Our rating: 5 out of 5
reviewed by Rissi C.
Janette Oke's Love Come Softly series has been a favorite of mine ever since I first read the books eight years ago. Remembering winter nights reading them with my family and how eager I was to find out what happened next in the Davis/LeHaye families, it was elating to learn Hallmark was making these heartwarming stories into films. After seeing the first two in the series, I watched the third with a lot of expectations, but was a little disappointed.
Loves Long Journey starts right where Loves Enduring Promise leaves off. Willie (Logan Bartholomew) and Missie LeHaye (Erin Cottrell) have been heading west for two years in order to pursue Willies dreams of a cattle ranch. The farther they go, the more Missie misses her family and home, but knowing how much this means to Willie, she puts her feelings aside. While on their journey, Missie discovers she is pregnant. Knowing Willie would worry, she keeps the news to herself. Arriving in the small town of Tetsford Junction, they decide this is where they will settle. In town buying their land, Missie meets Jeff (Graham Phillips) a troubled young boy whose brother Sonny (Richard Lee Jackson) has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Seeing that Jeff is alone most the time, Missie and Willie decide to take him into their loving care.
Missie attempts to make the small house on the property into a home. As time passes, Missie befriends the neighbors and starts to teach again while Willie builds a herd and takes on ranch hands. As Missie gets to know her husbands employees, she finds more than one true friend among them. In addition to Missies teaching and housekeeping, she still makes time to be with Jeff, seeing him every time when she comes to town. While the LeHayes only want to help and encourage Jeff, their mentoring of him may only lead to danger.
There is some violence in this film, and it comes near the end. One
character gets shot but the camera doesn't show anything graphic. A few
guns are used. There may be some mild language used by the bad
characters. As far as the acting department goes, it could have been
improved on. I didn't like Erin Cottrell as much as January Jones from
Loves Enduring Promise. Erin wasn't the best actress to be cast as
Missie. I also liked Logan and January better together, since I felt
more of a spark between them than the current cast. I cant say that
there are a lot of unforgettable scenes or moments in this movie, which
was a big let-down, as there are several in the fist two of the series.
Probably the most memorable scene, short as it may be, comes when Missie
and Willie see their land for the first time. It was enjoyable to see
them pray for a successful start to the life they've chosen. It is also
the only scene that I felt any sort of a spark at all between them,
although it is more cutesy than romantic.
One thing they tried to do with this film was make it a little more of a western in the sense of there are some rough characters, something Janette Oke didn't at all bring into her books. I didn't feel it worked in this film. While that didn't ruin the movie for me, it just wasn't as close to the book as I would have liked. One other minor complaint that I had about this whole series was that they seemed to rush it. The original movie has Missie as a ten-year-old as opposed to a three year old, then they have her grown up in the second. However, when you are producing a two-hour TV film and have plans to make more than one, you have to move things along a little faster then if you were making a miniseries. I did still enjoy this drama. There are several instances where you will laugh, and others where you want to cry.
The LeHayes rely on their strength from God to see them through the rough times and difficult decisions, often praying for wisdom in their decisions, which is something you don't see in many movies today. I'm glad the screenwriters kept that aspect from the books into the films. If you enjoyed the first two in this series, you will probably enjoy this as well, but if you haven't seen the first two don't forget to read the reviews and rent them first!