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>
This is a first-rate film, based on the letters of its heroine, Elinore Pruitt Stewart (and published in the book Letters of a Woman Homesteader, in print 2003), supplemented with material gathered from other frontier families. The film follows the life of a widow with a young daughter who arrives in Wyoming (in actual life, Colorado) in 1910 to serve as housekeeper for a rancher. The film is inconclusive, as it should be: this isn't a story so much as a slice of life. And what a life! Regardless of whether the character represents Elinore's true nature, this is a wonderful woman: strong, self-determining, and courageous. She's not your usual impossibly slender, pretty young thing--Hollywood seems to think mere wisps could survive these hardships and keep their Mary Kay contact visiting regularly--but a sturdy and practical woman who never flinches at what life throws at her. One scene to watch for (among many): taking down clothes from the clothesline. I won't give the game away, but Elinore Stewart was one hell of a human being. I'd have felt honored to know her.
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