Miracle in the Wilderness

In this softheaded fable about cowboys, Indians, and Christmas, Kris Kristofferson plays a buckskinned frontiersman named Jericho Adams. He’s a former Indian fighter struggling to live in peace and build a life in the American Northwest Territory wilderness with his wife, Dora (Kim Cattrall), and their infant son. On Christmas Eve, the family is kidnapped by Blackfeet Indians, but Dora tells the tribe the story of the birth of Christ and wins them over. As Cattrall tells her tale, director Kevin James Dobson (not the Kevin Dobson from Knots Landing) shows us a Nativity scene from the point of the Indians — with an Indian Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and three Indian kings bearing gifts.

If the movie weren’t so incessantly noble-minded, it would be offensively condescending. Even Jericho is moved to warn Dora about her sanctimonious Christian proselytizing: ”These people believe in their own god, and they’re spiritual enough as it is.” Although it attempts to operate as a big-as-all- outdoors adventure story, Miracle in the Wilderness is a kind of fairy tale — these frontier settlers are always immaculately groomed, their clothes starchy-clean. When an old friend of Jericho’s comes to visit, Dora calls out, ”Now, I don’t want any mud dragged in by anybody!” and the friend (John Dennis Johnston) says admiringly to Jericho, ”You said she was feisty!” ”Indoors is her say,” says Jericho in an abashed Kris-tofferson rumble, ”outdoors is mine.” The henpecked saps dutifully wipe their impeccable deerskin boots outside the cabin door. C-

Miracle in the Wilderness
  • TV Show