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1851, Manitoba's Red River Valley. As winter sets in, a young woman on the edge of madness arrives exhausted at the fort, a wilderness station, claiming she murdered her husband. She's placed in a cell; for the next several months, she sews while the local prefect, Henry Mullen, investigates. In flashbacks we see her arranged marriage to the hard-working but angry Simon, who takes her to his half-built homestead and abuses her. She's treated well by his younger brother George, with whom she laughs, but he's too weak to protect her. Is she guilty? At the homestead, Mullen hears a different story, one that exonerates Annie. Can he unearth the truth? Then what? Written by
The haunting landscape could well be Minnesota and the story is reminiscent of Maud Hart Lovelace's Gentlemen from England and Karl Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth, both of whom were Minnesota authors. Besides the lead actress, Caroline Dhavernas, who is wonderful, it's fun to see Peter Wingfield and Paul Johansson in something with a little more gravitas than Highlander. Okay, Peter's Scottish accent and Paul's English? Dutch? accent left a good deal to be desired, but who cares. It is beautifully shot, with exquisite production design and costuming. Ann Wheeler built this film with lots of love. It unrolls like a tone poem written by Ingmar Bergman.
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