Although generations of readers of the Little House books are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder's early life up through her first years of marriage to Almanzo Wilder, few know about her adult years. This biography focuses upon Wilder's years in Missouri from 1894 to 1957. Utilizing her unpublished autobiography, letters, newspaper stories, and other documentary evidence, John E. Miller fills the gaps in Wilder's autobiographical novels, showing where they coincide with historical fact and where they depart from it. Building upon his analysis of Wilder's activities and writings and mining documentary sources, including various drafts of her novels, Miller shows not only the extent to which her writings emerged directly out of her own experiences as a girl and young woman, but also how they were shaped and embellished by artistic intent. Wilder depended heavily upon her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane - an established novelist, biographer and magazine writer - for editing and polishing her manuscripts. Without Lane's encouragement, publishing connections and example, the novels never would have been written. In addition to describing Wilder's apprenticeship as a farm newspaper columnist and occasional magazine writer before she began the production of her novels, Miller discusses Wilder's activities on her family's Rocky Ridge farm, and as a vital citizen in Mansfield, Missouri. Playing out her many roles as wife, mother, chicken farmer, neighbour, churchgoer, bridge player, seamstress, farm loan officer, political candidate, newspaper columnist and fiction writer, Wilder led an active life for 90 years.