Monday, March 23, 2009

One More Mountain (1994) TV Movie

As the first project in a two-season contract under which "Disney Films Presents" is to make five movies for ABC, this "true story of one woman's determination and courage," as the network bills it, is a decidedly unusual choice. Far from being typical Disney uplift, "One More Mountain" is almost relentlessly grim as it follows Margaret and James Reed (Meredith Baxter and Chris Cooper) on a 2,000-mile journey, beginning in 1846, from their comfortable home in Illinois to what they hope will be a new life in California. They set out as part of the infamous Donner Party, an expedition that ended in cannibalism. The Reeds, ABC stresses, never descended to that level.

Along the way, the well-to-do Reed family and two poor immigrant families decide to separate from the Donners and take another route, which proves to be disastrous. They reach the Sierras just as the worst winter on record, with nine blizzards, descends. The other families view the Reeds with resentment and suspicion. Tensions mount over the sharing of the little food available. Matters of class and religion, Freemasons as opposed to Irish Catholics, are teasingly skirted and never really explored. Still, this portrait of hardship in pioneer days is a valuable antidote to the contrived anecdotes of a "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." The harrowingly realistic production was filmed in Calgary, Canada.

One More Mountain (1994) TV Movie
Chris Cooper, Frances Conroy, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jean Simmons, Larry Drake, Laurie O'Brien, Meredith Baxter, Robert Duncan McNeill

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