Legacy Documentaries presents Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura {TOS review}

Legacy Documentaries takes an experience and brings it to life digitally. They produce large scale documentaries that are broadcasted world-wide to ones for private exhibition with special concentration in legacy documentaries, Little House features, sports and commercials/PSAs. The men behind the camera and company are executive producers Rick Okie and Dean Butler, who many may remember as Almanzo Wilder, the love interest and future husband of Laura Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie television series.

Noone living may know Almanzo Wilder better than Butler, who portrayed him for more than four years on the series and it is only fitting that he produced Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura and Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We reviewed Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

Little House on the Prairie in book form or as the television series is a staple in most homeschool families. My children have seen some of the television episodes and I have seen them all. We always enjoy and laugh seeing Carrie topple down the grassy hill during the opening credits. I think that she exemplifies how carefree and simple life was during the time Laura Ingalls-Wilder grew up in Minnesota. Life was simple, but not easy compared to the conveniences that we have today. Despite that, there was a strong sense of love, joy and peace within the Ingalls family that would cause one to possibly trade their lives today for what her family had.

I must admit that I have never read through a Little House series book, so what I know of Almanzo is what I saw on the television series. Almanzo is introduced later in the television series and I got to know him as a young man, who falls in love with and marries Laura. There is not much about his history that is shared in the series other than his sister Eliza Jane. Dean Butler (he was a cutie) brought Almanzo “Manly” James Wilder to life for me and so many others who watched Little House on the Prairie.

Through the television series, you are able to come to know Laura and the life that she lived with her family, but you do not learn much about the life of Almanzo before she met him. Readers are introduced to Almanzo in his boyhood years in Ingalls-Wilder’s book Farmer Boy that shares some of his life growing up in Malone, New York.

Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura introduces viewers to the young Almanzo. It gives you a good sense of the determination and strong work ethic that he acquired growing up as a boy. You get to see how families were committed and worked together for the well-being of the family and that children had a place in ensuring that all was well too. Discipline was important and his father raised him to be responsible and to be a man. The Wilders (Almanzo and Laura) both grew up with the promotion of a strong work-ethic, which is so important today.

Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura is a well-made film using animation, recreation and illustrations. There are many interviews with people who are familiar with the lifestyles and times of the period. They even take us to the Wilder Homestead. It just makes you want to be there just at the books and television series do.

My children could not wait to watch the film and enjoyed the stories that were told and getting to know Wilder better. We will be reading Farmer Boy as our next family read-a-loud, because they want to know more about Almanzo.

You do not have to be a Wilder fan (but who isn’t) to enjoy the documentary of the little boy who grew up in Malone, New York and later married Laura Ingalls.

Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura is available on DVD $21.95.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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