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The Light in the Forest (1958)

Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  8 July 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 348 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

A young white man who spent his whole life raised by Native Americans is sent to live with his birth family and must learn to fit in with people he was taught to hate.


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Title: The Light in the Forest (1958)

The Light in the Forest (1958) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Del Hardy
Wilse Owens
Milly Elder
Johnny Butler / True Son
Myra Butler
John Elder
Chief Cuyloga
Rafael Campos ...
Half Arrow
Harry Butler
Niskitoon (as Norman Frederic)
Kate Owens
Stephen Bekassy ...
Col. Henry Bouquet
Sam Buffington ...
George Owens


In 1764, the British come to an agreement with the native Delaware tribes in order to bring peace to the region.The Delaware tribes agree to stop their attacks on the white settlers and to relinquish all their white captives to the British.In return, the British promise to stop white settlers from settling on Delaware lands across the Ohio River and to cease slaughtering the natives.British Army scout Del Hardy,who once lived among the natives, serves as negotiator and translator for the British colonel Henry Bouquet. During the exchange phase, the Delaware tribes surrender their white captives to the British forces.Among the whites returning to civilization is Chief Cuyloga's adopted son, True Son, formerly known as Johnny Butler.With a heavy heart, Chief Cuyloga parts with his son and asks him to obey his white family once Johnny becomes a white man again.Despite his promise to obey his white parents and to integrate again into the white settler society,Johnny Butler has serious ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two Refreshing New Stars In a Different Motion Picture! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

8 July 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una luz en el bosque  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to the press-book, the Penomsquat Indians in Oldtown, Maine made a twenty-foot war canoe for the film.The canoe went to Disneyland following production.Walt Disney himself came to the Tennessee location for 3 days. The film's premiere at Harrisburg, PA benefited community charities. See more »


In the dance scene, Milly wore a dress. Short sleeves on women's dresses didn't appear until the 1790s, three decades after this film. See more »


Light in the Forest
By Hazel George (as Gil George)
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User Reviews

Beautiful production, but it needed more humor and heart...
26 January 2005 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

James MacArthur is very good in early role as young white man in 1760s Philadelphia who, years earlier, was kidnapped and raised by the Delaware Indian tribe, now being traded back to his people as part of a peace agreement. The white man's customs have the kid alienated and sullen, but a sympathetic frontiersman and a lovely servant-girl try to help him adjust. MacArthur has a great masculine stance and a firm jaw--and he's unhurt by his Mohawk haircut--but he's perhaps too rigid; the character might have stood some silly, self-effacing moments. Everything in this adaptation of Conrad Richter's book is taken with the utmost seriousness, but where's the heart of the piece? And with whom should our sympathies lie? Wendell Corey overdoes his role as a town bully--not only racist and a liar, but an alcoholic as well--though Fess Parker's good-hearted scout relieves some of the tension in this solemn scenario. Carol Lynley makes her film debut (playing a white girl named, of all things, Shenandoe!); she's sweet flirting with MacArthur, and looks like Alice in Wonderland in her apron-dresses. Well-produced Walt Disney effort given by-the-books treatment, as if it were written and directed by stodgy history professors, though still engaging for fans of old-fashioned entertainment. *** from ****

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