On the trail of Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 6, 2009 - 3:33 PM

A mother and her sons take their passion for "Little House" books on the road.

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NixmomMay. 6, 0911:43 AM

When I was a little girl, I dreamed about taking a trip just like yours. I still haven't, although I have visited Pepin and DeSmet. I remember how thrilled I was to "finally" cross paths with Laura, even if it was nearly 100 years later. Thank you so much for this story--now if I could just get my boys to catch the "Laura bug"!

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a1batrossMay. 6, 0911:55 AM

There, I said it. I have never cared for Pa Ingalls. Uprooted his family from a perfectly good home in Wisconsin, homesteads on the wrong side of the treaty line, and nearly starves the family to death in the middle of South Dakota. Not my pick for Father of the Year.

Great story, however. Maria Baca is a real treasure at the Strib. She should get a raise.

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bracystakeMay. 6, 0912:06 PM

If you wanted to take a journey of the books, Plum Creek and Walnut Grove are MUST SEE's. As described in this article, Plum Creek really is lovely and a lot of fun can be had in Walnut Grove around pageant time. It's amazing how well preserved some of these areas remain in SW MN. Thank you, Ms. Baca, for a very nice read.

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Kristal27May. 6, 0912:42 PM

What a colorful description of every grown up little girl's dream trip. It's just too bad that Pa never had a crystal ball, a gps, or as much common sense as a1batross does. Then again, if most pioneers hadn't gone against their better judgement, where would we be today? At least we'd all be on the "right" side of that treaty line. Your story was a treat.

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thisissodumbMay. 6, 0912:52 PM

By reading this, I feel like I just got to take the trip I have always wanted to take. Kudos to you for giving your children the gift of this trip. I know that of course my parents raised me to be a good person, but I think that reading those Little House books over and over while I was growing up taught me just as much about being a good person. I think it'd be interesting to have a trip for groups of adults that loved those books. I know I wouldn't be able to drag my family along, but would love to experience the trip with other people that are as enthusiastic about Laura and her life as I have been since I was little.

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ACers99May. 6, 0912:58 PM

"When Pa was at home the gun always lay across those two wooden hooks above the door. ... The gun was always loaded, and always above the door so that Pa could get it quickly and easily, any time he needed a gun." — Laura Ingalls Wilder

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puzzeySAMay. 6, 09 1:00 PM

Very interesting story. Next trip maybe they can get down to Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura and Almanzo finally settled and built Rocky Ridge Farm together. The home is now a museum with some wonderful treasures!

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ccane42May. 6, 09 1:01 PM

Love the story! I would love to go to these places although I believe I've been past the house in DeSmet when I was a lot younger. But there is one more place to go - Mansfield (I think), Missouri. It's where Laura and her husband moved to and I think where she spent her last days, and wrote the books. There is a museum there as well with the little china shepherdess in it. Very cool!

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Joekewl22May. 6, 09 1:02 PM

If the Laura Ingalls Wilder story interested you, you may also appreciate the trilogy by O.E. Rolvaag, Giants in the Earth, Peder Victorius and Their Fathers God. - Amazing stories of settling the midwest.

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JoelA1968May. 6, 09 1:10 PM

Thanks for such a wonderful article! Makes me want to take my family there someday soon.

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