Characters: Little House on the Prairie
The Little House Series - Main characters
open/close all folders
Laura Ingalls Wilder
The original pioneer girl and author of the first Little House Series.
- All Girls Like Ponies: One wonders if Almanzo could have courted her at all, without his horses. Lampshaded by Ma at one point:
- "Are you sure Laura? Sometimes, I think you care more for the horses, than you do for their master."
- Big Sister Instinct: Don't bully her little sister. Just don't.
- Height Angst: Goes along with Pintsized Powerhouse below. Once she hits her teenage years, she often inwardly laments how little she is. It only gets worse when she goes to teach her first term of school: she's afraid her students won't mind her, because she's so small. As it turns out, she's right, though she manages to handle it.
- Outdoorsy Gal: Prefers working in the fields to staying inside.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Laura was small even by the standards of her day, when people in general were shorter than they are now (she was barely five feet tall as an adult). Despite this, she's strong enough to rip the bolts out of a bench that had been fastened to the floor of her schoolhouse. She has no problem helping bring in the harvest or assisting Pa with construction on their various homes. On several occasions he calls her "strong as a little French horse."
- Plucky Girl
- Lady of Adventure: Has inherited her father's 'itching foot'.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Mary. Laura is active and adventurous, while Mary is gentle and passive.
- Spirited Young Lady: Spends her free time playing with the boys and driving horses as oppose to sewing and knitting.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Subverted: though Laura earns money working as a seamstress several times, she hates sewing.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The tomboy to Mary's girly girl.
Laura's husband and the main character of Farmer Boy
- Amazon Chaser: You get the impression that he likes Laura for her spirited temper (it seems to amuse him), and he's very indulgent of her more tomboyish tendencies. While Pa never let Laura ride or drive his horses because she might get hurt, Almanzo lets her drive all of his horses and buys her a pony just for fun. He's also respectful when she tells him she doesn't want to promise to obey him as part of their marriage vows, telling her that he'd never expect her to take the vow seriously even if she did say it, but agreeing to ask the preacher to leave it out anyway.
- Cool Horse: It's his horses, a pair of matched Morgans named Prince and Lady, that first catch Laura's attention. At a Fourth of July celebration in Little Town on the Prairie, he enters them in a buggy race despite not having a buggy and having to make do with a much heavier cart than any of the other competitors are driving... and wins.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Drives forty miles in a blizzard to bring Laura home for the weekend. After she's said she's not interested in him.
- The Determinator: Undertakes a perilous journey through the snow in order to find grain for the town.
- That's nothing. He continues to maintain both of his farms despite debilitating illness and suffers a stroke for it. And it still doesn't stop him from trying, even though he was historically dependent on a cane the rest of his life (which is never mentioned in the Rose books).
- Embarrassing First Name: He explains to Laura that it's a Wilder family tradition, derived from the name of a Moor ("Al-Manzoor" or something to that effect) who saved the life of one of his ancestors.
- Nice Guy: A defining feature.
Laura's father, known for his itching foot that sent the Ingalls family pioneering across America.
Laura's older sister.
- Literal-Minded: More in the sense that she dislikes metaphors and similes rather than being unable to understand them.
- Laura: "Sheep sorrel tastes like springtime."Mary: "It really tastes a little like lemon flavoring, Laura."
- Proper Lady: Always perfectly demure and well-behaved. Laura, who plays the opposing Spirited Young Lady, always feels inferior as a result.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Laura. Mary is pretty and ladylike, while Laura is energetic and somewhat rowdy.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Scarlet Fever? Check. Blindness? Check. Emotion....
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Accomplished seamstress and actually 'likes' it as well.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl to Laura's tomboy.
Laura's little sister, known as "Baby Carrie" up until Plum Creek or so. She's too young to be Laura's playmate, but she later comes to look up to and admire Laura, while Laura appreciates her company and matter-of-fact sense.
- Cool Big Sis: Views Laura as one.
- Ill Girl: The malnutrition the family faced during The Long Winter hits Carrie a lot harder than the rest of them; she was described as 'spindly' and 'delicate' beforehand, and remains sickly long after the others have recovered. She suffers frequently from what sound like migraines, and almost faints after standing too long at the blackboard in school. She doesn't appear to have fully recovered until the ending of These Happy Golden Years — almost four years later. (She lived to be seventy-five, so her health must have got more robust as she gold older.)
- Shrinking Violet: While Laura and Mary are both rather shy, they hide it better than Carrie does.
Laura's baby sister. Grace was only eight or so when Laura married and left home, so she never featured heavily in the books. Rose describes her as 'jolly' in On the Way Home, and when she isn't acting rather spoiled, she is a lot like Laura.
Laura's daughter and main character of the spin off series 'The Rose Years'.
Caroline Quiner Ingalls
Laura's mother and main character of the spin off series The Caroline Years about her childhood on the Western frontier.
- Brainy Brunette.
- Beware of the Nice Ones: Gentle, ladylike Ma shocks Laura when she remarks with unusual fierceness that Almanzo, who is courting Laura, is likely to get Laura's neck broken driving her around behind half-trained horses and she hopes he breaks his own first. Ouch.
- Determined Homesteader's Wife: Practically the trope namer.
- Determined Homesteader's Children: Like her daughter she grew up on the Western Frontier.
- Country Mouse: When she visits her aunt and uncle in the city. She grows out of it though.
- Parents as People: Laura didn't sugarcoat the fact that sweet, gentle Ma was also unabridged-ly racist when it came to Native Americans.
- Plucky Girl
- Proper Lady: As a child and later, an adult. Laura comments on it frequently.
- Schoolmarm: Unlike her daughter, she genuinely loved teaching, and giving it up to get married and follow Charles wherever he wandered was a difficult decision.
- The Smart Girl: The most intelligent of her sisters and even goes to the city to further her studies.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Seems sweet as pie at first glance... then you realize she's spent her life hiking across the Wild West, facing Indians, wolves and bandits.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Subverted. Although she's an accomplished seamstress, she actually hates sewing as much as Laura.
Laura's grandmother and main character of the spin-off series The Charlotte Years, about her childhood in Boston.
- Determined Homesteader's Wife: Or just determined homesteader, as she is a single mother (on the Western frontier no less). This pushes her to become a...
- Determined Widow
- Massive Numbered Siblings: If you can track down a late-'90s/early 2000s printing of the spin-off books, with an unabridged family tree, Charlotte had by far the most siblings of any of the protagonists, though many died young.
- Plucky Girl
- Textile Work Is Feminine: The sole Little House protaganist who enjoys sewing.
Laura's great grandmother and main character of the spin off series 'The Martha Years' about her childhood in Scotland.
- Outdoorsy Gal: Is increasingly frustrated as she is forced to stay inside, instead of exploring the Scottish highlands.
- Hot-Blooded: Martha's temper causes several...issues during the series. (Like scaring her governess out of a job).
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted. Martha is a complete Tomboy despite being an excellent cook. Ironically its her older sister Proper Lady Grisie who struggles in the kitchen.
- Fiery Red Head: In spades.
- Lady of Adventure: Emigrates to America in the 1800's despite having a comfortable and wealthy life in Scotland.
- Rebellious Spirit: Martha does not appreciate being told what to do.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With older sister Grisie. See Tomboy and Girly Girl for more details.
- Spirited Young Lady.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Lew. She's the daughter of a lord, he's the local blacksmith. Historically it is established fact her parents disapproved of the match and probably a major reason they emigrated to America to get married.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Grisie's girly girl. Martha likes footracing and playing with the village boys. Grisie prefers to stay inside sewing.
- Uptown Girl: Again for Lew, as Martha is gentry and he is working class.
- Adventure Rebuff: When Almanzo initially proposes going to find the wheat, Royal wants to be the one to go with him, but Almanzo says one of them has to survive.
- The Caretaker: When Laura and Almanzo come down with diphtheria, he's the one who comes out from town to nurse them, figuring that he's single and there's no one he can spread it to.
- Those Two Guys: He and Almanzo sometimes come across as such, from Laura's point of view.
- We Named the Monkey Jack: Twice. First, Almanzo names a mule "Roy" after him, probably meant to be unflattering. Later, he names a colt "Royal," saying that Royal was the crown prince of his family and that this colt would be so of the Wilders' horses— this was probably meant to be flattering.
Eliza Jane Wilder Thayer
- Cool Aunt: To Rose, as she's much more modern and forward thinking than Laura and Almanzo, who are generally content with things as they are. While Rose grew up on her mother's stories of homesteading with her family, E.J. homesteaded as a single woman.
- Doting Parent: To her son, Wilder Thayer, and to Rose when she lives with her during high school.
- Cool Big Sis: She is probably Almanzo's favorite sibling.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She likes playing outside with her little brother and helping with the farm chores, but when Almanzo asks if she wouldn't rather be a boy, with less restrictions on behavior, she eventually tells him no."Boys aren't pretty like girls are, and they can't wear hair ribbons."