Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure



Mild adventure has positive themes but simplifies history.
  • Review Date: March 19, 2013
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Though set in the 1800s, the movie's depiction of life during this era is oversimplified at the expense of any educational value.

Positive messages

Illustrates the value of thinking through your decisions carefully and considering all the alternatives before acting too quickly. The movie also stresses the importance of keeping promises and forgiveness.

Positive role models

Mandie is a tenacious young woman who is loyal and courageous. Her mother is compassionate and patient. Uncle John is an upstanding man who values critical thinking. Native American and African American characters are depicted as happy servants.

Violence & scariness

A woman fires a gun into the air, but no one is injured.

Sexy stuff

A man kisses a woman briefly on the lips.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure is a well-intentioned effort by a Christian studio to create a wholesome mystery-adventure for kids and teens, but at the expense of creating a rich portrait of life in the 1800s, particularly when it comes to the depictions of African Americans and Native Americans, whose struggles are completely glossed over or outright ignored. Still, it offers positive messages and warns against prejudice.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Headstrong Mandie (Lexi Johnson) is finally reunited with her plucky mother (Hayley Mills) who had believed she'd died during childbirth, thanks to the schemes of a meddling grandmother. Together again, they insist on defying Mandie's uncle John (her only father figure since her father's death) on an adventure to recover a family heirloom from a poisonous gas mine. Along the way, Mandie must troubleshoot through some tricky situations to balance what's right with what's expected.

Is it any good?


Based on the Lois Gladys Leppard's The Mandie Series, MANDIE AND THE CHEROKEE TREASURE is a period piece set in the late 1800s that looks way too fresh and clean to feel authentic. The wigs are bad, the accents are worse, the acting is not particularly impressive, and everything feels a bit hokey and forced in an effort to create a quirky sendup of villains and heroes with a positive takeaway, to say nothing of the way African Americans and Native Americans are depicted in the film as happy, well-cared for, willing servants.

That said, it's a well-intentioned effort to create some wholesome family fare that shows kids trying to make good choices in a number of challenging contexts. Particular emphasis is given to weighing decisions and considering alternatives as the characters problem-solve their way out of a fix or two. Kids may enjoy the pioneering themes, Cherokee touches, adventurous calamity, and headstrong teen girl's desire to prove herself and save the day. Although the quality doesn't quite hit the mark and this will win no awards for accuracy, the film's overall focus on clear-headed thinking and anti-prejudice message may just be worth enduring an otherwise lackluster production. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles the impact of the Trail of Tears on the lives of Native Americans, or the impact of slavery on African Americans. What do you know about the Native American way of life and how it changed after many tribes were relocated in the late 19th century? How were slaves treated in the United States prior to the Civil War?

  • How is the role of women depicted in this movie? Can you think of roles women play today that are different from the ones shown in the film?

  • Visit a museum to learn more about the rich, but tragic history of Native Americans in the United States.

Movie details

DVD release date:January 17, 2011
Cast:Hayley Mills, Lexi Johnson, William Smith Yelton
Director:Joy Chapman
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide