U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Poster Presentation 2014


U.S. Government Work


Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Story

On a hot, humid, and gusty summer day shortly before their wedding (in August 1885), Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder take a buggy ride south of De Smet.

Laura and Almanzo “sense” storminess in the air and watch towering clouds develop. They turn back toward home.

Laura and Almanzo watch a thunderstorm to their west produce funnel clouds and then a tornado.

While the storm moves from the northwest, they drive the horses toward the northeast and away from the path.

Laura and Almanzo return to Laura’s house. Almanzo and Pa (Charles) Ingalls set out to assist anyone struck by the tornado.

Returning later that night, Almanzo and Pa report that a homestead was struck. Two boys on mules were hit, and one of the boys died. The homestead was destroyed, but the front door was lofted high and fell to the ground, intact, at the home site shortly after the tornado had passed.