The Awakening Land

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Awakening Land
DVD cover of the movie The Awakening Land.jpg
Format Drama
Directed by Boris Sagal
Produced by Harry Bernsen
Robert E. Relyea
Written by Conrad Richter (Novels)
James Lee Barrett
Liam O'Brien
Starring Elizabeth Montgomery
Hal Holbrook
Jane Seymour
Music by Fred Karlin
Editing by Bernard J. Small
Country United States
Language English
Original channel NBC
Original run February 19, 1978 – February 21, 1978
Running time 420 mins.
No. of episodes 3

For the trilogy of novels of the same name by Conrad Richter on which this miniseries was based, see The Awakening Land trilogy.

The Awakening Land is a 1978 television miniseries based on Conrad Richter's trilogy of novels: The Trees; The Fields; and The Town, published from 1940 to 1950. The series originally aired on NBC in three installments from February 19 to February 21, 1978; directed by Boris Sagal, it starred Elizabeth Montgomery and Hal Holbrook.


The storyline follows the struggle of Sayward Luckett (Montgomery) after she travels to the unsettled Ohio Valley frontier from post-revolutionary Pennsylvania. She and her family carve out a homestead in the forest, and a community with other settlers. The series follows Sayward from a young single woman, left with three sisters to raise after their mother dies and their father abandons the family, to a married woman who has her own family of seven. Her faithful devotion to her family is recounted against the day-to-day struggle for survival.

Main cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]


The series was shot in historic New Salem, Illinois. Interiors were filmed in a set constructed in a gymnasium in Springfield, the state capital. The gym was also used to house the prop and wardrobe departments. Filming took 2-½ months. As an incentive for the production company to choose the area, the Springfield, Illinois city council agreed to fill a nearby lake so it would resemble the Ohio River. The city arranged for animals from the Elgin Zoo to be transported to the set.

Coaching of cast[edit]

The production was faithful to Richter's use of language characteristic of the Ohio Valley in those years. Actress/choreographer Marge Champion instructed the actors in both speech and body language of the region to add to the authenticity of the historical drama.[1]


Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1978 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series Jeanette Nolan
For part one
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series Elizabeth Montgomery
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series Hal Holbrook
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts Sugar Blymyer
For part three
Outstanding Cinematography in Entertainment Programming for a Series Michel Hugo
Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) Fred Karlin


External links[edit]