Mountain Family Robinson (1979)

G | 102 mins | Adventure | October 1979

Director:

John Cotter

Writer:

Arthur R. Dubs

Producer:

Arthur R. Dubs

Cinematographer:

James W. Roberson

Production Designer:

Gordon G. Rattray

Production Company:

A. R. Dubs Productions
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HISTORY

End credits mention the location “Irwin Lodge, Crested Butte, Colorado,” and contain the following statement: “We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of: Gunnison National Forest; Colorado Fish and Game; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Taylor River Ranger District, Gunnison, Colorado; Karol Smith, Motion Picture & TV Advisory Commission; Rocky Mountain Helicopter, Provo, Utah.”
       Although the film did not play widely until Dec 1979, it did have special engagements in six Seattle area Washington state theaters beginning in late October 1979. The theaters were the Crossroads Quad Cinema One, Everett Mall II, Aurora Cinema Three, Sea-Tac 6, Renton Village Cinema Three, and the Admiral (Bremerton).
       According to a 20 Feb 1980 Var article, the film was on course for box-office success, similar to its predecessors, The Adventures of the Wilderness Family (1976, see entry) and Wilderness Family, Part 2 (1978, see entry). After thirty-four days of domestic release, the picture had grossed over $8 million. Producer-writer Arthur R. Dubs, president of Pacific International Enterprises (PIE), expected that the cumulative box-total for all three “Wilderness” films would reach $140 million.
       While the film generally received unenthusiastic reviews for its predictable narrative, the photography and animal training were noted as impressive. The 2 Jan 1979 HR concluded that “the picture is far more a celebration of ecology and family unity than a riveting drama, carrying an almost childlike interpretation of what life must be like in the ... More Less

End credits mention the location “Irwin Lodge, Crested Butte, Colorado,” and contain the following statement: “We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of: Gunnison National Forest; Colorado Fish and Game; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Taylor River Ranger District, Gunnison, Colorado; Karol Smith, Motion Picture & TV Advisory Commission; Rocky Mountain Helicopter, Provo, Utah.”
       Although the film did not play widely until Dec 1979, it did have special engagements in six Seattle area Washington state theaters beginning in late October 1979. The theaters were the Crossroads Quad Cinema One, Everett Mall II, Aurora Cinema Three, Sea-Tac 6, Renton Village Cinema Three, and the Admiral (Bremerton).
       According to a 20 Feb 1980 Var article, the film was on course for box-office success, similar to its predecessors, The Adventures of the Wilderness Family (1976, see entry) and Wilderness Family, Part 2 (1978, see entry). After thirty-four days of domestic release, the picture had grossed over $8 million. Producer-writer Arthur R. Dubs, president of Pacific International Enterprises (PIE), expected that the cumulative box-total for all three “Wilderness” films would reach $140 million.
       While the film generally received unenthusiastic reviews for its predictable narrative, the photography and animal training were noted as impressive. The 2 Jan 1979 HR concluded that “the picture is far more a celebration of ecology and family unity than a riveting drama, carrying an almost childlike interpretation of what life must be like in the wilderness.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 1979
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1979
Section E, p. 31.
New York Times
16 Jan 1981
p. 10.
Variety
24 Oct 1979
p. 16.
Variety
20 Feb 1980.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Pacific International Enterprises, Inc. Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Key grip
Lighting dir
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Jeans and jackets by
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Creative sd services by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv
Communications coord
Communications coord
Seabee pilot
Helicopter pilot
Social worker
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Asst trainer
Head wrangler
Loc coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Come Share My Dream," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Dann Rogers
"Being Loved Is Being Free," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Dann Rogers
"Life Is So Wonderful," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Allan Davies, Jerry W. Whitman, Diana Lee, Ida Sue McCune
+
SONGS
"Come Share My Dream," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Dann Rogers
"Being Loved Is Being Free," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Dann Rogers
"Life Is So Wonderful," music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Carol Connors, performed by Allan Davies, Jerry W. Whitman, Diana Lee, Ida Sue McCune
Planting and Harvesting songs, music by Robert O. Ragland, lyrics by Jack Ramer.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Wilderness Family III
Release Date:
October 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1979
New York opening: 16 January 1981
Copyright Claimant:
A. R. Dubs Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 May 1980
Copyright Number:
PA78547
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At their lakeside wilderness home, Skip and Pat Robinson, their teenage daughter, Jenny, and young son, Toby, welcome Mike, a family friend and doctor, who arrives by seaplane with supplies and mail for the family. Reading through the stack of letters, Pat is upset to learn that her mother, who lives in Los Angeles, California, is ill. Later, Bill Brooks, a ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, lands a helicopter on the property and declares that the family’s log cabin is illegally located on an old mining claim, but Skip maintains that he inherited the property from his late Uncle Jake. Before departing, the stern ranger states that he must verify Skip’s right to occupy the place. As Pat expresses concern, Skip reassures her and the children that they are surrounded by government land and the ranger probably only wants to confirm that the family has no plans to develop the property. During breakfast, their friend Boomer, a seasoned mountain miner, visits and brings presents, including a goat and a hand-carved whistle for Toby. Overnight, Boomer sleeps in Jake’s old cabin next door, but is frightened at the sight of Samson, the family’s friendly black bear, and quickly evacuates. The next morning, Boomer packs his mule, named Flora, for a mining trip and says goodbye, while Toby is sad that he cannot accompany the elderly man, whom he idolizes. On the Fourth of July holiday, the family sails across the lake on their homemade raft and enjoys a picnic on a mountain vista. Later, back at the cabin, Toby loses his beloved whistle. At first, he accuses his ... +


At their lakeside wilderness home, Skip and Pat Robinson, their teenage daughter, Jenny, and young son, Toby, welcome Mike, a family friend and doctor, who arrives by seaplane with supplies and mail for the family. Reading through the stack of letters, Pat is upset to learn that her mother, who lives in Los Angeles, California, is ill. Later, Bill Brooks, a ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, lands a helicopter on the property and declares that the family’s log cabin is illegally located on an old mining claim, but Skip maintains that he inherited the property from his late Uncle Jake. Before departing, the stern ranger states that he must verify Skip’s right to occupy the place. As Pat expresses concern, Skip reassures her and the children that they are surrounded by government land and the ranger probably only wants to confirm that the family has no plans to develop the property. During breakfast, their friend Boomer, a seasoned mountain miner, visits and brings presents, including a goat and a hand-carved whistle for Toby. Overnight, Boomer sleeps in Jake’s old cabin next door, but is frightened at the sight of Samson, the family’s friendly black bear, and quickly evacuates. The next morning, Boomer packs his mule, named Flora, for a mining trip and says goodbye, while Toby is sad that he cannot accompany the elderly man, whom he idolizes. On the Fourth of July holiday, the family sails across the lake on their homemade raft and enjoys a picnic on a mountain vista. Later, back at the cabin, Toby loses his beloved whistle. At first, he accuses his sister of taking it, but then realizes that the pesky raven stole it. During a thunderstorm, the river floods and washes away the family’s animal pen. Although Skip and Toby are able to save the chickens, the goat is lost in the rapids. Distressed that the storm destroyed her garden and worried about her sick mother, Pat declares that she wants to return to Los Angeles immediately, but on her own. While Pat is away, Skip and the children repair the property, and Jenny tries to reassure her younger brother that their mother will be back soon. When the raven steals Toby’s pencil, the young boy runs after the bird and finds a nest, atop a rocky cliff. There, Toby locates his whistle, then looks down from the height and realizes the danger. Thanks to Crust, the family’s dog, Jenny is alerted and retrieves her father back at the cabin. Toby remains still as Skip climbs the steep rock face to meet him. On the way down, Toby slips, but Skip is able to grab the back of the boy’s overalls and guide him safely to the bottom. That night, Toby becomes tearful as he overhears Skip and Jenny discussing the possibility of the family moving back Los Angeles. The next morning, he runs away with Crust to look for Boomer. As soon as Jenny and Skip realize the boy is missing, they follow his tracks. At nightfall, they find Toby and Crust fighting off a wolf pack and rescue them. Later, the family is overjoyed when Pat returns. Now that her mother is better, Pat is committed to living with Skip and her children in the wilderness and admits that she never wants to leave. The foursome concentrate on harvesting the garden and delight in the warm weather. One day, while the family is enjoying their handmade outdoor hot tub, the forest ranger returns in the helicopter and presents Skip with an eviction notice. Without a legal mining claim, the Robinsons will lose their home in ninety days. Until they can locate Boomer for advice, the family tries to mine ore in the river, but they find nothing of value. As the eviction deadline approaches, Boomer finally returns, and offers to help locate Jake’s old mine and partner with the family in a corporation. The Robinsons embrace the idea. Accompanied by his mule, Boomer embarks on the search, while Skip and his family try to negotiate with Brooks at the cabin. Along the trail, a cougar attacks Boomer and Flora. As Boomer wrestles with the wild animal, Samson the black bear arrives and intimidates the cougar into leaving. Boomer finally realizes that Samson is his friend. Meanwhile, at the cabin, Brooks refuses to give the family an extension, but Skip is adamant that they are not leaving. As the Robinsons watch the ranger depart, they see the helicopter malfunction and crash. Running toward the burning wreck, Skip pulls Brooks from the chopper just before the vehicle explodes. After the family extinguishes the flames, they bandage the ranger and radio Mike about the injuries. Meanwhile, Flora returns to the cabin without Boomer, and Skip sets out with the children during the night to look for the old miner. The next morning, Pat is tearful as she explains the family’s situation to Brooks, who now regrets the eviction orders. Elsewhere, in the wilderness, Skip and the children discover Samson prowling around the entrance to an old mine. Entering a precarious passage, Skip finds Boomer trapped behind fallen rocks and frees him. Emerging from the mine, Boomer reveals that he found quartz inside, which qualifies as a mining mineral and thus a legitimate claim to the land. Skip and the children cheer. However, later at the cabin, Brooks thinks the quartz rock is worthless. As the ranger notices the desperate faces of the Robinsons, he takes a second look and decides the rock might have some value. He tells Skip to send him a yearly supply, and the family celebrates. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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