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Little Town on the Prairie


PIERRE, S.D. – A little town in southeastern South Dakota, De Smet, celebrates the life of world-renowned author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, by preserving historic sites and hosting a pageant each summer which re-enacts one of Wilder’s novels. This “Little Town on the Prairie” is one of South Dakota’s Great Places.

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder homesteaded in De Smet with her pioneering family at the age of 12. The farming community and surrounding prairie served as the setting for six of her “Little House on the Prairie” books.

Today, visitors from across the world visit De Smet to see the preserved historic Ingalls sites. Visitors can also enjoy the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant three consecutive weekends in July. Actors in the pageant portray pioneer life as experienced by Laura and her family.

In July 2011, the pageant will celebrate its 40th anniversary. This year, “By the Shores of Silver Lake” will be re-enacted July 8-10, 15-17, and 22-24. The gates open at 6 p.m. and the live show begins at 8 p.m. Admission prices are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Children ages five and under are free.

At the Ingalls Homestead, visitors can relive the “Little House” stories by seeing, touching, smelling and hearing the sounds of the prairie. Visitors will enjoy covered wagon rides, experience a schoolhouse, step into a dug-out, and other pioneering activities. Daily summer hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is $10 for ages five and up; children under five are free.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes, The Loftus Store and the De Smet Depot Museum also contribute to De Smet’s celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder.


South Dakota’s Great Places weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, designed to highlight places in South Dakota that are unique to travelers and residents alike. View our newsroom to access the complete list of articles.

Information for this press release was gathered from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes website and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society.