Little House on the Prairie Character List 📖

‘Little House on the Prairie’ is a classic of American literature. This novel, and the others in the Little House series, were inspired by real events, and featuring the author and her family members as characters.

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Throughout this novel, the author describes the stresses and dangers her family endured as they sought out a new life in Kansas and built their own home. It wasn’t easy, but through perseverance and sticking together, the family made it through this chapter of their lives. 


Laura is the narrator of ‘Little House on the Prairie and one of the Ingalls’ children. She narrates the novel from a slightly older perspective than when she was experiencing it and refers to herself in the third person as “Laura.” She goes along with what her family wants but feels sad to leave her home in the Big Woods. She has noticed the same issues as her father, that the area is becoming more populated and that animals are scarcer. 

She was the second daughter that Ma and Pa had together and was born in 1867 in Pepin, Wisconsin. 


The oldest of the daughters. She and Laura help with chores but are too young to be of too much help to the family. 

Baby Carrie 

The youngest of the Ingalls siblings. 


Pa, or Charles Phillip Ingalls, was born in Cuba, New York, in 1836 and died in De Smet, South Dakota, in 1902. Although his character would have more children in future books, in this particular book, he has three daughters: Mary, Laura, and Carrie. He married Caroline Ingalls in 1860. As he felt the Big Woods of Wisconsin was becoming too crowded, he decided to move out to Indian Territory. 

In the book, he is portrayed as wise, brave, and kind, and Laura looks up to him. He was the one who led his family on the journey and eventually built their house with the help of neighbors. He protects his family from any of the dangers they might face in Kansas, including threats from Native Americans and wolves. One particularly good example of his wisdom can be seen when he and a neighbor are working on digging a well together. Pa insists that they lower a candle into the well to make sure that there is no poisonous gas. But the neighbor decides it’s not necessary. When he’s in the well, he passes out, and Pa has to rescue him. 


Ma, or Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls, was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in 1839 and died in De Smet, South Dakota, in 1924. She grew up to be a school teacher before having her own children. In the book, it is her responsibility to pack the covered wagon and take care of her children and Pa. 

As well as cooking, cleaning, and tending to the children, she also agreed to move to Indian Territory with her husband despite her aversion to Indians because of stereotypes prevalent in the day. Native Americans are the subject of much controversy in these books because of Caroline’s feelings toward them and her character’s remarks about them. 

In ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ Ma spends most of her time with her children while Pa works on navigating their wagon and finding them somewhere new to live. 


The Ingalls’ family dog. He is lost during a river crossing early in the book before returning that night. He helps guard the family with Pa when they hear wolves at night. 

Mr. Edwards 

A bachelor neighbor that the Ingalls meet after moving across the prairie. He helps Pa finish the house when a log falls on Ma and sprains her ankle. He also dances for the family. Later, Pa and Mr. Edwards build a stable for the horses, and Pa helps Mr. Edwards build his home. He fears the Native Americans in the area and comes to check on the Ingalls when Pa travels to Independence to get supplies. He stays behind when the Ingalls family leaves. 

Mr. Scott 

Mr. Scott trades work with Pa, and they help one another build a well. Mr. Scott doesn’t believe checking for poisonous gas in the well is necessary and nearly dies because of it. Mr. Scott later helps the family when they get malaria. He stays behind when the Ingalls family leaves their land. 

Dr. Tan 

A black doctor who cares for the Native Americans in the area and who helps take care of the family when they get malaria. 

The “Indians” 

A term used to describe the Native Americans living in Kansas and on whose land the Ingalls settled. The family is under the impression that they’ll be granted ownership of the land if they build there, something they later learn is not true. The Native Americans are a threat to the family and are often spoken out in demeaning and racially insensitive terms. They ride next to the house and sometimes come in for food and tobacco. 

Osage Indian 

The name was given to one man who tells Pa that the various tribes in the area want to kill all the settlers. 

Couple on the Road 

The couple on the road feature in the novel’s final pages when the family is traveling away from their home. They’ve had their horses stolen and refuse to leave their wagon and their possessions to travel into town. Pa assures them that they’ll send a police officer back to help them. 


Who is the protagonist in Little House on the Prairie

There is no single protagonist in this novel. The Ingalls family is at the heart of it, with the narrator, Laura (the second daughter), describing events. They all want the best for one another and help each other, and even strangers, whenever they can. 

What is the main conflict of Little House on the Prairie

The main conflict of ‘Little House on the Prairie is traveling to and building a home in Kansas. Man vs. nature and man vs. man is the central conflict types found in this novel. 

What happens in Little House on the Prairie

In the story of ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ the family leaves the Big Woods and travels across the country to Kansas, where they try to settle in “Indian Territory.” They build a home and then learn that the land won’t be granted to them and that they have to leave. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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