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Young Pioneers' Christmas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Young Pioneers' Christmas
Written byBlanche Hanalis (screenplay)
Rose Wilder Lane (novel)
Directed byMichael O'Herlihy
StarringLinda Purl
Roger Kern
Music byLaurence Rosenthal
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Ed Friendly
Producer(s)Ed Friendly
Production location(s)Twentieth Century-Fox Studios, Los Angeles, California
Southern Arizona, Arizona
CinematographyRobert L. Morrison
Editor(s)Allan LaMastra
Running time91 min.
Production company(s)ABC Circle Films
DistributorDisney–ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Original releaseDecember 17, 1976

Young Pioneers' Christmas is a 1976 American made-for-television Western drama film which was broadcast by ABC in December 1976 as a Christmas special starring Linda Purl and Roger Kern.[1][2] It was a sequel to the made-for-television movie Young Pioneers which aired earlier in March 1976 and was produced using the same creative team of Ed Friendly (producer), Blanche Hanalis (screenwriter), and Michael O'Herlihy (director). The movie is loosely based on the 1933 novel Let the Hurricane Roar by Rose Wilder Lane, which was reissued by Bantam Books in 1976 using the same title of Young Pioneers for the paperback book.[3][4][5]

This was a second attempt to interest ABC in a TV series after Young Pioneers was not picked up by the network.[6][7] There were hopes this pilot would succeed[8] but it ranked only 37th in the Nielsen ratings.[9] Although not initially picked up by ABC, it was revived as a short-lived television series, The Young Pioneers, which was broadcast in April 1978 on ABC and canceled after three episodes.[10][11][12]


It is winter in the prairie town of Wildrose in 1874. Molly and David Beaton struggle with grief after the death of their baby son.[13] Their sense of loss is exacerbated when the railroad company invokes eminent domain over their neighbor’s property in order to bypass the Sioux Indian reservation.[14] It is a hard Christmas (their tree is made of pine cones because trees are hard to come by on the prairie) but their courage and spirit prevail.[15][1]


Production began in mid-summer 1976 with set construction at the Empire Ranch near Sonoita, Arizona.[16] Complete buildings were fabricated for the town of ‘Wildrose,’ with the inclusion of a railroad spur and depot.[17] Some scenes were filmed at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California due to a lack of available facilities in the Tucson, Arizona area.[18] Location filming in Arizona commenced in August and was completed in September.[19]

ABC Circle Films negotiated with a local aviation firm in Arizona for conversion of a hangar into a sound stage in anticipation of the project becoming a series.[20] When it was not picked up by ABC the entire set consisting of 18 buildings, a railroad station and track, two water towers and 20 utility poles were sold and carted off to Sierra Vista, Arizona.[21]


  • Linda Purl as Molly Beaton
  • Roger Kern as David Beaton
  • Robert Hays as Dan Gray
  • Kay Kimler as Nettie Peters
  • Robert Donner as Mr. Peters
  • Britt Leach as Loftus
  • Arnold Soboloff as Yancy
  • Brendan Dillon as Doyle
  • Rand Bridges as Pike
  • Brian Melrose as Charlie Peters
  • Sherri Wagner as Flora Peters


  1. ^ a b "Young Pioneers' Christmas". Internet Movie Database ( Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  2. ^ Cahan, Allan R. “Spend Christmas with ‘Young Pioneers’ Dec. 19.” Lebanon Daily News, 11 December 1976.
  3. ^ "Let the hurricane roar" (first edition). Library of Congress Online Catalog ( Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  4. ^ "Young pioneers". LC Online Catalog. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  5. ^ “’Young Pioneers II’ sets Example of Courage.” Kenosha News, 4 December 1976.
  6. ^ "Young Pioneers". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  7. ^ Crosby, Joan. “Linda Purl To Costar In Pilot For Possible Series.” The Times and Democrat, 1 March 1976.
  8. ^ Holsopple, Barbara. “’Young Pioneers’ Only Hope Left For Western.” Pittsburgh Press, 16 December 1976.
  9. ^ “ABC Keeps Top Spot In Ratings.” The Danville Register, 22 December 1976.
  10. ^ "The Young Pioneers (1978–)". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  11. ^ Buck, Jerry. “New Life For Pioneers.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 29 March 1978.
  12. ^ Dorsey, Tom. “Network losers for next season on ABC and NBC won’t be missed.” The Courier-Journal, 25 May 1978.
  13. ^ Thomas, Kevin. “TV Movie Review: Heritage of Our Christmases.” Los Angeles Times, 17 December 1976.
  14. ^ “’Young Pioneers II’ sets Example of Courage.” Kenosha News, 4 December 2976.
  15. ^ “’Young Pioneer sequel shows the real West.” Jefferson City Post-Tribune, 11 December 1978.
  16. ^ Shelton, Robert. “Out Takes From Old Tucson.” Tucson Daily Citizen, 7 August 1976.
  17. ^ Cahan, Allan R. “Christmas special continues ‘Young Pioneers’ dramatic saga.” Great Falls Tribune, 12 December 1976.
  18. ^ Shelton, Robert. “Out Takes From Old Tucson.” Tucson Daily Citizen, 10 July 1976.
  19. ^ “’Young Pioneers Christmas’ completed.” The Courier-News, 22 September 1976.
  20. ^ “Hangar Eyed for TV Stage.” The Arizona Daily Star, 5 August. 1976.
  21. ^ Smith, Jeff. “Sonoita dream ranch just a fraud.” Tucson Daily Citizen, 2 February 1977.

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This page was last edited on 25 November 2019, at 13:14
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