Ephraim's Rescue (2013) Poster

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Handcart pioneer courage
bkoganbing11 December 2014
One of the strengths of the Mormon cinema is that they've been scrupulously accurate in portraying their pioneer days indeed the face of America in the 19th century. Ephraim's Rescue is the dramatization of one of the rescues of the handcart companies that journeyed to the American west to reach what the LDS folks term as Zion.

This story is narrated by its protagonist in old age. Darin Southam plays Ephraim Hanks who's a rather footloose and adventurous sort when we first meet him. Things aren't exciting enough on his Ohio farm so he's off for adventure even going east to Boston and then becoming a sailor for a few years. He returns to Ohio and hearing his brother has gone off with those Mormons, Southam makes a decision to do the same though his mother and sister.

He did it the way a lot of the early Mormons did it because horses were a premium and had to be tended. He walked to Zion as the LDS church saw what became Utah as.

When Brigham Young has heard that a handcart party from Great Britain where the church sent some of the first of those elders as missionaries it's Southam he sends as head of a rescue party as winter comes on.

The other track of this film is the story of that particular handcart party from Great Britain. Whatever you think of Mormon doctrine you cannot deny the incredible tenacity and courage of these people. One of them Thomas Dobson played by James Gaisford who because he walked instead of riding by wagon or horseback suffered some horrible injuries.

Part of Mormon lore is the healing powers that Ephraim Hanks is supposed to have. Their doctrine in fact when they refer to themselves as Latter Day Saints they're saying that the potentiality to be saints and prophets is not confined to ancient days.

Here's where a gentile (non-Mormon) audience might have swallowing the story of miracle cures that Hanks was supposed to have made. Still films like these have a built in audience of LDS members. And for those who want to find out about the culture Ephraim's Rescue will serve that purpose.
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Good and inspiring, but with absence of the reality of life and death.
Reno-Rangan1 November 2014
They say it was based on the true story of a man who lived in the latter half of the 1800s. Kind of the biographical movie, but largely inspired from the real incidents rather than story from one man's perspective. The story narrates from the two sets of actors that they come together at the end. One from the Utah, American and other from British pilgrims.

The theme was related to the religious and a man with the healing power. Few scenes are hard to accept as it makes no sense when it comes to the reality of life on the earth. As a fictional movie about human spirit it is a lovable movie and I liked it, but as a real perhaps no one buys it. Because it is like the adult version of what kids believe, Santa and fairies.

It might be a B stream movie, but the quality was very good with the decent performances and great musics. The thing is, the true story and its logic totally demerged from my perspective. Who knows if you are a man of god, a religious type, then you may going like it.
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Outstanding Companion to 17 Miracles
blue-731 May 2013
Director T.C. Christensen said that when he made his pioneer handcart film 17 MIRACLES that he wanted to include the inspiring true story Ephraim K. Hanks but decided that it needed to be told in a film of it's own. EPHRAIM'S RESCUE is that film and indeed it did call for it's own telling. Darin Southam is excellent in the title role of a man willingly prepared to do the errands of the Lord. The catch-line for the film is "Decisions Determine Destiny" and Ephraim's life proves to be a wonderful depiction of how an ordinary man can be magnified to be an instrument for great good in the hands of God. Once again T.C. has created a script based on recorded entries found in pioneer journals and through fine directing, beautiful cinematography and stirring music created a film of great power and beauty. Many years ago President Heber J. Grant foretold of a time when the stories of the pioneers and the birth of the restoration would be told on the screens of the world. T.C. Christensen has certainly played a major part in helping to bring that vision to life. See this in a theatre if possible and look for it on DVD (hopefully in Blu-ray) down the road.
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A great telling of a true story
ammonlcarter14 March 2019
I've read up on this true story and was expecting to be slightly let down watching this adaptation. I felt that this movie held true and was told in a way that left me satisfied in what I've read and felt. Acting was great for an independent film and music was beautiful. Beautiful scenery full of pioneer spirit.
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Crazy religious drivel
garyamedee8 October 2021
This is just more crazy religious nuttery.

Most of the reviews are from delusional morons who will upvote any religious drivel they find.

Avoid this like the plague.
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Very Cleansed...
ibezdechi6 October 2018
As with other TC Christensen films, it tells and portrays Mormons as Mormons want to see themselves. His earlier film, 17 Miracles, has the same problem that everyone has Tide-clean clothes, perfectly shaved and groomed Schick faces, and nobody sweats, houses are perfectly painted like an early Disney movie. The acting is really community theater level.
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Ok... I know I'm biased but...
droubs4210 April 2021
Obviously as a film, this falls a bit flat. I get it. The female lead is lifeless, there's a horrible story flow and characters that are hard to connect with. BUT. As an LDS filmgoer, this thing is strong. If I weren't LDS this would get a 4/10. But because I am, and the experience I had spiritually while watching it, it gets the 7.
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A true account of LDS history rescue's of the Willie and Martin Handcart companies and the blessings and hardships they encountered.
corinneathome-989-88446523 November 2013
Though some would call this a 'sentimental, cheese' movie and on the spiritual radar, I am inclined to rethink and give this another look. There is some pretty good acting, directing, excellent filming and producing. The story is tight and the message is more than worthwhile. We need more of these. True and uplifting. Some beautiful scenery, photography. Nothing about Mormon's that would 'offend' anybody.If you want to see lots of blood and gore and lots of graphic violence or lots of action or science fiction, or graphic sex, you won't get it here. This is for the folks who want something uplifting, hopeful and a place to find comfort, hope and faith in things that matter most. HOWEVER, some of the shots do involve the hardships that are not for the faint of heart!
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As Bad as it Gets
danieljdj-1186317 November 2021
There are so many faith promoting things in this story, but it can't excuse the bizarre choices made by the director. The movie is just a string of mindblowingly silly moments with even more distracting overarching issues. The pacing has to be the worst offender here, but almost every aspect of this film is subpar, all while thinking that it's being impactful.
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Love it!
ladyute-567-72042631 July 2013
I really enjoyed 17 Miracles, but this movie so touched my heart. I liked that it had some humor in it. Darin Southam did a wonderful job of portraying Ephraim Hanks. Actually, all of the actors did a great job. I learned more about church history and gained a greater respect and admiration for those of the Willie & Martin Handcart Company. I worked at the Beehive House taking tours for 5 years and gained a great respect for pioneers during that time. Having seen 17 Miracles, that respect and testimony grew. Ephraim's Rescue brought it so much more clearer about the struggles they went through and the wonderful men who were sent to rescue them. It showed very tenderly the blessings given by the priesthood in our church. While I do not have pioneer ancestors, I have met several of the descendants of Ephraim Hanks and they also expressed to me how much they enjoyed the movie and the portrayal of their ancestor.
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Truly a moving and motivating film
ab76988 June 2013
Seldom have I had such a deep and visceral reaction to a movie. I have seen 17 Miracles and it was superb. This movie is a look at the other side of the rescue of the handcart companies. I think the acting was excellent and as good as any Hollywood Studio production. The scenery was very appropriate and strengthened the overall look of the film. The casting was first rate and each actor seemed very motivated to do their best. The stories are almost unbelievable but I must accept them as they came from the personal pioneer diaries themselves. This movie and its many uplifting and strengthening messages will remain with me for a lifetime. This is the first movie review I have ever written and I did so to recommend this movie to anyone interested in Mormon pioneer history or just a great movie. I cannot recommend it more highly. Truly inspirational.
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So well done!
tikker103 June 2013
An excellent film all around! From the story to the acting to the cinematography, music, makeup, etc. - this has superior quality that makes this movie really stand out. As much as I liked 17 Miracles, I think Ephraim's Rescue is even better. It follows two main characters and you see how their stories come together, rather than following lots of different characters as 17 Miracles does. I think you feel a greater tie to the characters as a result. Ephraim Hanks is inspiring in that he is an imperfect man who simply desires to do what's right and to be prepared. One of my new favorite movies! Thank you, T.C.! Amazing job! Can't wait to see what movie you come out with next!
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A very inspiring movie that touches your heart due to the faith of one man
ddstahler15 December 2013
What a beautiful story of someone that is not well known yet is a very compelling and powerful example of the power of faith. A humble priesthood holder called on to help the Willie & Martin handcart companies by Brigham Young. Due to a dream that warned him of the danger these saints were in and the spirit telling him he needed to go to help, he prepared himself so when the call came to help, he was the only one to say, I am ready to go NOW!! We need more faithful servants like that to help those who so desperately are reaching out due to their circumstances. What a touching, compelling story that warms the heart. We need more movies like this!!
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Watched online on www.mormonmovies.TV
pablo-989-11710318 October 2013
A great movie that I watched in HD on www.mormonmovies.TV for only USD 6.00- I could recommend it to many friends around the world and they loved it, specially because it is not available in DVDs or theaters beyond Utah, USA and other few states in America. People from Argentina, Chile, Portugal, Spain, Brazil...etc all Latin America could watch it almost at the same time it was release in Utah. Other great advantage was that people didn't tie to a fixed schedule; Watching movies online in a pay-per-view model give them the freedom to watch their favorite content when they want and where they want; this is so fantastic and awesome to manage your time and don't be slave of dates and hours. Also, the interaction that they have in the Facebook fans pages, also, in the same site; they can interact with people from around the world sharing the experiences that they felt watching the movie. Summarizing, and inspirational and practical experience.
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Awesome movie
I had the chance to see this in theaters before it game out. It looks like it is going to be a movie that just tries to focus on getting people to cry, but that's not it at all. It has a lot of funny jokes, jokes were cleverly placed through out the show. A few parts it even ties spiritual scenes in with a joke which i think makes it so much more enjoyable. Not only does it have a lot of great jokes in it but it lets you relate to the characters. There is one scene including a river(wont tell you anymore to not spoil the movie) that i thought they tried too hard to make it suspenseful but all in all it was a really great show and i will be going to see it again.
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Great family movie
kvhawker-kh6 June 2013
We loved the movie! Take your family and later you can talk about faith, sacrifice and service with them. Our ancestors had it hard no matter where they were in those days and this movie will increase your understanding. We talked about many parts of the movie and have thought deeply about the love and sacrifice portrayed by many of the characters in the movie. This is not a preachy movie but it does portray faith in God and working towards goals. The movie makers did a great job presenting so many different aspects of that time. We loved the credits too! It was good to know more about the characters and more about their loves. Support your local theaters that bring these movies for us to see!
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excellent, tear jerker.
Suzballard-709-43812610 June 2013
Excellent, tear jerker movie. Amazingly well acted and well done. Really, really enjoyed this. The only thing that makes it an 8 out of 10 is that the snow was not deep enough and the breath of the actors didn't show when they were in the snow. I've read stories about Ephraim Hanks before but the director did an excellent job putting the stories I'd heard on the big screen. Tears rolled down my face....superbly done. I will be recommending it to all my friends and family and will be buying a copy when it comes out for sale. The lessons we can learn from this movie are so numerous - compassion, kindness, assisting others, trusting in God, having faith to be healed and faith to heal others. Just a lovely movie.
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What will you do for your faith in Christ
zjsmutek-111 July 2019
This film shows what one will do to keep their faith true.

God's hand was there to help those pioneer people make their journey across wild country to their promised land - UTAH
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Very inspiring and true to the story.
pamelabailey-wre15 October 2013
Well cast and portrayed. Simplistic in nature with full content necessary to pull you into the story and help you feel a part of the movie. A movie for all ages, people of all faiths and those looking for a movie that leaves you better because you watched it. I love the music. It has resonated with me for days. The human touches and emotion are compelling. This movie can inspire its viewers to desire to make the world around them better and to improve themselves to their potential. It proves the goodness of God and the love of mankind and the goodness that exists within each human soul. A great movie to share and watch again. Simple and full of meaning. It brings the story to life in vision and helps the story line leap from the pages to the screen.
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Well done biography of an inspiring man and community
theemilydunn4 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Ephraim's Rescue is a sweet story about a God-fearing man who learns to overcome himself and serve the Lord through his service to others. The cinematography is compelling and beautiful yet graphic at times when showing the snow-ridden pioneers crossing the plains. The story is intriguing and even though I knew that he would reach the pioneers in need, I remained eager to see how he did it and what occurred when he did.

The reason I gave it a 7 and not higher is because of a few things: there were a few points (the snake scene and how it ties in as well as the character Ester--whether she dies or not? I wasn't sure) in the story that left me a little confused and didn't seem cohesive; the comic relief was lacking--what little they did have brought a few chuckles, but could have used a little more variety and sophistication in that regard because the movie is so fraught with emotion and intensity of circumstances; the ending took me by surprise--it came sooner than I expected. I would have liked to see more of the resolution with the pioneers making it to the Utah valley.

Despite those few setbacks, the movie left me inspired and uplifted. I kept thinking about the characters of Ephraim Hanks, Thomas Dobson, Alice Dobson, and Elizabeth Bradshaw with their strong character arch and the intensity of their enduring faith. I thoroughly enjoyed these actor's performances and would give them each a 9 out of 10.

I highly recommend seeing this movie. I feel the setbacks were possibly due to a limited budget, time, and/or perhaps resources. It is worth looking past those things to experience the history of such an inspiring man as well as the Mormon community that he serves.
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