Love's Uneventful Journey
For those who stumble across "Love's Long Journey" on TV and don't know that it is an adaptation of a Janette Oke story, it is part of a series of stories which take us back to the west. But these are not what I would call westerns as such because they are not really about cowboys and bad guys; in fact you could say they are something more akin to the wholesomeness of "Little House on the Prairie" with simple tales of good honest folk. As such if you are not ready to be hit by a wave of good nature, nicety and wholesomeness then you are not going to enjoy "Love's Long Journey".
Having headed West as part of a wagon train Missie (Erin Cottrell - Legally Blonde 2) and her husband Willie LaHaye (Logan Bartholomew) pull of to set up home on their own plot of land. But not only have they got the excitement of setting up their first home, hiring men to work the land and so on they also have an extra joy to look forward to as Missie is expecting their first child. But whilst Missie and Willie make friends and the ranch hands become an extended family there is trouble lurking in the distance as a trio of cowboys are robbing those who can't defend themselves.
In many ways it sort of feels wrong to try and be critical of "Love's Long Journey" because these are niche movies, made not to be general crowd pleasers but deliver a wholesome tale interweaved with Christian values. As such when I tell you that as movies go "Love's Long Journey" doesn't really have a storyline please don't think I am being mad. What we have is basically the tale of Missie and Willie having been married for two years setting down roots by building a ranch. We watch as they hire ranch hands, make friends with neighbouring homesteaders and prepare for the birth of their first child. There is some seriously telegraphed drama when we meet quite early on a trio of bad cowboys which you know at some point will end up causing Missie and Willie trouble but it comes late on.
So what this means is for well over an hour all we get is Willie and Missie setting up home, Missie meeting the neighbours and Willie hiring ranchers. Because this is all very wholesome the ranchers are a misfit bunch which become like an extended family especially when they learn that Missie is pregnant. And as for the neighbours whilst there are initial misgivings because we have an Indian wife soon these issues are sorted and every one is one big happy family. It is incredibly false and at times a little cheesy but then "Love's Long Journey" like the other movies in the series fill a gap in the market for wholesome family values movies in the same style as "Little House on the Prairie".
That same thing of being cheesy but also wholesome extends to the acting because we have weak characters that are so 2 dimensional that even a great actor would struggle. So whilst Logan Bartholomew seems quite weak as Willie and Erin Cottrell a little too nice as Missie it is not so much a fault of their acting but the characters. And I could go on because even the bad guys are just as 2 dimensional and false, sneering when required but little else. But then in keeping with the simple wholesome nature of the movie it works and anything more realistic would feel out of place.
What this all boils down to is that "Love's Long Journey" is a movie which if you stumble upon and have no knowledge of you may find incredibly cheesy and false. But then for those who are looking for some old fashioned wholesome entertainment then it fills the gap.