Michael Landon fans know that before he starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder's father on Little House on the Prairie, the beloved show based on the historic Little House books, he was already well-known for playing Little Joe Cartwright on the classic Western series Bonanza. But did you know that the patriarch of the Ingalls family wasn't the only thing the NBC show took from Bonanza? It was also where they found the Little House On The Prairie theme song.
Landon was definitely more than just an actor on the set of Little House. He was incredibly active behind the scenes as a producer and directed the most episodes of anyone throughout the television series' run. The actor brought over numerous Bonanza cast members to appear on his new show, so it should come as no surprise that he also wanted to bring along composer David Rose.
In addition to Bonanza, Rose had previously written music for The High Chaparral and Dundee and the Culhane, so he was no stranger to the Old West or period pieces. When putting together the theme for Little House, he used a piece of music he had previously written for one of the later seasons of Bonanza. The episode, "Top Hand," aired in 1971. Just three years later, it became the famous theme music for the classic show.
The intro shows members of the Ingalls family rolling into their home in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Well, Caroline (Karen Grassle) and Charles Ingalls were featured riding their carriage while the Ingalls girls, Laura (Melissa Gilbert), Carrie (Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) and Mary Ingalls (Melissa Sue Anderson) are running down a hill. The music was the perfect way to introduce the family for the first time in each episode.
David Rose, who previously won an Emmy Award for his work on Bonanza in 1971, won two Emmys for his work on the Little House on the Prairie TV show in 1979 and 1982.