A true story based on the award-winning book. May 11th, 1759, 12-year-old Mary Caroline Campbell taken captive by the Delaware Nation on the Pennsylvania frontier travels west with the tribe. She is to become the Chiefs’ granddaughter. Captive Mary gains maturity & empathy as she adapts to life in a culture very different from her own discovering her own strength she assimilates. The Campbell family & King George III’s British government try to free the captives. Eventually Mary must choose one family, king, & life over another.
Raised in Fairfield Connecticut, & forced to move to the rural frontier she misses her proper home town. Miserable living in a log cabin the wilderness of the western frontier, she is angry & peevish. On her 12th birthday she argues with her mom. Mary stomps off from the cabin to pick wild strawberries as an appeasing “I’m sorry”.
The Native American Delaware, ‘the Grandfathers of Men’ had lived in the Eastern Woodlands since the Ice Age. Now forced by the British to leave their home for the ‘Oyo’ (Ohio wilderness), they take captives to replace family who died because of the actions of the white man. They setting fire to the Campbell farm & take Mary & neighbors, Mrs. Stewart & toddler son, Sammy. Mary doesn’t know if her family is alive or dead.
When fussy, whining Sammy is killed & scalped, to survive she vows never to complain again. No more a lion, she is a compliant lamb, obedient & submissive. The lamb, open & willing to live a different life, her assimilation & conflicted loyalties begin. Bonded with 4 yr. old Chickadee who becomes gravely ill, she pleads to God for Chickadee’s life.
Natawatwees Sachem, King of the Delaware, attended a private boys school in Massachusetts in order to learn the white man’s ways. As a schoolboy, he was lonely, away from his people. Understanding Mary’s pain, eventually they forge a deep bond. She learns she was taken to replace his dead granddaughter & learns how to be a Delaware.
Mrs. Stewart insists Mary be an 18th century lady; but learned helplessness of lady-like behavior is detrimental. She learns the different skill set of strength, self-reliance, group loyalty, & to treat everyone with honor & as an equal.
On cold winter nights, the “Lachimo” teaches by storytelling. She learns the animals & nature have much to teach us if we stop, listen & pay attention. Learning God, “Kachulimoncong” is all around, in every leaf, tree, drop of water, & grain of sand. Mary is a ‘stranger in a strange land’ & her experiences ‘bless her with wisdom & gained understanding.’
A young brave, Blue Sky was betrothed to the dead granddaughter. Impressed with Mary, he wants to marry her. Attracted to him she knows a marriage to a Delaware would cut her off completely from the Campbells with no going back.
Meanwhile, the French & Indian War rages across the frontier. French & British use the colonials as pawns. All want guns for protection. The tribe meets with the French fur-trader François Seguin who wants to trade guns for Mary. Having earned the Delaware’s loyalty & they refuse the trade. Mrs. Stewart is gladly traded to Seguin.
Near starvation, the long trek to Northeast Ohio, a bitter winter, & a tornado teach Mary that “The strength we need is the strength we have.” Injured and almost sacrificing her life, she saves the crops from being washed away!
Admiring her new-found strength & endurance, she’s welcomed into the tribe with a naming ceremony. Giving her heart to the Delaware, the Campbells fade into the recesses of her memory. She is now, “the Woman Who Saved the Corn.”
Directed by Marianna Alacchi (USA)