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  • In the 1930's and 40's, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote nine children's books about her life growing up on the American frontier during the 1870's and 80's. These books, collectively known as the "Little House books," are without any question among the greatest and most beloved ever written for children. It's been over 60 years since the first Little House book was published, but there has not been one decent film\TV adaption of either the books or of Laura's real life. "Beyond the Prairie 2: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder" is another disappointing interpretation.

    "Beyond the Prairie 2" is even more disappointing because it has the gall to subtitle itself "The True Story" when quite simply it's not much more accurate than the dreadfully sappy "Little House on the Prairie" TV show. (The TV show's resemblance to Laura's books is superficial at best with only a few character and place names bearing any resemblance to anything in the books.) The plot of "Beyond the Prairie 2" actually resembles one of the TV show's plots- Laura (Meredith Monroe) along with her husband, Almanzo Wilder (Walt Goggins), and their daughter, Rose, move from Dakota to Missouri to begin an apple farm. They encounter prejudice for being "covered wagon people," overcome Almanzo's ill health, help a sad man find some peace, and have a rescue-the-little-girl-from-peril subplot in the end. The only thing missing was Melissa Gilbert frolicking down a hillside as the credits rolled. Although, the movie uses some real names of places and people and some of the events portrayed did occur (the Wilder's did start an apple farm), but it's really just a low budget, TV film which callously uses the name Laura Ingalls in order to attract fans of the TV series who will probably enjoy it because the plot is structured much like the TV series.

    Unfortunately, for fans of the books and of the real Laura Ingalls this film will be a disappointment due to its numerous fictions and anachronisms. First off, Laura Ingalls Wilder was certainly an independent and courageous woman, but she was not above the Victorian conventions of her day especially when it came to ladies' fashions. Laura would have been appalled at the appearance of Ms. Monroe. Quite simply Laura would have never dreamed of walking around in public with her hair hanging loose, a man's hat, and no corset as Ms. Monroe does throughout this movie. Also I have no doubt that Laura would have been highly amused to see herself portrayed by a blond actress. One of the recurring subjects of the books was Laura's envy of her older sister's beautiful golden hair because hers was just plain brown. And Mr. Goggins' hair makes him look like he stepped right out of the 1970's TV show, not the 1880's- Almanzo Wilder wore his light brown hair very closely cropped. I know these are quibbles, which probably can be explained by the film's low budget, but one of the big purposes of the books was to tell modern children how people actually looked and lived in the mid-19th century.

    Maybe one day a film-maker will really capture the real essence of the books and/or the real Laura Ingalls. Hopefully, a filmmaker who can cut completely loose from the TV show's influences, and really give viewers a chance to see Laura Ingalls' world brought to life with authentic costumes and hairstyles. And above all really show what it was like for young girl to live in the "Big Woods" of Wisconsin, on the prairies of Kansas, Minnesota, and Dakota, and in the tiny town of De Smet, Dakota Territory during the 1870's and 80's. The stories are there, in those wonderful books, and all that is needed is a filmmaker with a vision (and a real budget) to bring them to life.
  • I saw this and have to tell you, I was very disappointed. I'm a longtime fan of the works of Mrs. Wilder, and feel strongly that this, if anything, was shameful to her memory and legacy. It is painfully obvious that the books were not read in great detail (or at all.) Perhaps it would have been better with different people in the roles (none of them were very believable). I watched it all the way through, hoping that something would come out of it to redeem it. I know not everyone would agree with me, but it just seems to be a bit of common sense that if you are going to make a movie about what someone has written, try and stay true to the writers words.
  • This second part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder story tells the later part of her life when she and her husband Almanzo a.k.a. Manly and their daughter Rose travel to Missouri to start a new life. They encounter many difficult situations ahead including losing money, being teased at school and trying to start a farm. The acting was good, Meredith Monroe did a great job as Laura but at times I found her a bit too cheesey, and Walt Goggins seemed a little distant at times but he pulled his weight and Skye McCole Bartusiak was exceptional as Rose, shining in all her scenes. The pacing was almost perfect, and while the script was a little lacking it worked fine. The setting was magnificent, all the scenes were breathtaking. I think this is a wonderful movie for a family to sit down and watch together, it's just nice and sweet nothing more nothing less.
  • acpaint126 February 2011
    I have read the reviews of parts one and two. The main complaints are that Meredith Monroe is a blonde and the writers did not go by the books.

    Not many movies are exact copies of the book. In fact some of them the only semblance to the book, is the title.

    Meredith Monroe was picked because of all the actresses that auditioned for the part she fit the part the best. They must have had a reason for keeping her blonde hair. There is no reason they could not have dyed her hair. She had dyed her hair brown for other roles. I believe she was picked for her girl next door look, and acting ability.

    Meredith Monroe is a talented underrated actress. I though her and Walter Goggins did a fine job in both movies.

    I think people tend to forget actors will do what the director tells them to do. So if Monroe or Goggins acts cheesy; it is because they are told to.

    I have never read Laura Ingall's books so I guess I was not influenced by them. I thought for the most part the movies were good and entertaining. You have to remember these are made for TV movies, and they don't have the multi million dollar budget.
  • I honestly do not know where to begin with this. I have been a fan of Mrs. Wilder's books since I was a child. It was the television show that introduced me to her books but as quality usually overcomes, I soon became bored with the television show and soaked up Mrs. Wilder's books like a sponge.

    When these movies came about, I had honestly hoped someone would adequately portray Mrs. Wilder's life and this just fell flat. I get that the writer or director wanted to portray the immense love and affection Laura and Almanzo had for each other but the implication that they engaged in sex outdoors was too much to take in the first movie and ill advised in the second. Because it's not what happened.

    Another previous reviewer made mention of the costuming and hairstyling and he/she was spot on. Mrs. Wilder was a brunette for one thing and would never have gone about with her hair down. At the very least, Mrs. Wilder, whose long brown hair once extended all the way down to her ankles, would wear it in a long braid. But Mrs. Wilder had a mother who was extremely conscious of cleanliness and neatness of person regardless of circumstances and drilled this into her daughters.

    Mr. Wilder never liked going about in a bonnet but she always did. Maybe it hung down her back when she younger but she always had a bonnet and not a man's hat when she went out.

    I will say Kudos to the writers for portraying the troubles bright Rose Wilder Lane had in school in Mansfield. She was exceptionally bright and gifted and surpassed the other students in her school by leaps and bounds. Eventually she had to go on to Louisiana to live with her Aunt Eliza Jane Wilder because the high school in Mansfield only went up to a certain grade.

    While in Mansfield, Laura and Almanzo were struggling and lived very frugally, something Rose resented and her frustration was compounded by her troubles from other students in her school who were jealous of her academic abilities.

    All in all the film is just OK. But it is not a true representation of the Author and her life.
  • A family friendly story of the old west and of a family trying to find new land to start a new life, done many times. Almost turned it off but am very glad I did not. The performance of Ms. Monroe along with her natural beauty became an attraction that held me to the end. I can't wait for her next film regardless of her assigned character. Ms. Monroe will be a star of the future and in a very short time.