Parents' Guide to

Miracle at Sage Creek

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Spiritual Western is trite, but full of feel-good lessons.

Movie PG 2005 83 minutes
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If you're willing to overlook its shortcomings, Miracle at Sage Creek is a simple tale of love, redemption, and yes, miracles, during Christmastime in the Wild West. If the title itself isn't a dead giveaway, anyone with even a passing familiarity with both Westerns and Christmas movies should be able to predict how the last 30 minutes of the movie will go down. It certainly isn't a masterpiece of either genre, but in spite of the trite story line, Miracle at least deserves praise for attempting to push beyond the stereotypes of Native Americans, pioneers, and how the two relate to each other as so often portrayed in traditional Westerns. Native American traditions are given a great deal of respect, themes of family and friendship abound, and the curmudgeonly bitterness and intolerance of Ike Franklin is overcome in both the storyline and the positive examples set by the other characters -- the boys Zachary Keller and Samuel Red Eagle in particular.

And yet, the only death in the film, the shooting of an African-American stagecoach driver, is a murder no one seems terribly interested in avenging. Plot holes like these make it a bit more difficult to feel good about this "feel good" movie.

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