On Our Own (film)

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On Our Own
Directed by Lyman Dayton
Produced by Sharon Baker
Written by Lyman Dayton
Eric Hendershot
Starring Leigh Lombardi
Sam Hennings
Music by Merrill Jenson
Sam Cardon
Cinematography T.C. Christensen
Release date
Country United States
Language English

On Our Own is a 1988 family film, from Feature Films for Families, about four children, Mitch, Kate, Travis and Lori. After being abandoned by their father and with the death of their mother they are forced to move into a children's home. Feared they will have to be separated, they escape and run away.


The film starts with Peggy Williams's mother talking to her on the phone asking her to start from the beginning of the story. An ambulance rushes to the hospital with the mother of four children. It then goes by the children's apartment to tell them their mother died. the four children, Mitch, Kate, Travis, and Lori go to City Hall with their neighbor, Mrs. Forsythe. She tells the judge they have no family and that she is unable to take them in. Mitch tells the judge and Mr. Arnold that they have an Uncle Jack, but they don't believe Mitch and the Judge decides to put them in a foster home until they get adopted. In the foster home a grumpy nurse yells at Travis and Lori for jumping on a bed when Mr. Arnold comes in and tells them that Lori is going to be adopted. Mitch is angry that he didn't tell them they would be split up at makes a plan to run away. They escape to their old home where Mitch collects all the money he can find, (9 dollars), and his Uncle Jack's address, thinking Jack will know where their father is. They also manage to get their dog back. They then get into their mother's old car and drive away, with neighbors spotting them.

The police are on their trail. They stop at a gas station but with only $1.25 left, (after buying food earlier), they drive away without paying leaving a note saying that they'll pay later. Mitch later falls asleep at the wheel and gets the children stranded in the desert. Peggy Williams happens to drive past and notices them, she stops and asks if they're OK. They lie in order to get a ride with her. She stops at a gas station to call the police after she suspects they're lying, Mitch takes the wheel of Peggy's car and drives away.

They successfully manage to escape but they badly damage Peggy's car radiator. The four of them are hungry and stop at a store where Travis wins money on a slot machine with a quarter he picked up from the shop floor. While the children celebrate about the huge amount of money, two gangsters threaten them and insist the money is theirs, because the quarter was theirs. While they are fighting, Peggy (who managed to get a lift) saves them, by using a toy gun to bluff the gangsters into leaving.

The children tell her the truth, and as they drive on together, they form a close bond, especially Peggy and little Lori. They continue to drive the next day but Peggy's car finally packs in, (because of the flummoxed radiator). They get a lift with a truck driver who drops them off at their uncle's home.

They discover Uncle Jack is not their biological uncle, but rather a friend of their father's. He is an exceedingly wealthy pilot. He welcomes them in and introduces himself, his creepy girlfriend and her son Rhett. Rhett shows the children the horses but gets in a fight with Mitch. During the fight, Rhett grabs Mitch around the neck and tries shoving his face into a pile of horse manure and tells Mitch to "eat it!" Fortunately for Mitch, Kate jumps in and gets Rhett off Mitch before he's forced, head first, into the horse manure. Rhett gets a bloody nose from Mitch, then declares, "If I wasn't bleeding all over the place I'd clean your plow. I'll be back." Travis, in defense of his brother's close call with the horse manure, grabs a chunk of "green mud" and slings it onto Rhetts back. Rhett subsequently goes and tattles on them to his mother, and as she's hugging Rhett, she gets manure on her hands. Peggy takes the children to a motel for the night. Afterward, Jack reveals to Peggy that the children's father is in prison, and Mitch overhears them. The next day, they stop at a café, when suddenly the police arrive. While the police confront Peggy, Mitch, Kate, Lori and Travis escape on a bus, which Mitch drives. Peggy then gets in a taxi and follows them, as do the police.

With Peggy and the police in pursuit, a plane suddenly appears and lands in front of the bus, forcing them to stop. The pilot is Jack, who asks if he can become the children's guardian. After the hearing takes place, he is allowed to do so.

The movie also centers around a conversation between Peggy and her mother about the incident. Peggy and Jack are getting married. Mitch has to work four Saturdays in the gas station and both he and Kate have to do 40 hours of community service. The last shot of the movie is of a wedding cake Peggy's mother prepared while they were on the phone. This footage was clearly filmed after-the-fact at the request of the distributor, resulting in occasionally contradicting messages throughout the film. This is most likely the factor that led to the director's use of a pseudonym in the opening credits.[citation needed]

The Osmond Boys (the sons of Alan Osmond, now performing as The Osmonds Second Generation), performed the main theme, also called "On Our Own", and other incidental songs and music.

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