted life on the prairie for generations. The popularity and appeal of the "Little House" series have grown exponentially over the years to include both national and international audiences.

The De Smet Chamber of Commerce estimates between 25,000 and 30,000 people travel to De Smet each year to visit the town where the Ingalls family homesteaded.

South Dakota's Great Faces weekly p-ress release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight people who have had significant impacts on South Dakota, particularly in the visitor industry. Click on the special "South Dakota's Great Faces" link at to access the complete list of articles.


Note: As our Plain View Farm Site Hostess has told you already, Laura's home in De Smet is just a few miles from Plain View Farm in Rural Bryant! We have had website visitors too who have said to us that they were in De Smet to visit Laura's home and the other sights she mentioned in the town and area, and how much they loved the trip there and also appreciated our own prairie farm website, that reminded them of the "Little House" series that they read and loved.

De Smet has a pageant, held yearly, featuring Laura Ingalls Wilder's series and her homelife in De Smet, with the players dressed in the clothes of the 19th century, and horse and wagon rides for the children, a picnic, and other fun things to see and do besides the viewing of the wonderful, traditional play and pageant itself prsented in period costumes and by local actors, both adults and children. It would be an unforgettable experience to see and participate in, for spectators are invited to take part in many of the activities featured. You might want to go to the De Smet Chamber of Commerce website and gain information about this yearly event and make some plans now to attend the next pageant. Also you might want to check out other articles on South Dakota's "Great Faces" series, offered at their website, link given below.

Permission to use this article for public information, from the Bryant Dakotan paper July 7, 2010, being sought.

Format only: (c) 2010, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved

Plain View Heritage Home Page 1

South Dakota's "Great Faces" series, including Laura Ingalls Wilder