Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles Haid|
|Produced by||Patrick J. Palmer
|Written by||John Michael Hayes
David Ogden Stiers
|Music by||Joel McNeely|
|Edited by||Andrew Doerfer|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|January 14, 1994|
In 1917, Will Stoneman's (Mackenzie Astin) father is killed in a mushing accident leaving Will to care for his family. Needing money for college and to save the family farm in South Dakota, Will decides to travel to Winnipeg, Canada to take part in a dog-sled race from Winnipeg to Saint Paul, Minnesota. With the aid of Ned Dodd (August Schellenberg), the young man prepares both physically and mentally for the harsh weather and terrain throughout the race. During the race, Will becomes popular with the newspaper media as reporter Harry Kingsley (Kevin Spacey) tells about Will's strong courage in what he must do. As Will races for long hours for many days, he endures brutal cold, steep mountains, treacherous rivers passages and various other obstacles, and even attempts by some of the other competitors to sabotage his efforts. By the end of the race, Will is so exhausted, injured and sick, he can barely walk, but with a little push from his family and supporters, he manages to come out victorious.
Cast and characters
- Mackenzie Astin as Will Stoneman
- Kevin Spacey as Harry Kingsley
- David Ogden Stiers as J.W. Harper
- August Schellenberg as Ned Dodd
- George Gerdes as Borg Guillarson
- Penelope Windust as Maggie Stoneman
- Brian Cox as Angus McTeague
- Rex Linn as Joe McPherson
- John Terry as Jack Stoneman
- Richard Riehle as Burton
Much of the film was shot on location in Minnesota, mostly along the Lake Superior shoreline as well as Iron Range cities such as Floodwood. Although the race takes place between Winnipeg and Saint Paul, neither city actually appears in the film. The Winnipeg starting point for the race was filmed in Duluth, Minnesota near the old Central High School. The Lake Superior Railroad Museum, located in Two Harbors, Minnesota, portrayed the St. Paul train station's finish line. Due to the general lack of mountains in Minnesota (excepting the Sawtooth Mountains), scenes in which Will goes through mountainous terrain were filmed in Montana. Additional footage was shot in Superior, Wisconsin as well as Brookston, Minnesota.
Although the story of Will Stoneman is fictional, the character was loosely based on the exploits of Albert Campbell, who won the 1917 race from Winnipeg to Saint Paul, and Fred Hartman, the American hope in the race. According to Campbell, he won the race to fulfill his father’s dying wish made just two weeks before the race.
- U.S. Opening Weekend: $5,313,406.
- "Weekend Box Office : Ticket Sales Up Despite Mother Natur". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-07.