"Heartland" Is Released

Heartland is a 1979 film, directed by Richard Pearce, starring Rip Torn and Conchata Ferrell.

The movie is a stark depiction of early homestead life in the American West, and is based on a 1914 published reminiscence by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, titled Letters of a Woman Homesteader.

Though the story is set in southwestern Wyoming, where Stewart homesteaded, the movie was actually filmed in central Montana.

Prominently featured ias a "Buried Treasure" (a film which had received little attention during its initial run) on a 1980 episode of Roger Ebert & Gene Siskel's long-running tv show.

The "heartland" of the title is rural Wyoming in the early 20th century, where dwells taciturn, reclusive Scottish farmer Rip Torn. Conchata Ferrell arrives at the Torn spread to work as his housekeeper. Paid near-starvation wages, Ferrell continues working day and night, hoping to use her savings to ensure a bright future for her 10-year-old daughter Megan Folsom. Touched by her diligence, Torn slowly falls in love with Ferrell, and after seeing the woman and her child through the torturous Wyoming winter, he marries her - but their union gets off to a shaky start and threatens to buckle, thanks to several unforeseen casualties. Heartland is based on several autobiographical works by Elinore Randall Stewart. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide