Iron Will

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Iron Will
Iron will poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Haid
Produced by Patrick J. Palmer
James Ployhar
Robert Schwartz
George Zepp
Written by John Michael Hayes
Djordje Milicevic
Jeff Arch
Starring Mackenzie Astin
Kevin Spacey
David Ogden Stiers
August Schellenberg
George Gerdes
Penelope Windust
Brian Cox
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography William Wages
Edited by Andrew Doerfer
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
January 14, 1994
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $21 million[1]

Iron Will is a 1994 American adventure film directed by Charles Haid, it stars Mackenzie Astin, Kevin Spacey, David Ogden Stiers, George Gerdes, Brian Cox, Penelope Windust and August Schellenberg.


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. Here he will take part in the dog-sled race that his father would have entered to save the farm. The race is 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) who also helped pay for Will to enter the race. The reporter 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 river passages and various other obstacles. There are even attempts by some of the other competitors to sabotage his efforts and even hurt his lead dog, Gus.

The race ends with Will following his arch enemy (Borg Guillarson) on a shortcut to the finish line. Exhausted from lack of sleep, Will collapses near the finish line, until Ned Dodd awakens the spirit of his father's dog Gus, with a familiar whistle. The crowd joins in and the finish of this race is one of the greatest scenes in dog sledding.

Cast and characters[edit]


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.

Historical accuracy[edit]

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.

Box office[edit]

  • U.S. Opening Weekend: $5,313,406.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Weekend Box Office : Ticket Sales Up Despite Mother Natur". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 

External links[edit]