Across the Great Divide

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Across the Great Divide Movie Poster Image
Quaint '70s family adventure has mild violence.
  • G
  • 1976
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Resilience; loyalty; trust; sticking together; working toward a common goal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A gambler tries to con two kids into giving him food but turns out to be trustworthy in all other regards. The two main children are resourceful and remain optimistic about surviving against great odds. Native Americans are alternately portrayed as friends and enemies.

Violence & Scariness

Recurring violence but no bloodshed or graphic injuries. Several shoot-outs; a girl pulls a gun and shoots at a man several times but misses; a man and two children are stalked by bears, a pack of wolves, and mountain lions and are attacked on occasion. A boy and a horse nearly drown but survive. A man tosses a spear at a bear but misses. 

Sexy Stuff

Name-calling: "heathen," "bushwackers."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man swigs from a flask.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Across the Great Divide features two orphans and their dog trying to make it to Oregon and a gambler who befriends them. There's mild, recurring violence with shoot-outs, animal attacks, and various weather- and food-scarcity hardships faced on the trip, but it's all tame compared to modern-day violence. Overall it's a family-friendly tale of trust, resourcefulness, and survival.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15-year-old Written byMicheal D. May 5, 2018

Great family movie

Personally, I see zero problems with this wholesome family movie.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Holly and Jason Smith are orphans who have only their dog and their wits to get them to Oregon, where they believe an inheritance awaits them. When they meet Coop (Robert Logan), an alcoholic gambler who seems set on tricking them out of what little food they have, they rightly refuse to trust him. But as time wears on and the trail gets tough, they realize they'll survive the elements better if they stick together, if they can just learn to trust him.

Is it any good?

ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE is a quaint, family-friendly film about survival and trust. It's set against a stunning backdrop in the Utah mountains, and watching these hardscrabble kids learn to trust an even more hardscrabble gambler makes for an interesting meditation. There's a lot of action and suspense here without today's typical gratuitous violence and painstakingly lifelike bloodshed. Instead, it's a story about battling the elements, living off the land, and the old truism that man's biggest enemy is perhaps himself. The score feels very dated and a bit cheesy with sweeping ballads and strings, but it's essentially the Oregon Trail come to life and entertaining for kids and families who like Western history and tales of resourcefulness and moxie. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the portrayal of Native Americans here. How is it different from how we portray Native Americans today? 

  • How does the violence in this film compare to typical movies you see today?

  • Have you ever played the game Oregon Trail? What do you think the biggest challenge would be in surviving a cross-country trek?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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