This film continues from where Utvandrarna (1971) left off. Starting a new life in the New World from almost nothing is not easy. The winters and summers are more extreme than in the Old World. But the immigrants are rewarded for their hard work. They now live a better life than they did in Sweden. Bad times also come, however. The civil war starts and the Sioux Indians make a bloody uprising against the white settlers. Karl-Oskar's family survives all these. His brother, Robert, decides to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. He never reaches California but acquires some fortune from his boss who dies of yellow fever on the way to the gold fields. An immigrant Swede dupes him of this fortune. Robert returns to his brother where he dies from a disease contracted on the trip. Kristina, whose thoughts never leave Sweden, has several more births and gets pregnant again against the advice of her doctor. This last pregnancy kills her. The children grow up and take over the ... Written by
This is an extraordinary film, which I gave 10 out of 10 even if Warner Brothers, the film's theatrical distributor, cut the film in half for its American release. If ever this film (and its predecessor, "The Emigrants") makes it to DVD, I sincerely hope those 102 minutes are restored, so that I can at last see the film that Jan Troell intended for me to see.
As it looks on video, "The New Land" is still magnificent - its depiction of Swedish immigrants settling in frontier Minnesota outdoing every Western ever made. Be sure to look for the scene that George Lucas stole wholesale where Max von Sydow slaughters an ox and places his freezing son inside it during a snowstorm.
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