This 1974 film has some potential--the story that is.
Due to the vintage, the acting and historical accuracy left something to be desired (as well as the script), but the actual story isn't that bad.
The film follows the true story of the Sager family, but most particularly the eldest son, John, as they head out for Oregon from Missouri. John, at the age of 13 or thereabouts, has potential, but he is lazy, mean, and even disrespectful (at least in the film version. I would be interested in reading the book...)
After a couple of disasters, John is left, the eldest of seven children, to take care of his siblings. He determines to fulfill his papa's dream and go on to Oregon. The way is frought with danger, difficultly, and disease, but still he presses on, with his six younger siblings, one a babe in arms, to his goal.
The story has great potential--particularly when you take into account the fact that Christianity is not entirely absent.
But this is where the real disappointment comes in. The Christianity which could have been clear and present is only marginal and not as orthodox as it could have been (there is some clearly unorthodox theology in one particular scene). The growth that John could have shown is lacking--there is character growth implied, but it's not really shown. Instead of seeing a John that learns to be a man and to love his siblings, we only get sundry glimpses of it, to be covered back over by the harsh, bossy John. It's somewhat confusing actually...
There is an distinct element of 1970's children portraying 1840's children that just doesn't work. This, among other things, makes me wonder how much of the 1970's twist was put on the story and how different the book is.
I would not bother watching this film a second time because it wasn't really that great of a movie, but the story...that I would like to see made again from a distinctly reformed, Christian persepective.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.