Love Comes Softly (2003)


Our rating: 5 out of 5

Rated: PG

reviewed by Catie Brooke


Young Marty Claridge (Katherine Heigl) and husband Aaron (Oliver Macready) have finally found their dreamland in the west. On their first night on their land the couple joyfully share their dreams of what they will build. The following morning Aaron goes to find one of his runaway horses. Viewers are led to believe that hours pass and still he has not retuned. Marty waits as the one meal that she prepares well (pancakes) grows cold. Marty learns that her husband is dead when Ben Graham, a man from the wagon train, comes riding up to the Claridge camp with a body on his horse. Aaron was thrown off his horse and his head hit a rock, which caused him to die instantly. Another day passes and with persuasion from Sarah, Ben Graham's wife, Marty is able to face the neighbors that have gathered for her husband's funeral. When Sarah is getting ready to go home she tells Marty that she must make a decision where to board and soon, since winter is on its way and there will be no wagon train until spring.


After everyone has left she stays by her husband's grave smoothing the dirt. When it begins to rain widower Clark Davis (Dale Midkiff) shows up with a proposition. He kneels down and timidly asks her to be his wife. Marty, still in the process of mourning, looks at him as if he were crazy. Clark tells her it probably sounds crazy but he has a little girl, Missie, who is desperately in need of a mother's care. Marty can board at Clark's house in a room with his daughter and he'll move his things to the shed. Clark asks her to teach Missie the things a mother would and in return, if Marty still wants to go, in the spring he will pay the fare for her ticket back home. This will solve her problem of boarding in town and the money for a ticket back home. Since the pastor is leaving that day Marty reluctantly agrees to the proposal and is married to Clark at the Graham's home. 


Over the period of days and nights of weeping Marty is able to recover a little from her grief and finds herself helping out with some chores on Clark's farm. Missie (Skye McCole) hates the thought of Marty living with them. After a few weeks on the farm Clark guesses that Marty is pregnant with Aaron's child. He tells her that he is glad she is going to have a baby, so she'll have something to
remember her husband by. Throughout their relationship, Marty is intrigued with Clark's unshakable faith in God. It withstands even the greatest trails. As she struggles to learn how to become a suitable wife and mother, she finds herself falling in love with her husband. But Clark has shown no overt feelings in response and as the day arrives for her to depart on the wagon train, both must make an inevitable choice.


Produced as a part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection, the film is suitable but does contain mild thematic elements. One cold night Marty decides to take a bath in the main room of the house. Missie is apparently asleep or in her room and Clark is not around. However Clark, not realizing Marty is taking a bath, comes inside the house. Seeing her in the tub he stumbles all over the room, sits on the eye on the hot stove, hits his head, and falls on the floor unconscious. Marty quickly gets out of the tub (all that can be seen is the bottom of her legs and her shoulders and up). Their relationship is never intimate. Clark is forced to deliver her child but the procedure is not shown. The terms "dagblammit" is used, along with two mild abuses of deity. While sitting by her late husband's grave in the rain Marty's shirt is somewhat see-through. Rather than this it is a very clean movie.


Love Comes Softly is a wonderful and heart warming film safe for the entire family.  I would definitely recommend it as an excellent adaptation from Janette Oke's bestselling novel.