"the Seekers" is the third and last mini-series based on John Jakes best-selling Bicentennial books about the fictitious Kent family. Here the focus shifts from Philip Kent, played in the 1st two by Andrew Stevens, but here by Martin Milner to show how much time has passed), to his son Abraham and his stepdaughter Elizabeth. Abraham, played well by Randolph Mantooth of "Emergency" fame, briefly fights the Indians under Gen. "Mad Anthony" Wayne, abetted by William Clark and Meriweather Lewis, but finds the military no life for him. Returning he is conflicted over his feelings for Elizabeth,played by a very young, very slim Delta Burke! and his Father's desire for him to go into the printing business. Eventually with Elizabeth's encouragement, he decides adventure out west is the way to make his own life, much to his Father's consternation.
Abraham and Elizabeth make a noble effort at farming and despite rogues like Pell, who only desires whiskey and Abraham's new wife Elizabeth, they do get help from the Clappers, erstwhile swedes who carry them till their corn crop comes in. Robert Reed, Mr. Brady!, is good as Mr. Clapper. With their young son Jarrod, it seems the Kent's have a shot a a good life. Alas, not so, farming is hard and unforgiving and when tragedy besets them, Abraham returns to Boston with his young son. There is a scene that will rip your heart out here, but I won't spoil it, watch and try not to cry! The fact that many young peop0le went through this in real life makes it all the more poignant.
Abraham can't get a grip and loses custody of Jarod to his good-hearted, but frail brother Gilbert and his somewhat shrewish wife Harriet. Perfectly played by the aptly named Harriet Karr. So the torch is passed to a new generation; Jarrod and his young cousin Amanda. Timothy Murphy and Sarah Rush play the parts and both are good, despite that they never became "name" actors. Rush is particularly persuasive and appealing.
Jarrod fights nobly in the war of 1812, but makes a bad enemy of the debauched Hamilton Stovall (George Hamilton, proving he's more than just a tan). Uncle Gilbert dies and even the outstandingly decent Mr. Pleasant, played by Ross Martin of "Wild Wild West" fame, can't save Kent and Son's from bad sorts. The worst of these is Mr. Piggott, a smarmy Hugh O'Brian, who deceives Harriet into marriage while eying poor Amamda. Just when you think it couldn't be worse, Stovall returns and Jarrod runs, literally, west with Amanda in tow.
The West is still hard. Nearly killed by evil Captain Drew, played by Neville Brand of "Laredo" fame, they are shown gratitude by Rosey Grier and sent on their way, though neither knows where they're going. Amanda and Jarrod, close as can be, run afoul of the devious Rev. Blackthorne, played well by Stuart Whitman, he, along with every other red-blooded man, has noticed Amamda's striking looks. The dialog here is something to hear! Nice writing John! Jarrod is left on his own, guess what happens? and hooks up with fur-trader Elijah Weatherby, an excellent Brian Keith, to seek that which is lost.
The mood, historical fun, music and sheer heartbreak just suck you in. They improve considerably over the book and Jakes himself has a cameo. Beware Stovall! I don't want to give away the ending, except to say your heart will break along with Jarrod's, but it's a terrific ending. The books view of native Americans is changed here and it's for the better too, making all the tragedies a little more palatable.
It thought this the best of the Kent mini-series and enjoy watching it over and over. The relationship between Jarrod and Amanda is particularly moving and if you enjoy this, read the books! Amanda's story is cont well in the 4th novel, "The Furies" All in all this is as good as historical fiction gets, right up there with North and South and the Blue and the Gray.
7 out of 7 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.