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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


With innocence behind her and danger ahead, only courage and love were on her side. [UK] 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
See  »

Did You Know?


James Horner replaced Elmer Bernstein as the film's music composer. According to website "Filmtracks', only two short bits of Bernstein's score music remain in the picture. See more »


The story takes place in 1935, but in the scene where Natty finds the puppy behind the cinema, the movie poster behind her is for "The Buccaneer" (the name of the film star, Fredric March, can be seen in the close up), which was released in 1938. See more »


[Gann hangs up the phone after speaking with Connie and a man's voice is heard while the camera continues to focus on Gann]
Logging Boss: What's the matter, Gann?
Sol Gann: They found my kid's wallet buried under a train in Colorado.
Logging Boss: Ah, no.
Sol Gann: [deadpan] What the hell was she doing in Colorado?
See more »


Referenced in Race to Witch Mountain (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Depression-era adventure with female lead star
31 December 2005 | by (Bath, England) – See all my reviews

'The Journey of Natty Gann' was a film that I watched several times when I was a child. I enjoyed it because there are few movies in which there is a female lead character who is a tomboy, and I could easily relate to this character, being a tomboy and seeking adventure myself.

This film is about Natty, a girl during the Great Depression, who is separated from her father. She runs away from her guardian to try to find her father and finds compassion in an captive wolf in a similar situation. During her travels, she meets many new people, including a love interest, and puts herself into danger. She's always on the run in her attempt to get to her father.

This film is a good family historical film, and it is packed full of adventure and danger. It has some good messages behind it, and it is easy to see the similarities in the two lead outcasts: wolf and girl. It's a great film because it has a female lead character who is a tomboy.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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