|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (April 2015)|
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|
|Box office||$21 million|
|This article needs an improved plot summary. (April 2015)|
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
- 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.