Synopsis by Michael Betzold
This ambitious Disney movie uses a remarkable screenplay from Steven L. Bloom and Robert Rodat to tell a rollicking tale of America's transition from a close-to-the-land culture of mythic heroes to a corporate world of real estate tycoons. The strong theme about the decline of folk culture is expressed through a series of high octane adventures experienced by 12-year-old Daniel Hackett (Nick Stahl) at the dawn of the 20th century. Daniel's father, Jonas Hackett (Stephen Lang), runs a farm in a place called Paradise Valley, but his land is coveted by a greedy developer, J.P. Stiles (Scott Glenn). Daniel looks longingly at postcards of New York City while growing increasingly skeptical of his father's tales of legendary folk heroes. Then, through a series of incredible adventures, Daniel meets up with the legends that his father has spoken about -- cowboy Pecos Bill (Patrick Swayze), lumberjack Paul Bunyan (Oliver Platt), and finally, ex-slave and strongman John Henry (Roger Aaron Brown). Each of these heroes hooks up with Daniel and becomes involved in an increasingly bitter and boisterous fight against Stiles, whose plans to buy up land threaten the very strength of the folk heroes and the well-being of the common people. Pecos Bill has a horse named Widowmaker and can lasso a tornado. The giant Bunyan is accompanied by his famous blue ox, Babe. At one point, another legend, the cowgirl Calamity Jane (Catherine O'Hara), joins in the adventures.
bad-guy, claim-jumpers, courage, evil, fantasy, farmboy, good-guy, homestead, reality, rebel, rescue, revenge, Superhero