"Revealing the Values of the Frontier"
What You Need To Know:
LOVE'S ABIDING JOY starts slowly, but the middle and the ending are very absorbing. The photography in LOVE'S ABIDING JOY is beautiful, the direction by Michael Landon, Jr., is excellent, and the actors live their parts. The best part about this movie is its strong faith component. In the midst of crisis, the characters are told to look toward God, and they pray to God. God is an active participant in their lives. Bravo!
(BBB, CC, PPP, V, D, M) Very strong Christian worldview talking a lot about God's will, redemption, doing the right thing with very strong moral elements where subtle evil is rebuked, including a lot of God talk and prayer, but no use of Jesus Christ's name, plus a very strong, positive view of American pioneers; no obscenities; no combat but man points gun at another man, man shoots gun irresponsibly, baby dies off screen of sudden death syndrome, woman wails in pain when her baby dies; no sex, but a few kisses and budding youthful attraction; no nudity; no alcohol; man chomps on cigar constantly and smokes cigar; and, evil rebuked, lying rebuked, etc.
LOVE’S ABIDING JOY is the next movie in the Janette Oke series about a family of pioneers in the Old West. Directed by Michael Landon, Jr., it has a wonderful LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE feel. It may seem too tame for the big screens on which it is being released, but it is delightful on the small screen.
The opening introduces us to the LaHaye family, including Missie and Willie, and their ranch hands once again. They include Willie, Missie, Jeff, Maddy, baby Kathy, Scottie their ranch hand, and Cookie their cook. There has been a drought and life has not been easy, but the family prays and thanks God, giving credit to His timing and His provision. Missie’s father, Clark, shows up after a long stagecoach ride.
The next morning, tragedy strikes when baby Kathy dies of sudden death syndrome. Both Missie and Willie are deeply hurt by this. Missie quits her teaching job, and Willie agrees to become the town sheriff at the bidding of the malevolent-looking Sam Doros. The first day in his office, Willie has to confront an angry homesteader whose property was foreclosed by Doros. Willie is sent by Doros to give notice to the preacher turned rancher friend of his, who has been hit hard by the drought. Sam told the preacher that he wanted to befriend him, and he lent him money, only to now be demanding everything that the rancher has.
Doros’s daughter, Collette, takes a liking to Jeff, Willie’s adopted son. Doros tells Collette to give Jeff the fine horse he impounded from the preacher for Jeff to give back to the preacher. Of course, he is setting Jeff up for horse rustling because he wants to get Jeff out of his daughter’s life. So, we’re set up to answer the question whether faith and righteousness will triumph over deceit and greed.
The last two-thirds of LOVE’S ABIDING JOY is very compelling. The first third is slow as we’re re-introduced to the characters and as the plot is set up. This approach works better on TV than movies. As Hitchcock said, you want to start with a bang in the middle of the story.
The photography in LOVE’S ABIDING JOY is beautiful, showing a bigger budget than the other movies in the series. The dialogue is good, but sometimes anachronistic. The direction is good, and the actors live their parts.
The best part about this movie is its strong faith component. In the midst of crisis and tragedy, the characters are told to look toward God, and the characters pray to God. They see God as an active participant in their lives. They see His goodness and mercy. They exemplify strong, positive, orthodox, or correct, Christian theology by addressing the issue of pain in a positive biblical fashion. These are not Pollyanna people. They are people who face crisis and understand that it’s part of the fallen world. MOVIEGUIDE® thanks screenwriter and director Michael Landon, Jr., for bringing us another wonderful, revealing vision of the frontier.