What better sequel to 1900 HOUSE-modern family, Victorian home-than a prequel? In THE FRONTIER HOUSE, three 21st-century families hit Montana, circa 1880-no off-screen conveniences, set, or cast trailers, just their great-grandparents' world, a thinking man's Survivor.
Based on the sweeping success of PBS' 1900 House
, producer Simon Shaw applies the same standards of accuracy and authenticity to this imaginative sequel, giving viewers a glimpse into frontier America during the years proceeding the 1882 Homestead Act when land out West was "free for the taking." Appropriately billed a "docu-soap," Frontier House
is part of PBS' House Series
, blending documentary and reality programming as three modern American families test their grit and resourcefulness during a five month immersion as pioneers in the Montana Territory. The Clune, Glenn, and Brooks families' daily lives are recorded and condensed into six one-hour episodes chronicling the hardships and, in some cases, humor of building cabins, planting gardens, digging outhouses, chopping wood, and tending livestockall while bearing the strain of close familial living and neighborly interdependence necessary for survival. While the film's bickering between families grows wearisome, narrator Kathryn Walker provides a historical context, explaining that such squabbles were typical of homesteading communities. PBS deserves kudos for its meticulous and painstaking commitment to the highest caliber of credibility, employing a team of historic preservation specialists to attend to every detail of the series. Highlights include the touching, actual wedding of Nate and Kristen Brooks, and a compelling "Making Of" bonus feature that caps the overall effort with charm and appeal. (Ages 8 and older) Lynn Gibson