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Nellie Oleson Dalton
Biographical information




Eye color


Hair color



Harriet Oleson and Nels Oleson (Parents) Willie Oleson (Brother) Nancy Oleson (Adoptive sister) Percival Dalton (Husband) Jennifer Dalton (Daughter) Benjamin Dalton (Son) Benjamin Dalton (Father in law) Edna Dalton (Mother in law)


Married to Percival Dalton

Behind the scenes
First appearance:

Country Girls

Last appearance

The Return of Nellie

Played by:

Alison Arngrim


Nellie Oleson Dalton was the oldest child of Harriet and Nels Oleson. Nellie has two siblings, Willie and adopted sister Nancy. She married Percival Dalton and had two children with him.


Nellie was a spoiled girl (daughter of a wealthy general store owner and his wife) who got everything she wanted from her mother when she was a little girl. As a result, she became rather bratty, and all the other kids hated her for it. Nellie
Draft lens18309552module153224351photo 1316047375Nellie evil stare
was the first antagonist in the show. She served as a rival and nemesis to Laura. She would always try to sabotage Laura but always failed in her efforts. At the end of most episodes, Laura would gain revenge on Nellie. Nellie had much misfortune in her quarrels with Laura. In episodes, she had horse manure thrown on her, was pushed down a hill in a wheelchair, was pushed into the mud, and even was punched in the face by Laura at least twice! After some years, Laura and Nellie stopped hating each other and then they became close friends. As a gift for finishing school, Harriet and Nels gave Nellie a restaurant. Caroline Ingalls was soon hired as a cook and waitress; and Percival Dalton was hired to teach Nellie how to cook, etc. Nellie still had a mean disposition at first but Percival eventually got her to change her ways.

Eventually, Percival fell in love with Nellie. After declaring their love for each other, they decided to be married outside due to Percival being Jewish, much to Harriet's dismay. Percival and Nellie later married and had two children, Jennifer and Benjamin Dalton. Percival's father passed away soon after, and as a result, they moved to New York so Percival could run his father's store. Eventually, Nellie returned to Walnut Grove to visit her mother. However, her adopted sister Nancy became jealous of the attention Nellie was getting and ran away from home.

Behind the scenes

Nellie was portrayed by Alison Arngrim throughout the series.

In an interview, Melissa Sue Anderson was asked about Arngrim; "It was interesting working with Alison because she was so shy. She couldn't look at you and deliver her lines; the director, Bill Claxton on that show (Episode 103: Country Girls) had a terrible time getting her to actually look at you and say her lines. And she grew, she got it eventually but she was just so shy and so scared, and maybe it wasn't because so was so shy, but she was so scared. She was petrified I think, and you know she became the little kid you loved to hate and she did a great job with it."[1]



  • Thoughout the series Nellie and Laura do not get along, even though Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim were good friends. In fact, in Melissa Gilbert's official site, she confirmed that the only Little House member she has kept in contact over these years is Alison Arngrim.[2]


  1. Melissa Sue Anderson Interview
  2. (Question #12)