The Awakening Land (1978)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama
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Frontierswoman Sayward Luckett's struggles in Ohio during the late 18th-century and early 19th-century.

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Title: The Awakening Land (1978– )

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Nominated for 6 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Sayward Luckett Wheeler (3 episodes, 1978)
 Portius Wheeler - The Solitary (3 episodes, 1978)
 Genny Luckett (3 episodes, 1978)
Steven Keats ...
 Jake Tench (3 episodes, 1978)
Tony Mockus Jr. ...
 Worth Luckett (3 episodes, 1978)
 Will Beagle (3 episodes, 1978)
 Billy Harbison (3 episodes, 1978)
Dorrie Kavanaugh ...
 Mistress Bartram / ... (2 episodes, 1978)
Derin Altay ...
 Achsa Luckett (2 episodes, 1978)
 Isaac Barker (2 episodes, 1978)
 Reverend Hutchins (2 episodes, 1978)
 Resolve Wheeler (2 episodes, 1978)
Johnny Timko ...
 Kinzie Wheeler (2 episodes, 1978)
Barney McFadden ...
 Louie Scurrah (2 episodes, 1978)
Pia Romans ...
 Huldah Wheeler (2 episodes, 1978)
Sonja Lanzener ...
 Annie McFall (2 episodes, 1978)
Art Kassul ...
 George Roebuck (2 episodes, 1978)
Bernie Kuby ...
 Mathias Cottle (2 episodes, 1978)
Ann Eggert ...
 Mary Harbison (2 episodes, 1978)
 Zephon Brown (2 episodes, 1978)
Sandra Wheeler ...
 Cora Barker (2 episodes, 1978)
Wally Engelhardt ...
 Jim McFall (2 episodes, 1978)
Olesley Cole ...
 Moses (2 episodes, 1978)
Timothy Carhart ...
 First Peddler / ... (2 episodes, 1978)


Frontierswoman Sayward Luckett's struggles in Ohio during the late 18th-century and early 19th-century.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

19 February 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Erwachendes Land  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though the fictional story of the settlement of the Ohio territory, the miniseries was filmed at the site of the frontier town where the young Abraham Lincoln matured and studied to be a lawyer, New Salem, Illinois. The cabin that Sayward and Portius Wheeler lived in is the recreation of the cabin where Ann Rutledge lived, the woman that Abe Lincoln courted while he lived in New Salem. Hal Holbrook played President Lincoln in two separate television projects. See more »


In the scene where little Rosa Tench is walking along the river bank, you can see an abandoned automobile tire lying in the mud. The movie was supposed to be set in the 1800s. See more »

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User Reviews

Superlative Frontier Drama
7 August 2002 | by (Springfield, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Based on Conrad Richter's ambitions trilogy, The Awakening Land is one of the finest TV mini-series ever produced for American television. Set in the Ohio frontier ca. 1790-1820, we see an American community form in the wilderness though the life of Sayward Luckett, a poor, uneducated pioneer woman blessed with great gifts of intelligence and courage. Through her often troubled marriage with Portious Wheeler, an eccentric and ambition New Englander, we see the clash and melding of the receding frontier with advancing "modern" civilization. Elizabeth Montgomery's portrayal of Sayward, a woman simultaneously simple but resourceful and intelligent, is surely the highlight of her rather underrated acting career.

The production has been treated shabbily by its owners since its premier in 1978. After years of silence, it was finally re-run in the early 1990s (I suspect owing to the fame of "Medicine Woman" Jane Seymour, who has a supporting role as Sayward's younger sister in "The Awakening Land") but I don't believe it was ever available to consumers on VHS. If it appeared on DVD I would snap it up in a minute.

Filmed in and around Springfield, Illinois, and the nearby reconstructed frontier village of New Salem, the mini-series is also notable for its setting in a time and place in American history rarely seen in movies or TV: the frontier period in the Midwest. One suspects the production aspired to be another "Roots," but even though it didn't match that show's rating, "The Awakening Land" excelled it in emotional sophistication and often in historical accuracy.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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