Great thread! It made me think of the Little House on the Prairie books also. I loved them when I was a little kid, like in elementary school; I loved all the detailed descriptions of how things were done back in the olden days--making cheese, gathering provisions for winter, that kind of thing. I reread them again when I was about 20 and realized how terribly hard their lives were, and how young kids were doing such dangerous things, because everyone had to help out or you wouldn't survive. All the close calls they had--like when Pa was stranded in the snow trying to get home from town, and Ma finally latches the door shut for the night, resigning herself to the fact that he isn't coming home (at least that night). That could have been the end of their pioneer days, right then.
And now, honestly, a lot of "pioneer" stories that I loved as a kid for the adventure just make me angry, parents dragging their kids off into the wilderness seemingly on a lark and without much preparation. It seems so irresponsible to me now.