“The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (MP3 audio dramatization)
Since we’ve had our own winter problems this week, it brought to mind this fine audio dramatization of some REAL winter hardship – one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best “Little House” books, “The Long Winter”. Think we had it bad? Ha! Read on:
“The Long Winter” is based on the real-life experiences of Laura and her family during the blizzards of 1880-1881. Here’s what Wikipedia says of that time:
The snow arrived in October 1880 and blizzard followed blizzard throughout the winter and into March 1881, leaving many areas snowbound throughout the entire winter. Accurate details in Wilder’s novel include the blizzards’ frequency and the deep cold, the Chicago and North Western Railway stopping trains until the spring thaw because the snow made the tracks impassable, the near-starvation of the townspeople, and the courage of her future husband Almanzo and another man, who ventured out on the open prairie in search of a cache of wheat that no one was even sure existed.
The October blizzard brought snowfalls so deep that two-story homes had snow up to the second floor windows. No one was prepared for the deep snow so early in the season and farmers all over the region were caught before their crops had even been harvested, their grain milled, or with their fuel supplies for the winter in place. By January the train service was almost entirely suspended from the region. Railroads hired scores of men to dig out the tracks but it was a wasted effort: As soon as they had finished shoveling a stretch of line, a new storm arrived, filling up the line and leaving their work useless.
There were no winter thaws and on February 2, 1881, a second massive blizzard struck that lasted for nine days. In the towns the streets were filled with solid drifts to the tops of the buildings and tunneling was needed to secure passage about town. Homes and barns were completely covered, compelling farmers to tunnel to reach and feed their stock.
When the snow finally melted in late spring of 1881, huge sections of the plains were flooded. Massive ice jams clogged the Missouri River and when they broke the downstream areas were ravaged. Most of the town of Yankton, in what is now South Dakota, was washed away when the river overflowed its banks.
This Ingalls family is different than the one you saw on TV, but it is a very faithful adaptation of the book, and is quite entertaining. It is the ONLY “old time radio” adaptation of any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and if you love those stories, you’ll treasure this half hour audio dramatization. We’ve also included a PDF “Listening Guide” to accompany this program.
To download this MP3 audio program, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your pc. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.
To download the PDF Listening Guide for this program, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your pc. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.