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Summary of Little House on the Prairie

Chapter 1, Going West


Pa and Ma and their daughters Mary, Laura, and Baby Carrie leave the Big Woods of
Wisconsin to move West to Indian country. They are moving because the Big Woods is
getting too crowded. Pa sells the house and ac!s all their belongings into a covered wagon.
They say goodbye to their family and leave early one winter morning to cross the Mississii
before the ice brea!s. They travel across Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and into rairies of
"ansas. #long the way, they trade their tired horses for two blac! mustangs that Mary and
Laura name Pet and Pat. Their dog $ac! travels the whole distance by wal!ing under the
wagon.
Chapter 2, Crossing the Creek
The wagon slides slowly down a narrow ravine in the cliffs, to reach a swiftly moving
cree!, where $ac! and the horses drin! water. The cree! is running high, but the Pa decides
to cross it. Laura wishes $ac! could ride in the wagon, but Pa says he can swim. The horses
ull the wagon into the cree!. The wagon starts floating, and the horses start swimming. The
cree! suddenly rises, and Pa %ums in to swim alongside the horses, guiding them. The
wagon ma!es it to the other side, but $ac! is gone. Pa searches for $ac!, to no avail. They
leave the cree! and travel u another ravine to the &igh Prairie.
Chapter 3, Camp on the High Prairie
The family stos to set u cam for the night. Pa clears a section of grass to build a
camfire. Laura and Mary hel Ma ma!e a suer. Pa says there is good land, timber at the
cree! bottoms and lenty of game. The family thin!s about settling there. They hear wolves
howling in the dar!ness. #fter dinner something aears from out of the dar! and
aroaches the camfire. Pa grabs his rifle, thin!ing it is a wolf or coyote. It turns out to be
$ac!, who somehow made it across the cree!. The family is hay to have him bac!.
Chapter 4, Prairie Day
The family wa!es u and has brea!fast. Pa goes hunting. Mary and Laura hel tidy
the cam and then lay on the rairie, while Ma washes clothes. Laura tells Ma she wants to
see an Indian aoose. Pa returns with a large rabbit and two rairie hens for dinner. &e
says the rairie is filled with game and the cree! is filled with fish. &e wants to settle there.
Chapter , !he House on the Prairie
The family brea!s cam and moves across the rairie, eventually stoing at a sot
where the cree! is close by. They unload the wagon and ma!e a tent with the wagon cover.
Laura finds an old Indian trail nearby. 'or days, Pa cuts and hauls logs to build a house and
stable. &e starts to build the log cabin, but wor! stos when a log falls on Ma, sraining her
an!le. 'ortunately, Pa meets a bachelor neighbor, Mr. (dwards, a coule miles away to hel
finish the house. In one day, they construct walls, with holes for windows and a door, and a
s!eleton roof. Ma invites Mr. (dwards to stay for dinner. Pa entertains everyone with the
fiddle, and Mr. (dwards dances.
Chapter ", #o$ing %n
The log cabin has no floor, but Pa wants to move in for rotection from the wolves. Ma
and the girls clean the wood chis from the floor, and Pa uses the wagon cover as a
temorary roof. Ma wants to send a letter to their family in Wisconsin, but the nearest ost
office is )* miles away, in the town of Indeendence. Pa hangs a +uilt over the door oening,
and they send their first night in their new home.
Chapter &, !he Wolf'Pa(k
Pa and Mr. (dwards build a stable for the horses. Pet gives birth to a colt, whom the
girls name Bunny. Pa sets off on Patty to e,lore more of the rairie. Later that afternoon,
$ac! and Pet start acting nervous and agitated. -uddenly Pa and Patty come racing bac!
across the rairie. .uring suer, Pa says he met more neighbors along the cree!. &e too!
a short cut across the rairie, and a ac! of fifty, large wolves aeared and surrounded him.
'ortunately, they must have %ust eaten a meal because they did not attac!. Pa !et Patty to a
trot, and the ac! followed them, eventually moving away to the cree!. Later that night, while
the family is sleeing, the wolves come and form a ring around the house. They start
howling. Pa and $ac! stay u all night, watching.
Chapter ), !*o Stout Doors
The ne,t morning, the wolf ac! is gone, having followed a herd of deer. Pa gets
timber, and Laura hels him build the door. There are no more nails so Pa uses wooden
egs. They eat the last of the salt or! for dinner, so the ne,t day Pa goes hunting. Then he
and Laura build a door for the stable.
Chapter +, , -ire on the Hearth
#fter heling Mr. (dwards build his house, Pa starts on a firelace. &e ta!es Laura
and Mary with him to the cree! to collect roc!s. Pa uses a mi,ture of clay and water to lay the
roc!s for the firelace and art of the chimney. &e uses salings and mud laster to finish the
to of the chimney. &e cuts a hole in the side of the house and builds a mantel around it.
Then he ma!es a table, and Ma coo!s a rairie hen in the firelace. The family eats inside,
using chun!s of big logs for chairs.
Chapter 1., , /oof an0 a -loor
#fter chores, Mary and Laura send their days outside on the rairie. Laura is getting
imatient that she hasn/t seen any Indians yet. Pa hauls logs for days and slits them into
long slabs. Mr. (dwards gives him nails, and Pa lays the roof. Then he hauls more logs and
slits them in half. &e lays them face u, side by side, to ma!e a floor. 'inally he fills the
crac!s in the walls by wedging thin stris of wood and lastering them with mud. Pa says if
he earns enough money from hunting and traing, he will buy glass for the windows.
Chapter 11, %n0ians in the House
Pa leaves to go hunting. $ac! wants to go, but Pa chains him to the stable to guard the
house. &e orders Laura and Mary to not let $ac! loose. The girls are sitting by $ac!,
comforting him, when $ac! starts to growl. Two Indians aroach and go into the house.
$ac! starts growling and lunging, the girls fear for Ma and Carrie. Laura wants to let $ac! go,
but Mary says no. Laura and Mary run into the house. The Indians are standing by the
firelace, and Ma is coo!ing. The Indians smell badly because they are wearing s!un! s!ins.
They eat the cornbread and leave. Pa returns. Ma says they are short of cornmeal, and the
Indians too! Pa/s tobacco. Pa chastises Laura for wanting to let $ac! loose.
Chapter 12, -resh Water to Drink
Pa ma!es a bedstead for him and Ma, with a shelf on to for storage. Ma fills the
straw0tic! mattress with clean, dry grass. Pa starts digging a well. &e digs until he is too
dee to throw the dirt out. &e trades wor! with a neighbor, Mr. -cott. They build a windlass
with two buc!ets over the well. They ta!e turns digging and turning the windlass to haul the
buc!ets of dirt. (very day, Pa sends a lit candle down the well to chec! for oisonous gas.
Mr. -cott thin!s it/s unnecessary. 1ne morning Mr. -cott says the well is fine, even though he
hasn/t sent a candle. &e starts digging and loses consciousness. Pa ties the windlass roe
around himself and goes down the well to rescue him. Pa lights a small sac! of gunowder
and throws it down the well to diserse the gas. They resume digging and finally reach water.
Pa builds a latform over the well, and the family has fresh drin!ing water.
Chapter 13, !e1as Longhorns
Cowboys come through the rairie, with a cattle herd, on the way to Te,as. They hire
Pa to hel !ee the cattle out of the ravines as they cross the cree! bottoms. #s ayment,
the cowboys give Pa a cow, with her calf, and a chun! of beef. The family en%oys beef stea!s
for dinner, and Carrie gets the first cu of fresh mil!.
Chapter 14, %n0ian Camp
It is midsummer and the days are hot. Pa, Mary and Laura wal! across the rairie to a
deserted Indian cam. They see ashes from the camfires, holes from the tent oles, and
trac!s from moccasins and animals. They find Indian beads, and Mary and Laura collect a
handful each. Mary gives her beads to Carrie, and Laura does too because she doesn/t want
to loo! selfish. Ma gives them string to ma!e a nec!lace for the baby.
Chapter 1, -e$er 232 ,gue
The hot weather brings swarms of mos+uitoes, and everyone is constantly bitten.
Laura is achy and feverish, and the whole family soon is sic!. Ma and Pa try to ta!e care of
the girls, but eventually they are too wea! to do anything. .r. Tan, a blac! doctor who cares
for the Indians, haens by the house and finds them. &e and Mrs. -cott nurse them bac! to
health. -ettlers all over the rairie have the 2fever /n/ ague3, which is !nown today as malaria
and is contracted through mos+uitoes. The family is very wea!, and Pa recuerates in the
house by ma!ing a roc!ing chair for Ma.
Chapter 1", -ire in the Chimney
'all comes and Pa reares to travel to Indeendence for sulies. &e goes hunting
to get enough meat for Ma and the girls while he is away. The afternoon is cold and windy,
and Ma builds a fire. They hear crac!ling in the chimney, and Ma goes outside to find the to
of the chimney on fire. -he !noc!s the burning salings off the chimney with a long ole. #
burning stic! rolls under Mary, who is sitting in the roc!ing chair with Carrie. Laura ulls the
roc!ing chair away, and throws the stic! bac! into the firelace. Ma douses the fire with
water. Pa comes home and rebuilds the chimney with green salings and mud.
Chapter 1&, Pa Goes to !o*n
Pa leaves for Indeendence. Ma, the girls and $ac! are nervous without him. Mr.
(dwards comes by everyday to chec! on them and hel with chores. Mrs. -cott comes by to
visit and tal!s about how bad the Indians are. Mr. (dwards says Indians are caming in the
bluffs. The days are e,tremely cold and windy. Pa finally returns home, with lenty of
sulies and glass for the windows.
Chapter 1), !he !all %n0ian
Indians start riding by on the ath ne,t to the house. $ac! does not li!e them and has
to stay chained u. #n Indian comes to the house. Ma coo!s dinner, and Pa and the Indian
eat silently together. Then they silently smo!e. The 1sage Indian sea!s 'rench, but Pa
doesn/t understand. Winter is coming, and Pa hunts and tras everyday. &e stretches and
dries animal s!ins for trading ne,t sring. 1ne day while he is gone, two mean0loo!ing
Indians come. They ta!e all the cornbread and tobacco. 1ne wants to ta!e the animal furs,
but the other stos him. Pa tells Laura the government will ma!e the Indians move west, now
that settlers are coming to the rairie.
Chapter 1+, #r4 50*ar0s #eets Santa Claus
The winter days are cold, windy and rainy. Mary and Laura !now that -anta will not
come because it/s not snowing and the cree! is too high. Pa shoots a wild tur!ey for
Christmas dinner, and Ma hangs the girls/ stoc!ings anyway. (arly Christmas morning, Mr.
(dwards aears at the door, free4ing cold from crossing the cree! and bearing gifts for Mary
and Laura. Ma uts the resents in the stoc!ings, while Mr. (dwards tells the girls how -anta
met him in Indeendence and as!ed him to deliver the resents. In each stoc!ing is a tin cu
5so Mary and Laura don/t have to share anymore6, a eermint stic!, a little heart0shaed
ca!e, and a enny. Mr. (dwards also brings sweet otatoes for the dinner. (veryone has a
hay Christmas.
Chapter 2., , S(ream in the 3ight
The girls send the cold winter days inside, while Pa hunts and tras. 1ne night, a
terrible scream wa!es everyone u. Pa thin!s it might be Mrs. -cott and goes out to chec!
on them. The -cott house is eaceful, and on the way bac!, Pa hears the scream again,
under his feet. It/s a anther in a treeto in the bluffs below. Pa does not let the girls lay
outside until he has !illed the anther. &e trac!s it for days but doesn/t find it. &e meets an
Indian who, through sign language, tells him he !illed the anther the day before.
Chapter 21, %n0ian 6am7oree
Pa leaves for Indeendence to trade his furs. 1ne day, Laura and Mary hear the
Indians chanting. Ma is nervous. They do their chores early and loc! themselves in the
house. The Indian chanting continues into the night. Pa returns and says there is some !ind
of Indian %amboree going on at the cree!. In town, he bought a low and seeds, along with
food sulies. &e brings crac!ers and ic!les for a treat. &e gives Ma calico material for a
dress and the girls each, a headband.
Chapter 22, Prairie -ire
-ring comes, and Pa starts lowing the field. Many Indians are riding along the trail
now. They come to the house often, for food and tobacco. 1ne day billowing blac! clouds
cover the sun. Pa runs from the field with the low, shouting that it is a rairie fire. &e and
the horses low a furrow around the house and stable. Laura and Ma fill a tub with water and
soa! sac!s in it. Pa starts small fires on the other side of the furrow, and Ma beats the flames
that cross the furrow with the wet sac!s. The rairie fire aroaches fast, and Pa/s bac!fire
meets it. Pa and Ma beat out small fires in the yard. The fire roars ast and away. Mr.
(dwards and Mr. -cott wonder if the Indians set the fire to get rid of the settlers. Pa says the
Indians are eaceful, and many tribes have gathered in the bluffs to get ready for the sring
buffalo hunt.
Chapter 23, %n0ian War'Cry
More Indians are at the cree!, and there is an uneasiness in the air. Pa leaves the field
early and loc!s everyone in at night. They hear wild drumming and yelling from the Indian
cams, and then the war0cries start. Pa sees an 1sage Indian racing along the trail towards
the Indian cams. The days are +uiet, but the war0cries resume every night. 7o one goes
outside, and no one can slee. Pa says the tribes are +uarreling. 'inally the tribes leave the
cams, traveling west and south. Pa meets an 1sage Indian who tells him that the other
tribes wanted to massacre the settlers. The 1sage Indian that Pa saw racing toward the
cams was a great soldier who stood u to the tribes and threatened to fight them.
Chapter 24, %n0ians /i0e ,*ay
The rairie is eaceful again. 1ne morning the family sees Indians riding on the trail,
heading west. They are led by the great 1sage soldier. #ll day long, 1sage Indians ride by
the house, including women and children. Laura sees the Indian babies and wants one.
Chapter 2, Sol0iers
-ring comes, and grass starts to grow on the burned rairie. The family lants seeds
in the field and in a garden by the house. Mr. (dwards and Mr. -cott tell Pa that the
government now says they are 8 miles into Indian territory and have to leave. -oldiers are
coming to ta!e the settlers out, but Pa says they will leave tomorrow. &e decides to head
north towards Indeendence. Pa gives Mr. -cott the cow and calf. Mr. (dwards says
goodbye to the family. Ma and Pa get the covered wagon ready for loading the ne,t morning.
They have been on the rairie for a year.
Chapter 2", Going 8ut
The family loads the wagon and sets out north, along the cree!. They come across a
coule sitting on their wagon. -omeone had stolen their horses during the night. The coule
refuses to leave their wagon, and belongings, to ride with the family to Indeendence. Pa
says he will send a soldier for them, once they reach town. 7ight comes and the family stos
at a burned house with a well. They set u cam and eat dinner. Pa lays the fiddle until the
girls fall aslee.