The Banks of Plum Creek is set in Minnesota near a town called Pepin in in the mid-1800s. It is about a family of pioneers who move from Kansas to be homesteaders, so there are not many towns or cities near Plum Creek. The family lives in a dugout, and the children attend school in Pepin. Since Laura is 4 in this book, the story takes place in about 1872. As in the other books in the series, the family lives off the untamed land. Conditions were harsh for pioneer settlers, but at least at this time in her life Laura lived near a town and was able to attend school.
In The Banks of Plum Creek, Laura and her family settle near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Pepin (which is in Wisconsin) is about 200 miles from their home beside Plum Creek. Pepin was the town they lived near when they still were living in the Big Woods.