A widow with a young daughter travels to a ranch in Wyoming to manage the household of a rancher. After a while the man and woman develop a relationship that leads to a marriage. But life in the harsh place takes its toll.
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Widowed Elinor Randall and her young daughter Jerrine arrive in a barren stretch of Wyoming in 1910 after Elinor's application for work as a housekeeper is accepted by Clyde Stewart, a rancher. The work is back-breaking and the isolation is brutal, particularly as winter arrives. Elinor begins to think about homesteading her own property near Stewart's ranch, but Stewart tries to dissuade her with explanations about the killing conditions and poor rewards, especially for a woman with no man to help her ranch. Although their temperaments are different and little affection exists, Elinor and Stewart agree to marry and combine homesteads. What lies ahead is the severest test of all. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Heartland is based on the letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart collected in Letters of a Woman Homesteader. For anyone who is familiar with both works, it is obvious that while the initial subject matter is the same, the intentions of each are vastly different.
If you are looking for the sweet, Arcadian version of life as an American homesteader, then read Letters. However, if you want to see a brutally honest picture of what it takes to make it on the frontier, then watch Heartland. Each has its own appeal. Letters and Heartland are wonderful works, and are highly recommended for any student of the American West.
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