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Dodson's Journey (2001)

A man takes his young daughter on a cross-country fly-fishing trip following the death of his father and his wife's decision to get a divorce.


Gregg Champion


John Pielmeier (teleplay), James Dodson (book)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David James Elliott ... James Dodson
Alicia Morton Alicia Morton ... Maggie Dodson
Robert Loggia ... Opti Dodson
Tantoo Cardinal ... Waitress
Penelope Ann Miller ... Meredith Dodson
Ellen Burstyn ... Mother
Casey Dubois Casey Dubois ... Jack Dodson
Nanci Chambers ... Becky
Lachlan Murdoch ... Darrell
Keely Purvis Keely Purvis ... Katie
Lesley Ewen ... Wendy
Nancy Kerr ... Sharon
Brenda James ... Diane
Michelle Harrison ... Kristin
Christina Jastrzembska ... Jennifer


After the death of his father and an impending divorce, James Dodson takes his 10-year-old daughter Maggie on a fishing trip. Based on the novel 'Faithful Travelers: a Father, a Daughter, A Fly-Fishing Journey of the Heart' by James Dodson. Written by slp

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis










Release Date:

10 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Faithful Travelers See more »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Not one for cynics but it is sweetly sentimental without being either sickly cloying or realistic
26 September 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Following the death of his father and the ongoing collapse of his marriage, James Dobson decides to get some time apart from his wife by taking his eldest child, Maggie, away to teach her fly fishing in the same way that his father once did with him. The pair set off on the road, leaving Meredith back at home with their son, pouring over memories and packing up James's stuff for him to leave. As they learn to fish, James and Maggie come across a lot of strange characters and get close – but all the time James is aware that things are changing and he may never have what he once had. Lost in thought for much of the trip, James is forced to confront the past with visits from his father.

I'm not really a daytime TV movie sort of guy but I was sufficiently attracted by this film to tape it for later viewing. Despite always being the bottom of my watch list, I eventually got around to seeing it and, for all its sentimental weaknesses this turned out to actually be quite an enjoyable little film. The basic plot involves bonding with kids, communicating with parents and overcoming a broken marriage – pretty standard fare for daytime TV, all we needed was some sort of terminal illness and we'd have all the elements (although, maybe Opti covers that). The story is pretty sentimental but it mostly avoids being overly cloying and doesn't just go for the big solution for everything – people die and marriages end, the film doesn't try to hide away from that, although everything is taken so calmly in the film that it is easy to complain that it is just plain unrealistic.

The dialogue doesn't help this impression because it is far too clean, far too perfect to exist anywhere except on the page of a script. At times it is actually rather touching but too much of it is just corny and nothing that real people actually say. Of course, this makes it suited to a sentimental little family drama for television and, despite not being realistic, much of the dialogue is sweet and nice to listen to. The story may not really go anywhere and the lessons are too simple to really make for a good film but it still works just about – although those not used to this sort of film will struggle with its slow pace and rather sentimental delivery.

The cast also go down this route and are all on the same sticky page. Elliot is a very good looking guy but he to easily succumbs to the temptation to cock his head and half smile in his close ups! In a few scenes he is very good considering what he is given but mainly he just matches the calm, sweet material. Morton is very good and, despite the requirements of the script, mostly avoids being overly-cute. The support cast is secondary to these two but features good turns from Miller, Loggia and Burstyn.

Overall, a sweet, sentimental and obvious TV drama but not without charm. The material doesn't sell out for emotional payoffs to the extent it could have done and although the script is not convincing as real words, it is sweet and matches the overall tone set by the rest of the film. Definitely not one for cynics but viewers with patience and a high mush tolerance will likely love it.

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