Before I ever saw Heartland, I read Elinore Pruitt Stewart's "Letters of a Woman Homesteader." Her letters portray a woman of insight and intelligence, and a much gentle demeanor than that portrayed in the movie.
The movie was produced by the Wilderness Women and the National Endowment for the Arts. You can see the contribution by the Wilderness Women. Just awesome.
The music was spot on. Elinore and her daughter Jerrine go to live with Clyde Stewart on his ranch, Elinore as his housekeeper. The scene where she washes clothes and hangs them on the line made my hands hurt! Elinore befriends Grandma, a German woman several miles from their ranch, and the local midwife. There are several scenes that are quite wonderful, the cow roundup and picnic. The pig slaughter is just what they would have done to have meat for the winter.
Then winter sets in and then reality is right there. The married Stewart's child is born and has died. There is no feed for the cattle. An emaciated horse comes to the house and is turned away.
The Stewarts decide to give up, but then a new calf is born. A new beginning. They decide to go on.
Beautiful movie, from beginning to end. The DVD is glorious.