Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder is now available on DVD at Amazon.com.
While there is some uncertainty whether this DVD includes the first Beyond the Prairie movie and its sequel, fans have anxiously awaited the release to DVD.
Using Wilder's books as the source of inspiration, Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder finds a teenage Laura Ingalls (Meredith Monroe), Pa (Richard Thomas), Ma (Lindsay Crouse), and Laura's three sisters living in De Smet, SD. Eventually she meets the dashing Almanzo Wilder (Walt Goggins), they marry and set up a little house of their own.
Crop failures, the death of their infant son, a chimney fire destroying their home, and a bout with diphtheria that leaves Almanzo permanently impaired, leads the Wilders to the decision that they must say goodbye to Ma and Pa and leave De Smet in search of new opportunities.
In the sequel, the Wilders end their journey in Mansfield, Missouri, where they purchase a small farm and some apple trees. They meet a man who helps out around the place since Almanzo is still weakened by the effects of his stroke. Their daughter, Rose, experiences some trouble at school, and Laura travels back to De Smet, SD to see her dying father one last time.
I always felt these movies were a nice way to honor Laura's legacy. While they followed the books more closely than Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie series, I still felt they took a bit of creative license in spots. Almanzo and Laura consummate their marriage in a field. That was a stretch for me. Rose is only a toddler when they leave De Smet at the end of the first movie, but she is at least 5 or 6 at the start of the sequel, which finds the Wilders still riding in their covered wagon to Missouri. The scene between Laura and her dying father is very touching, but it almost seems like they wanted to infer that Charles Ingalls (Pa) was responsible for Laura writing her books so that Rose wouldn't forget about their triumphs and trials. As Laura enthusiasts know, it was Rose, who was an adult and also a well-established writer, that prodded her mother to pen her now classic books.
I plan to purchase this DVD. If this is only the first movie, which seems likely, I hope it sells well so that they release the sequel.