Let us hope that we are all preceded in this world by a love story . . .
I was first attracted to this film as it depicts the story of Norwegian immigrant farmers in Minnesota in 1920. My father's family were Norwegian immigrant farmers in the Dakotas in the early 1900s. Based upon Will Weaver's short story A Gravestone of Wheat, this under-promoted Indy pic is more than a story of the plight of immigrant farmers, it is the love story of Olaf and Inge.
Inge arrives in Minnesota to marry Olaf, having never seen nor met him. The fact she is of German descent and lacks immigration papers becomes the obstacle to their immediate marriage. Being in post-World War I America leads to suspicion of Inge in the small town and further thwarts their efforts to marry. Inge is left to live with Olaf's friends, Francen and Brownie and their 9 children until the proper paperwork can be obtained. After living in cramped quarters and without privacy, a fed up Inge imposes herself upon a shocked Olaf. She takes over his home and he is left to sleep in the barn. When the local minister discovers their cohabitation he outs them during a church sermon and the entire community, already suspicious of the German born girl, completely shun the couple.
Amid a backdrop story of the hardships of farming and foreclosures, is a love story with the land and the lifestyle of the immigrant farmer. Well cast, beautifully shot, and a lovely narrative make this a truly engaging film, despite periods that felt plodding and slow-moving. Brief rear-nudity, and morally problematic treatment of cohabitation make this film appropriate for older teens and adults only.