The Homesman

The Homesman is a movie based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout. It is about Mary Bee Cuddy an independent minded frontier woman who is given the task of rescuing three women who are mentally challenged living on the edge of the American frontier. The three women were driven mad by their harsh pioneer surroundings.

Mary Bee is to transport the three women from Nebraska to Iowa on a covered wagon and on the way they met George Briggs who is an army deserter. The three women and with Mary and George head east where a minister and his wife Altana have offered to take the women in. Transporting the women is a daunting journey so she decided to employ George. George has a wonderful demeanor as an army deserter, and a hopeless low-life vagabond.

The movie has stunning and panoramic views of the 19th century Midwest and Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones delivered very strong performances; Meryl Streep has cameo role, short but memorable part. Hilary Swank is perfect for the role; she is plain, is no great beauty and genteel but sturdy and practical.

The movie is about 19th century Midwest life from the viewpoint of women; not about the romanticized macho western cowboys. It showed a more realistic life regarding the western expansion during the 19th century; neither the settlers nor the Indians are not idealized in the movie. The movie drove the message that life during this period is not a bed of roses however this theme dragged on throughout the movie; it is a two hour depressing movie.

It stars Hilary Swank as Mary Bee Cuddy, Tommy Lee Jones as George Briggs, Meryl Streep as Altana Carter with Grace Gummer as Arabella Sours, Miranda Otto as Theoline Belknap and Sonja Richter as Gro Svendsen. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones.

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