Little House on the Prairie/Laura Ingalls
I just wondered why they kept Laura in braids for such a long time? She was looking like a teenager and still wearing braids. Was there any particular reason? Did she like wearing braids for such a long time? They never braided Mary's nor Carrie's hair. It seems when she met Almanzo was when she finally stopped wearing braids.
Thanks so much for your question, Mamie, and I apologize for taking so long to reply.
I've often wondered myself why the directors had Laura in braids on the television show, while Mary and Carrie did not wear them. According to the original Little House on the Prairie books, all of the Ingalls girls wore braids when they were little. By the time the real Laura Ingalls was thirteen years old, her skirts went down to her shoes and she wore her hair up (rather than in braids) so she wouldn’t feel out of place with the other girls her age at school, unlike the Laura of the television series who wore them until she was 14 or 15.
Early in the television series, Laura wore braids in nearly every episode, except for when she was trying to impress a boy, in a dream sequence when they were rich and fancy, or when the deranged mother of her friend who drowned tried to dress her like her daughter. My personal feeling is that Michael Landon (Pa), who also directed many episodes, chose to have Laura in braids as a teenager to make her appear more child-like to go along with the child-like silliness and stories he needed her to portray. In the earlier episodes, she had braids to give her the appearance of a tom-boy who couldn't be bothered to fix her hair. We didn't really see Laura begin to wear her hair up in a bun until she began teaching school, then dating Almanzo. From what I have read, Melissa Gilbert (Laura) found it silly that she would wear her hair in braids for such a long time.
In later episodes, once the Ingalls adopted Cassandra, she wore her hair in braids as Laura had. A little side note here; I read the autobiography of Missy Francis, who played Cassandra. She said that the directors wanted her to part her hair in the middle for her braids, as Laura had. Missy's mom said that she thought her daughter's hair looked better parted on the side, so the directors gave in and allowed Cassandra to have two braids like Laura, but parted on the side instead.
Thanks so much for your question, Mamie. I hope this answers it adequately for you!