Actor/documentary producer Dean Butler may not have taken off his shoes to wade through Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, but he has stood on the "Big Rock" during a frozen December day.
Butler, who starred as "Almanzo Wilder" on the long-runnng television show "Little House on the Prairie" is coming to Walnut Grove on July 17 during the town's annual Family Festival and Wilder Pageant.
He will do an autograph session from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, have a speaking and autograph session from 3:30-5 p.m. at the festival in Walnut Grove city park and an autograph session from 7-8 p.m. at the Wilder Pageant.
Of all the actors on the show, Butler said he's probably been to Walnut Grove the most times. Besides his 2002 appearance during the town's festival, Butler has come to Walnut Grove to get shots for a couple of documentaries his company, Legacy Documentaries, has worked on.
One of those documentaries is titled "Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder," which Butler presented at Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, S.D. the first week in June.
Plus, his "Little House" co-star Melissa Gilbert was also in Sioux Falls, S.D. that same week, appearing in "Little House on the Prairie: The Musical," at the Washington Pavilion.
"The 'Little House' musical is breaking box office records," Butler said of the musical's week-long run.
Butler said he and Legacy Documentaries had worked on "Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder" for 10 months.
"It's really about the writing of the books," Butler said. "It's a take on the material you don't generally see."
Butler said he and his crew went to almost all of the places Wilder lived during her lifetime to shoot footage, except for Mansfield, Mo. and Independence, Kan.
Butler said he also helped produce bonus content for Imavision's DVD releases of "Little House on the Prairie" and that it's hard to believe that he's continued to work with a show that he was on more than 30 years ago.
"I've always loved the property, it's been a very national evolution," Butler said.
Butler said the new documentary was wonderfully received by the audiences in Sioux Falls.
"I've just looked around the room, watching people's eyes," Butler said.
Other documentaries made by Legacy Documentaries include ones on Olympians and ones for the Discovery Military channel.
"People all have great stories to tell," Butler said. "This is the kind of things we're interested in, heroic stories."
He's also done a documentary on the character he once portrayed - "Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura." It's available at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum's gift shop.
"It's always about the people," Butler said about why he enjoys making the trip to Walnut Grove. "Amy (Ankrum, museum office manager) and Nicole (Elzenga, collections manager) are just such a pleasure to work with."