41 user 11 critic

The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

In the 1930s, a tomboyish girl runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, because there was work there.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Farm Woman
Bruce M. Fischer ...
Charlie Linfield
Logging Boss
Jack Rader ...
Employment Agent
Matthew Faison ...
Jordan Pratt ...
Campbell Lane ...
Chicago Moderator
Max Trumpower ...
Chicago Worker


Natty Gann (played by Meredith Salenger) is a twelve year old Depression era girl whose single-parent father leaves her behind in Chicago while he goes to Washington State to look for work in the timber industry. Natty runs away from the guardian she was left with to follow Dad. She befriends and is befriended by a wolf that has been abused in dog fights, hops a freight train west, and is presumed dead when her wallet is found after the train crashes. Dad gets bitter and endangers himself in his new job. Meanwhile Natty has a series of adventures and mis- adventures in various farmhouses, police stations, hobo camps, reform schools, and boxcars. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The journey that made the impossible come true. (trailer) See more »


Family | Adventure


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Natty Gann  »

Box Office


$2,135,577 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo®)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actress Meredith Salenger won the Best Starring Performance by a Young Actress - Motion Picture Award in a Feature Film at the 7th Young Artist Awards in 1984/85 where the film was also nominated for Best Family Motion Picture Drama. See more »


When Natty jumps from the water tower to the moving train, she spills water on Harry and the contents of the freight car. Both Harry and the car are dry a few seconds later, when the wolf joins them. See more »


Natty Gann: [to Harry] You ain't seen Chicago, you ain't seen nothin'.
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User Reviews

A movie I loved as a kid
1 July 2002 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This movie was really great, it had an exciting and plausible plot, reasonable acting -- and it wasn't just cheesy crap compared to most of the other drivel that was being played for us kids at that time. This clearly stood out shining in my mind, up there with "The Neverending Story" and "Flight Of The Navigator". This movie didn't talk down to me as a child, which I quite liked. And it wasn't just another cartoon, which for the most part I found painfully dull in their lack of realism. The Natty character, and all those she meets on her adventures (including the wolf that she befriends), are unique, interesting, thought provoking ... and you actually care what happens to them all by the end.

And how many other movies aimed at youth have a kid getting chased away from eating out of a garbage dumpster ? Heh.

Great film !

I want to watch it again to see if I still like it as much, but I know I probably will ... I know the plot quite well, I did watch the movie at least 8 or 10 times as kid.

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