But for Arvella Whipple (Glen Close), a newly widowed mother of three, it is the perfect place to realise her dream of a new life on the frontier. Unfortunately for her daughter, (Jena Malone - Stepmom), the dream promises to be a hellish nightmare. The prospectors are all uncouth, illiterate barbarians and her mother is too busy running the town's only boarding house to realise how lonely and unhappy her daughter has become. But when her mother sends her on a reluctant foray into the woods to hunt for food, she encounters a desperately ragged girl who teaches her new ways to appreciate her new environment.
Determined to establish her own identity, Lucy begins changing things for herself and those around her. She teaches her bedraggled friend to read, befriends a runaway slave and introduces him to the reluctant townsfolk, starts her own lending library for the miners and successfully defends a woman accused of killing her abusive husband.
Lucy faces her greatest challenge, however, when her rambunctious brother, falls ill and dies, leaving Arvella helpless with depression. But when her mother eventually regains her vigor and decides to leave, Lucy realises that she has become a vital part of the community and decides to stay in Lucy Diggins, where her heart has found its home.
|Glenn Close, Jena Malone, Bruce McGill, Meat Loaf Aday, Chloe Webb, Olivia Burnette, Dennis Christopher