Laura Ingalls, the five-year-old narrator, the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. Laura, the author’s autobiographical self, is high-spirited and inquisitive, and she has inherited her father’s storytelling ability. She describes the pioneering experience and her own thoughts and feelings in detail.
Charles Ingalls, the father of Laura, Mary, and Carrie Ingalls. Reared on the frontier, he is a great woodsman and hunter. He is renowned for his fiddling and his entertaining stories and songs. A kind and fun-loving man, he becomes restless and moves his family west in search of open land and economic opportunity.
Caroline Quiner Ingalls
Caroline Quiner Ingalls, the girls’ mother. Descended from Scots and with family roots in New England, she, like her husband, is a product of the American frontier. Quiet and capable, she is able to make a cozy home for her family under the most primitive circumstances. She is an educated and well-bred woman who has passed along to her daughters a quiet respect for others, along with a great love of books.
Mary Ingalls, Laura’s older sister. A bright, responsible girl, Mary is calmer in spirit than Laura. Mary is always obedient and immaculately groomed. Her altruism is sometimes a source of irritation and envy for Laura, who nevertheless loves her fair-haired sister dearly.
Baby Carrie Ingalls
Baby Carrie Ingalls, Laura and Mary’s infant sister. Too young to participate fully in the family’s pioneer adventures, she is mainly a focus of loving concern and responsibility for the two older girls and their parents.
Jack, the Ingalls’ brave bulldog. Jack trots beneath the Ingalls’ covered wagon on the long journey to Kansas. At one point, it appears that he has drowned in a treacherous river crossing. The entire family is greatly saddened by his loss. One evening, miles away, the tired dog miraculously reappears. Jack continues on with the Ingalls and remains a fearless protector of the family and a loyal friend to Laura.
Patty, the family’s mustangs. Named by Mary and Laura, these strong and gentle wagon horses are vital to the success of the Ingalls family’s endeavor and figure into many of the stories Laura shares with the reader.