Friday, September 16, 2011

New Survey: Did You Purchase Beyond the Prairie on DVD?

In 1999, CBS produced a TV movie titled Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder. A teenage Laura Ingalls (Meredith Monroe) is living on the South Dakota prairie with her Pa (Richard Thomas), Ma (Lindsay Crouse), and her three sisters. This is also where she meets the man she will eventually marry, Almanzo Wilder, played by Walton (Walt) Goggins.

She leaves home for the first time to teach so that she can help pay for her blind sister, Mary (Barbara Jane Reams) to attend school. Eventually Almanzo asks for her hand. The newlyweds' life isn't easy, however. They deal with crop failures, illness, the death of their infant son, and their house being burned to the ground.

Narrated by an older Laura (Tess Harper), this is a reflection of those years in her life.

The second movie, Beyond the Prairie, Part 2, was released in 2002. Also narrated by Tess Harper, this picked up right where the last movie left off. Having struggled in South Dakota, Almanzo, Laura, and their daughter Rose, journey by covered wagon to the Land of the Big Red Apple- the Ozarks of Missouri.

With only $100 tucked into Laura's writing desk, the young family begins their new life. But it isn't an easy life. Almanzo's illness and stroke has left him too weak to tend the rocky land. They must hire help, but can offer little in means of wages. A precocious Rose doesn't fit in well at school and runs away.

Amidst trying to get settled in Mansfield, Laura receives word that her beloved Pa is dying. She journeys back to De Smet to say her good-byes.

Many fans were not aware of these movies when they first came out. As discussions came about on PrairieTalk about them, more fans were looking for copies of the movies. In 2010, both movies were released on a single DVD. While some (like me) are disappointed that these movies claiming to be the "true" story of Laura Ingalls Wilder contain many inconsistencies to her real life, I am still glad to have this DVD as part of my collection.

Have you purchased it or do you plan to? If not, can you tell us why?

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