Joy at Last
Whilst times have been hard for Missie (Erin Cottrell) and Willie (Logan Bartholomew) they are still very much in love and with Clark (Dale Midkiff) arriving having not seen Missie in a long time it is a happy occasion. But happiness to turns to sadness when their baby daughter Kathy dies all of a sudden and it causes problems for Willie and Missie, driving a wedge between them as Missie attempts to battle on. When Missie says she is unable to keep on teaching Willie pays Mayor Doros (John Laughlin) a visit who wants him to be town Sheriff as without Missie's wage they can't survive. But being Sheriff for Doros is not easy as Willie comes to learn that the Mayor may not be a good guy as he thought.
It's been quite a while since I watched and reviewed "Love's Long Journey" the previous movie in this series based on the Janette Oke stories but like with all these movies they still work without prior knowledge of the series. Yes it certainly helps if you know who Clark, Missie and Willie are and are use to the religious aspects of the movie but they can be watched individually.
Now as to this 4th movie in the series, well it certainly has a different tone to the previous 3 movies, a little darker and depressing with it heavily featuring the problems which hit Willie and Missie. The problems are not just for Willie and Missie as their adopted son Jeff has a few problems of his own as he falls for Mayor Doros's attractive daughter Colette. All of which of combines provides plenty of food for the moral side of the movie as the families faith is put to the test in the face of so much adversity.
The tone is not the only change when it comes to "Love's Abiding Joy" as to be frank the editing in this movie is not as good as the previous movies. The problem springs from there being so much going on and to fit that into a reasonable running length means it chops and changes between the various threads. It still has that familiar style, that easy going music and that idealistic view of the west it's just that it doesn't fit smoothly together.
The one real negative I have this time is that the characters just don't feel quite right. Maybe it is because of the darker tone but the only character who won me over was Clark with Dale Midkiff once again making him a very soulful character.
What this all boils down to is that "Love's Abiding Joy" is different to the previous 3 movies with a much darker storyline. But it also suffers as it struggles to deal with all the various story elements and do them justice.