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on March 24, 2014
When I ordered Disney's early 1970s T.V. movie "Menace on the Mountain", I was already comparing it to Disney's early 1970s, theatrical release, "The Wild Country", and I was HOPING that I'd like "MotM" as much as I liked "TWC"; "Menace" IS an INTERESTING (and and engaging) movie, but it COULD have been better.

"Menace on the Mountain" tells the tail-end-of-The-Civil-War story of the Southern McIvers family. Mr. Jed McIvers has gone away to fight the Yankees, and his wife, Leah, is in charge of their 14-year-old son Jamie and his younger brother and sister (The sister is played by a charming Jodi Foster...in a PRE-"Napoleon and Samantha" role!) Everything in the McIvers' small Southern town is reflective of poverty, depression, and general down-trodden griminess, so when the chance arrives to kill a local big cat for money, Jamie McIvers sets himself up against the local bully, Poss Timmerlake, determined to grow up quickly, AND to add to his family's low money supply (I won't spoil the outcome of that competition). Later, an angry Poss leads a band of military deserters (BOTH Rebels AND Yankees) to take over the McIvers' family home; he does so because the beautiful and nurturing, yet strong Leah rejects his advances! The already poor family is forced to leave their home, and their sorry, but engaging journey takes them to the ransacked house of a neighbor, who agrees to help them. Jamie is determined to make his family successful, so he runs away, meets a Union Major (who is incredibly handsome), and allows the man to help his family. When Jed returns home, he must assist his family in the task of freeing the hostage-held McIvers home from the lustful Poss and his band of rude, greedy deserters.

I WISH that I loved this movie, but there are a few aspects of the movie that make it slightly unenjoyable. For starters, NO story about a teen's journey to adulthood should beat you over the head with the fact that it's a coming-of-age story, and "Menace" sometimes does just THAT. From a certain point during the movie onward (I won't spoil anything), Jamie keeps trying to grow up too quickly, even though his father's absence has ALREADY made him "The Man of the House". He keeps getting frustrated and angry, and he keeps talking on and on...and on about how he has to prove that he's an adult, about how he has to save his family. His mother has to validate his new status. I think that the Major has to validate his new status, too. His FATHER has to validate his new status...TWICE! Every time that he proves himself, Jamie remains unsatisfied...until the viewer may find themselves wanting to say, "ENOUGH, already! I GET it!" Jamie's obsession with adulthood may remind some people of too much salt in the stew pot after awhile; it sometimes almost threatens to ruin what is otherwise an interesting story. "The Wild Country" dealt with the SAME subject matter, but it addressed it in a less overbearing way.

Another issue that I have with this movie is the fact that both Poss Timmerlake AND the Yankee Major are more handsome than Jed McIvers! It's a bad sign when you watch a movie, and you think that the lustful, greedy villain is better looking (and even kinder-looking) than the man whom you're SUPPOSED to be rooting for. It's ALSO a bad sign when you're wishing that the actor who was playing the role of the Major was playing the role of Jed (He almost seems to be a match for Leah, while the only truly tender moment between Jed and Leah occurs at the end of the movie), and that the man who was playing the role of Jed was playing the role of Poss!

This movie isn't ALL bad, though! I really love the fact that the McIvers family has to wade through sorrow, starvation, exhaustion, dirt, sweat, poverty, emotional distress, etc., in order to steal their happy ending out from under a bunch of villains who are greedy for lazy comfort; it's interesting to see just how much emotional and physical distress the McIvers family must overcome in order to triumph over adversity, and "Menace on the Mountain" is a movie that makes one really feel for its younger protagonists, because one can clearly see how the unfair Civil War has made them scrap, scrounge, and grow up far too quickly. I must say that I have liked few Disney heroines MORE than I like Leah McIvers; she is the most sweet, maternal, beautiful live-action Disney mom that I've ever seen, and yet, she is strong and unwaveringly determined (Leah's determination sometimes clashes with her sweeter qualities), and she knows how to survive. She defines the term "Southern Lady".

The BEST aspect of "Menace on the Mountain" is the fact that it teaches a timeless lesson about prejudice, due to the fact that it separates people based upon their ACTIONS, rather than their STATUS (Ie: Caring Vs. Cruel, rather than Southern Vs. Northern). This movie made me re-think the old stereotypes about Southerners.

Oh, wait! I ALSO love the McIvers' pig, Blossom! She's a ball of oinking cuteness, and she's one of my favorite aspects of the movie!

On another note, there are no African Americans in this movie, so if you are looking for a movie about race relations, this isn't the movie for you. I sort of knew that The Disney Company would sanitize all references to slavery out of this movie...

Overall, this movie teaches some good lessons...if you can ignore its sometimes relentless (and slightly sexist) message about men of the house and journeys to adulthood. I would recommend this movie to those who already like it, and to those who would like to teach their children to avoid being prejudiced...BEFORE they form solid stereotypes about Southerners or Northerners. I think that this movie might be more appropriate for the 8+ set, because it does deal with themes of war, starvation, anger, lust, greed, and whipping (Poss actually whips, or nearly whips, one of the other characters).
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on October 24, 2005
Farmer McIver (Charles Aidman) has gone to join the American Civil War as a Confederate soldier, and left his young son Jamie in charge of their remote wooded hilltop farm. That includes his mother (Patricia Crowley) his brother, and his sister SueEllen (Jodie Foster). He earns a bounty to pay farm taxes by capturing a mountain lion, but then the local adult bully is after him since he wanted the prize himself. Then the bully takes an unhealthy interest in his mother even though there is not word that his father has died. Jamie is forced to chase the man out of their home by gunpoint to save his mother. Making matters worse, an unruly group of deserter soldiers begin marauding the local farms, and make their way to the McIver place, displacing the family. Jamie is determined to fight back but his family is afraid for him. But will Jamie's dad return in time to retake their land? The story deals with some very serious issues. You understand very quickly that Jamies mother's may be asaulted by some very bad men if he doesn't intervene, and yet he is so young to have this huge burden. It is a real story of bravery in harsh conditions, very well done and suspenseful.

BEHIND THE SCENES & TRIVIA: Directed by Vincent McVeety, For a very young Jodie Foster, this was her first of 5 projects for Disney over the years. This story was originally filmed as 2 episodes for "The Wonderful World of Disney" television show, airing March 1 and 8, 1970. It was re-edited into a continuous movie, and released to the overseas theater audience in 1972.
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on January 21, 2004
This is a great Family Disney Film. About a boy who saves his family from a group of Civil War renegades who are trying to take over the family farm. While the father of the family is lost in action. Stars a young Jodie Foster in her film debut. Great Classic Disney Movie.
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on January 7, 2004
This is a great Disney Family movie about a boy who becomes the head of a household when the father goes off to war.A then relatively unknown Jodie Foster also has an acting role which makes this movie well worth watching!!Hopefully,someday it will be released on DVD!!
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on December 10, 2004
Fourteen-year-old Jame McIver (Mitch Vogel) becomes the man of the family when his father Jed (Charles Aldman) must fight as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. In the final days of the conflict, a gang of army deserters begins plundering the countryside and takes over the McIver's mountaintop farmhouse as their hideout. When Jed returns from the war, he and Jamie find themselves fighting a war of their own in a desperate attempt to rout the band of thieves and regain possession of their property.

MENACE ON THE MOUNTAIN is an exciting family drama, powerfully presented, with plenty of action and suspense.
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on February 23, 2012
"Menace on the Mountain" is another Walt Disney adventure story told in the
best tradition of early movies.

Made in 1970 and set in the closing days of the Civil War, it is the story
of 14 year old Jamie McIver (Mitch Vogel) who has been the man of the house
supporting and watching over his mum (Patricia Crowley) and his small brother
(Eric Shea) and sister (Jodie Foster) whilst his father (Albert Salmi) has
been away fighting in the Confederate Army.

The movie is a serious look at life in those days through the eyes of young
Jamie and it shows in the always serious expression on the boy's face.
I guess that being the bread winner for the family, his concern for the fate
of his father and family with the steadily approaching war, his having to deal
with outlaws and the hardships of life, must take its toll on one so young but
he bravely sticks to the task.

Hoss Timmerlake is a lawless and ruthless man who is the leader of a group of
army deserters who are terrorising the countryside and he delights in
tormenting Jamie and his mother because of previous ill-will encounters. He
and his cut-throat band of outlaws eventually take over the McIver home and
use it as a fort because of its strategic position and in the process
forcefully ejects the McIver family.

With the end of the war, Jamie makes friends with a Union Army officer who's
life he once saved. In return for kindness shown, the officer offers his
help and that of the army to drive the outlaws from the family home and to
capture them.

Jamie's father returns home at the end of the war and engages in a war of
his own as he helps the Union Army to drive out the outlaws. He is proud
of his son's valiant efforts during his absence.

Now for the first time on DVD and digitally restored, "Menace on the
Mountain" is a good family movie and watch out for Jamie's pet pig
"Blossom". It follows him around everywhere like a pet dog.
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on May 22, 2011
this is a great disney family movie.14 year Jamie Mciver must become a man while his father is away during the american civil war.a group of deserter soldiers begin destroying the local farms and make their way to the Mciver homestead displacing the family.Jamie finds himselfhaving to make some serious decisions quickly.fortuna group of yankee soldiers arrive to fight and overcome the desertersand the family is saved a very young Jodie Foster appears in this film.
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on November 4, 2008
This is one of my all time favorites. I loved it when I was growing up and I still do now that I am an adult. I would love for this to be on DVD I would order it instantly.
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on December 25, 2014
great movie
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on September 18, 2012
Menace on the Mountain is such a marvelous and exciting Disney TV movie from 1970.

The back of the DVD case states that the approximate running time of this movie is 81 minutes, but the movie actually runs for 89 minutes on the DVD.

The DVD of this movie was issued by Disney in 2011 and it's a part of the Disney Movie Club Exclusives DVD series.

In this movie, Jodie Foster portrays the character Suellen McIver, Eric Shea portrays the character Mark McIver, Pat Crowley portrays the character Leah McIver, Richard Anderson (best known for his iconic role as Oscar Goldman on TV's The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) portrays the character Major Galt in this movie.

Here's the official plot synopsis for this movie that's written on the back of the DVD case.

"Set against the backdrop of the final days of the Civil War comes an adventure of true grit, 11-year-old Jamie McIver (portrayed by Mitch Vogel) has been the man of the house since his father Jed (portrayed by Charles Aidman) left to fight in the Confederate Army.
While his dad's been away, Jamie and his family have fought starvation, wild animals and Poss Timmerlake (portrayed by Albert Salmi) an Army deserter who's trying to steal their land.
Just when things couldn't get worse, Poss and his cutthroat band of outlaws burn and plunder their way through the countryside, using the McIver's mountaintop home as a hideout.
When Jamie's father returns, he and Jamie find themselves fighting a war of their own in an attempt to save their home.

A wondrous adventure full of courage, Menace On The Mountain is a celebration of family togetherness and determination".
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