In the 1930s, a tomboy runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, where he has found work.


Jeremy Kagan
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Meredith Salenger ... Natty Gann
John Cusack ... Harry
Ray Wise ... Sol Gann
Lainie Kazan ... Connie
Scatman Crothers ... Sherman
Barry Miller ... Parker
Verna Bloom ... Farm Woman
Bruce M. Fischer ... Charlie Linfield
John Finnegan ... Logging Boss
Jack Rader ... Employment Agent
Matthew Faison Matthew Faison ... Buzz
Jordan Pratt Jordan Pratt ... Frankie
Zachary Ansley ... Louie
Campbell Lane ... Chicago Moderator
Max Trumpower Max Trumpower ... Chicago Worker


Natty Gann is a 12-year-old Depression-era girl whose single 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 misadventures 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 »


Adventure | Family


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film and Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) were the first non-comic roles and non-comedy movies of actor John Cusack. See more »


When Natty jumps from the water tower to the moving train, she spills water on Harry and the contents of the freight car. Both Harry and the car are dry a few seconds later, when the wolf joins them. See more »


Sherman: Oh, no, Natty.
[puppy yips in background]
Sherman: . Do I look like an animal shelter?
Natty Gann: Don't worry, I'll keep this one.
Sherman: That's what you said the last time.
See more »


References The Buccaneer (1938) See more »

User Reviews

Meredith Salenger will break your heart
8 February 2003 | by ian j bellSee all my reviews

This haunting and delightful film - intended for children but equally compelling for adults - tells the story of Natty Gann, a brave and resourceful young girl who traipses across Depression-era America to find her only relative, her long-lost dad. If that sounds depressing then think again. This is a gem of a film. It has Meredith Salenger in the lead role displaying a warmth and maturity to carry a role that may easily have overwhelmed a less gifted actress. How on earth she hasn't become a big star is completely beyond me. Offering commendable support is John Cusack as the older boy and drifter she befriends on her journey. Children's films so often tend to lean towards sentiment or easy endings but this uncompromising film, and yes, the language gets a little colourful at times but so what, has a depth to it that makes you root for the heroine to the very end. Natty Gann is simply a wonderful film for young and old alike.

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Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site





Release Date:

27 September 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Natty Gann See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$490,318, 29 September 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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