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Parents' Guide to

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gold-rush-era heroine deals with issues like abuse, suicide.

Movie NR 2001 90 minutes
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

great family western - a coming of age story empowering for girls

It's a great movie about a widow who takes her three kids west to a California gold mine town to run a boarding house - and her oldest daughter's coming of age story

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE is an above-average made-for-TV movie from 2001. It deserves some accolades for not sugarcoating the harsh realities of those who moved to California during the gold rush of the mid-19th century. Death, slavery, suicide, domestic abuse, and more are frankly depicted. While many movies about the Gold Rush tend to go right to the moment when the prospector finds the gold in them thar hills, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple prefers to talk about the day-to-day survival of the miners, and a young girl attempting to get used to (and maybe even eventually like) her new surroundings.

The story is less of a straight narrative and more a series of adventures involving Lucy and her interactions with those around her. Wilford Brimley makes a brief appearance as a county sheriff who is (you guessed it) irascible and crotchety. The acting as a whole is well done. Fans of westerns, as well as fans of independent-minded teenage girls growing up in changed surroundings, will enjoy this one.

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