August 24, 2011
I attended with my son & his wife, and we got there a little late and had to sit in the front as the theater was almost full. We have heard a lot about the Willie & Martin handcart companies and their tragedies, and I was concerned that I might find the movie a little bit of a downer. While the film pulled no punches and coming prepared with tissue is definitely advised, I found the movie an inspiring tear-jerker instead of depressing one. The story focuses on the miracles that transpired during the handcart journey as told mostly through the viewpoint of Levi Savage who, while returning to Utah from a mission to Siam, met the company coming from England in New York and was recruited to be a captain as they desperately needed his pioneering experience. He was opposed to starting so late in the season season but pledged to help all that he could. All his fears came true, but the miracles that occurred along the way showed that the hand of the Lord was over the company. I was most struck by the sacrifices that were made to help each other and by the expressions of gratitude amidst severe trials for the privilege of sacrificing to come to Zion. We truly came to care about and admire these characters. As far as the acting was concerned, all I can say is I wasn't noticing the acting as I became too involved in the story--usually a sign of excellent acting. Below is a link to the trailer.
After the movie, we spent quite a while talking about it and googling George Paddley & Sarah Ann Franks to find out what happened later. I can't share what we found out without being a spoiler, but I would be happy to share with anyone who has seen the movie the amazing "rest of the story." I can definitely recommend this movie as worth seeing. It is rated PG and is appropriate for probably age 10 & up. Click here to go to our website & read more. Prepurchases through September 12 benefit the BYU Management Society Silicon Valley chapter scholarship fund.