Pa’s beard has always been a huge bone of contention between TV show and book fans. Landon’s lack of a beard is almost always mentioned in early critiques of the show by book fans and I still hear mentioned on a regular basis today. Pa’s real beard was absolutely horrible and I have only seen one beard as ugly on a living person. I thought you might enjoy reading what they were saying about the beard at the time the TV show first came out.
Van Horn, Gail. “Walnut Grove residents celebrate fall TV show go-ahead.” Messenger Independent. 5 June 1974: 3B.
“An NBC press release notes, for those who know that Pa Ingalls always wore a full beard, illustrated by Garth Williams in Laura’s books, note that great pains were put into fitting Michael Landon with a beard, both of natural growth and by makeup artists. But it was decided that he just did not look good with any kind of facial hair. You may recall having seen Landon with a beard on one Bonanza show and so may know why the TV version of Pa will be beardless.”