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 <email@example.com>
Director Richard Pearce has a knack for finding small tightly- crafted stories and keeping them confined to their natural surroundings and letting smart casting choices take over the work and create something magical. He's done it with "Country" and "Family Thing" and maybe never better than with "Heartland." Of course, Rip Torn is a fine actor and well-suited to the role of a farmer, but the amazing turn by Farrell in the lead is not any easy part. She is quite remarkable in this film, and it's maddening why she wasn't utilized more by other directors. (She shows up often in stereotypical parts, like the secretary in "Erin Brokovich") A shame this commanding actress isn't recognized more for this fantastic performance.
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