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Keeping the Promise (1997)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 5 January 1997
Harsh elements, disease and dilemmas mark a Massachusetts family's move to uncharted Maine and a better life in 1768.


Sheldon Larry


Gerald Di Pego (teleplay by) (as Gerald DiPego), Stacey Rayn (script coordinator) | 2 more credits »

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Credited cast:
Keith Carradine ... William (Will) Hallowell
Annette O'Toole ... Anne Hallowell
Brendan Fletcher ... Matthew (Matt) Hallowell
Gordon Tootoosis ... Sakniss
William Lightning William Lightning ... Attean
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Benedict Campbell Benedict Campbell ... Smithy
Maury Chaykin ... Hunter Ben Loomis
David Cubitt ... Boat Agent
Darrell Dennis ... Jimnodo
Allegra Denton Allegra Denton ... Sarah Hallowell
Nell Geisslinger
Ruby Gillett Ruby Gillett ... Katy (as Ruby Jean Gillett)
Duke Redbird Duke Redbird ... Medicine Man
Ashley Saulnier Ashley Saulnier ... Older Child
Ben Saulnier Ben Saulnier ... Young Man Walking


Immigrated carpenter William 'Will' Hallowell hopes to make his family wealthy, after a fire ruined them in Springfield, Massachusettes, by moving to a claim in Maine territory. In order not to loose it, his son and apprentice Matt (13), a greenhorn city boy, must stay there while Will fetches spoiled wife and daughters, but an epidemic wrecks that plan. Matt is robbed by white neighbor Ben Loomis, but saved by old Penobscott Indian Sakniss, who demands in exchange mat teaches his his grandson Attean to read. From suspicion bordering on blind hatred, loyal friendship springs, yet the winter is unforgiving. Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

indians | fire | boy | theft | ritual | See All (19) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »



USA | Canada



Release Date:

5 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Oath See more »

Filming Locations:

Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Well-meaning but rather wan
2 July 2002 | by mfisher452See all my reviews

An admirable attempt to make a meaningful film about people struggling with real, life-or-death problems, and based on "The Sign Of The Beaver," a well-regarded children's novel. The scene in which the mother (Annette O'Toole) realizes that her child, whom she is cradling in her arms, has just died, is heart-wrenching, because you know that as rare as it has become in modern-day First World countries, it has happened millions of times in human history and probably still happens quite often in some places today.

However, the film suffers from being sanitized for modern TV audiences. Nobody was that clean in colonial times. And with few exceptions, the actors fail to convince that they are playing real people instead of performing for the camera in a Meaningful Period Piece. Also, I recall several glaring anachronisms that ought to have been picked up by any competent script editor and distract from the attempt at realism, as when Matthew says, "I tell you, I'm OKAY." (Emphasis added) According to the Oxford English Dictionary, that famous Americanism was not recorded in print until 1840.

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