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The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

In the 1930s, a tomboyish girl runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, because there was work there.


Jeremy Kagan

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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 (played by Meredith Salenger) is a twelve year old Depression era girl whose single-parent 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 mis- adventures 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 »


Family | Adventure


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site





Release Date:

27 September 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Natty Gann See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


After Sol tops off his first tree, he puts his axe on the top. He then climbs up to sit on the top, but the axe has disappeared. See more »


Harry: [opens the door to a barn, looks inside, then speaks to Natty] It looks safe. Come on. Come on! It's empty! Nothin' in here but a pig, and he sure don't care.
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Referenced in The Golden Girls: Family Affair (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Criminally underrated Disney film
30 January 2010 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

A truly wonderful, moving film... The Journey of Natty Gunn fits that description like a glove. Set during the depression, this is like Homeward Bound but with people. The result is a beautiful, harrowing, poignant and lovely film that is criminally underrated, for it is by far one of the better Disney live action films. The attention to detail is staggering, I mean the sets were superb and the costumes were lovely. The music is haunting and pleasant and the script is well above average. There is also enough action to satisfy kids and adults, and the film is effective especially in conveying the harsh realities of children living in the depression. The performances were also astounding. Meredith Salenger was absolutely fantastic in the title role, completely believable and even heart-rending, I am lost for words at how she hasn't gone on to be a major star, for her performance showed that she really could act, which could more than be said for some of the actresses working today. John Cusack is also impressive as the drifter who tries to convince Natty that the open road is no place for a young girl. The wolf featured here is very cute too, and Ray Wise is great. In conclusion, this is a pretty darn good film. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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