TV film review: Love’s Abiding Joy (2006), directed by Michael Landon Jr.
Set about six years after Love’s Long Journey, Missie (Erin Cottrell) and Willie LaHaye (Logan Bartholomew) have now got the farm up and running properly. Willie is approached by Mayor Samuel Doros (John Laughlin) to become the town sheriff, but Willie would rather keep his cattle.
Doros has a henchman (Kevin Gage), so it’s obvious he’s not a very nice man. His daughter Colette (Mae Whitman, a.k.a. the voice of Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender), on the other hand, is home from the all girl’s school and takes an instant liking to the now teenaged Jeff (Drew Tyler Bell), whom the LaHayes have adopted.
Add to that, the film starts off with Missie’s Paw Clark Davis (Dale Midkiff) arriving by stagecoach for the first visit in years, which means he’s there throughout the story – yay!
Also starring Frank McRae as Cookie, William Morgan Sheppard as Scottie, Brett Coker as Mattie LaHaye, Brianna Brown as Melinda Klein and James Tupper as Henry Klein.
Despite some really rather bad thing happening to the family, I still didn’t feel like it was too preachy. Yes, there are some incredibly cheesy lines out there (most of which I think were spoken by Clark, bless), but then I did speculate in the previous “episode” review that there was either less preaching going on when Clark’s around, or I simply notice it less, because I’m too distracted by the eye candy.
You can tell from a mile away that Doros is the baddie of the piece. In fact, if you can’t work out that you ought not to trust him from the first seconds he’s on screen, every film you’ve ever seen must come as a delightful surprise to you. It’s glaringly obvious. The thing about the horse near the end, you know exactly what he’s doing and what’s going to happen, and that’s of course exactly what happens.
So no, the plot certainly isn’t challenging those “little grey cells” Poirot liked to refer to, and for the most part, it was nothing more than tediousness, sprinkled with cutesy sayings like “God wuvs us so he has to test our faith” and such, while walking around a Little House on the Prairie setting and being annoyingly wholesome.
2 out of 5 repossessed farms for the story itself and +1 for the sheer amount of Dale Midkiff. Which, let’s face it, is 99% the reason for me watching this.