Heartland (1979)
Horrible Movie--Try the Book Instead
4 November 2004
When converting a book to film, it is generally a good idea to keep at least some of the author's intended tone or conveyed concepts, rather than ignoring the author altogether. While it is clear that the director had access to and went on the advice of Elinore Stewart's children, it is key to note that the children believed their mother to be a complete liar in regards to the good, enriching, strengthening experiences of homesteading her land. The book details her life on her and her husband's adjoining homesteads in the vast Wyoming frontier; she chronicles daily adventures with her numerous friends and acquaintances, though they lived dozens of miles apart. The film, however, takes a standard stance for the time it was made, portraying this woman's experience as harsh, unforgiving, and nearly pointless. Perhaps the director was bringing some of his Vietnam War experiences with him to this movie (as some film aficionados have said), but it seems to be a lousy excuse for taking all the joy and beauty of the book and twisting it into a bleak, odious landscape devoid of friends or hope. Don't waste your time with this movie; read the book instead.
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