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Walking Thunder (1997)

PG  |   |  Family  |  21 August 1997 (USA)
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In the 1850's, a young boy and his family on their way West become stranded in the Rockies. With the help of a local mountain man, a Sioux medicine man, and a legendary bear knows as "... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma McKay (as Klara Irene Miracle)
Ted Thin Elk ...
Dark Wind (as Chief Ted Thin Elk)
Kevin Conners ...
Billy Oscar ...
Don Shanks ...
Danny McKay (as Kasey Clyde)
David Kirk Chambers ...
Carolyn Hurlburt ...
Dane Stevens ...
Angus Campbell (as Duane Stephens)
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In the 1850's, a young boy and his family on their way West become stranded in the Rockies. With the help of a local mountain man, a Sioux medicine man, and a legendary bear knows as "Walking Thunder," the boy learns to become a man, and his family's survival is secured. Brian Keith narrates this family western adventure, which won a Silver Award at the WorldFest Film Festival. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for elements of frontier violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf der Spur des großen Bären  »

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User Reviews

Great Adventure
21 September 2014 | by (Victoria, BC. Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a great adventure, with big brassy exciting score. The golden leaves of autumn in the mountains are breathtaking. An unbelievably enormous bear attacks a covered waggon, and demolishes it, even breaking the axle, leaving the family in a major survival predicament.

The movie teaches some pretty silly lessons. It goes to great lengths to make this appear to be a true story. Yet it teaches fate -- that the outcomes of conflicts are decided in advance. It teaches there are bear deities who interfere in the affairs of man, both to destroy and help. It teaches that shamans have magic powers.

A boy is sent with the family fortune to buy a cow for milk for a expected infant. (I don't think people fed cow milk to infants back then.) Instead he buys a rifle. The second rifle comes in handy fighting off "burglars", and the boy is credited with amazing foresight instead of gross disobedience.

The "burglars" are mentally challenged, and over the top crazy evil in the style of Peter Pan's pirates or Blazing Saddles. They imagine a frontier family stranded in the mountains has sacks of gold, and cannot be dissuaded.

The director repeatedly puts small cuddly baby animals in the rifle sites, pauses, then the execution is aborted for a variety of reasons. It a mean-spirited teasing of the younger audience who think he will carry through.

The John Denver plays the bespectacled father, a secondary role. His kids won't mind him or respect him. His wife berates him for his lack of skill and their current predicament. His kids compare him with a mountain-man who helps them out, and Pa comes up lacking, though he eventually earns respect by defeating a desperado in a fist fight (though the desperado has a huge knife). This outcome is as improbable as Woody Allen taking out Mohammed Ali in 1972 given that Pa has never been in a fist fight before.

Mom wears lipstick. Dad and the mountain man are partly cleanshaven. A single barrel of something not destroyed by the bear seem sufficient for a family of four plus two guests for a winter. Really?

There are black, white, native, French, etc. characters, all living a somewhat dissolute and riotous life in shanty towns. There is one scene of drunken prostitution that might frighten off a Christian viewer. This melange is one part of the movie that was close to factual.

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