Tragedy strikes a small mining community one fateful Christmas Eve in 1951 when a series of explosions strike a mine notorious for its unsafe conditions. The miners and their families work desperately to rescue the trapped men before an even larger, more deadly explosion can occur.Written by
Closing credits: The events depicted in this motion picture are fictitious although suggested by the history of mine disasters. See more »
Melissa Gilbert and John Carradine
Originally broadcast as "Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A." on Dec 26 1977, "The Christmas Coal Mine Miracle" is set in a small 1950 community owned by powerful miser Caufield (Don Porter), who refuses to assuage the fears of his workers by shutting down the mine for safety precautions. The climactic cave-in is saved for the final third, but until then it's occasionally a tough slog with thinly written characters. Despite her billing as 'Special Guest Appearance,' Melissa Gilbert of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE is clearly the star, the most level headed person in the entire film, her elder sister Matilda (Karen Lamm) an insufferable brat eager to escape with long suffering boyfriend Johnny (Kurt Russell), who has been taking care of his late mother. The most surprising cast member is the venerable John Carradine, whose Grandpa Sullivan looks after the grandchildren, sets up the breakfast by stocking the stove, and chops down a tree to avoid Caufield's overpriced twigs. Though he rarely has much to say, Carradine affects a slight accent to add some local flavor, quietly lamenting that Matthew Sullivan (top billed Mitchell Ryan) is the only one of his four sons whose life has not yet been claimed by the unforgiving mine. It's definitely a pleasant change for the elderly actor, curiously billed for the first and only time in his lengthy career as 'John Carradine Sr.' (perhaps a nod to his own pride as family patriarch of the Carradine clan, surpassing the Barrymores in prolificity).
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