Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alone Yet Not Alone Movie Review: Part 2

Alone Yet Not Alone
Released 2013
1 hour 43 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

In my previous review (which can be read at, I dealt with the first half of Alone Yet Not Alone, with Natalie Raccosin in the leading role. The second half begins when Kelly Greyson takes the role of Barbara.

A title announces “Many years later” as the camera pans across the Indian village of Moschingo. But the “many years” they refer to is only 3 years later, in 1759. The movie itself gives multiple clues to confirm this date. In council, the chief mentions that Fort Duquesne has been captured by the English. The Indians decide to form a war party and join the French to retake Fort Duquesne. This points to some time later than 1758, for the British captured Fort Duquesne in November of that year. Yet it cannot be much beyond 1760, as all French troops surrendered in September of 1760. This fixes the date between 1758 and 1760.

Barbara is informed that the warrior Galasko wants to marry her. She determines (after some prodding by her friend and fellow-captive Marie) to escape. Her escape is facilitated by the fact that all of the Indian warriors (except the formidable Hannawoa) have gone to Fort Duquesne to aid the French in defeating the English. 

Again, this is another clue as to an early 1759 setting. The French evacuated Duquesne in November of 1758, so it is no surprise that this distant village of Delaware Indians has not yet learned of its abandonment.

Four English captives—Barbara, Marie, Owen, and David—steal a canoe and paddle away. But Hannawoa remains at the village, realizes that they have escaped, and embarks in pursuit of them. Through forest and stream, waterfall and rock, pursuer and pursued run. At last the foursome are within sight of Fort Pitt, a British outpost on the site of Fort Duquesne (which had been destroyed by the retreating French).  

In his travels, Hannawoa had come across his brother Galasko’s warband. Galasko follows Hannawoa in his pursuit, which irritates Hannawoa so much that he tomahawks his brother in the back. Coldly stealing his weapons (a musket and tomahawk), Hannawoa continues his pursuit of Barbara.

As the captives signal and shout at the fort for assistance, the British and colonists prepare to shoot them down. Fortunately for them, a British officer orders a halt while he asks permission to reconnoiter in a boat.  Several British regulars under Captain Thomas row across to determine whether these escapees are attempting to lure the garrison of Fort Pitt into an ambush. Barbara’s fluency with both English and German persuades them, and they quickly disembark—only to be challenged by Hannawoa.

Hannawoa’s first shot drops a Brit, while the British return volley succeeds in missing him entirely. The British then foolishly run at Hannawoa one by one (without bayonets!), and are hit by his tomahawks. Owen and David attempt to fight back, but one is quickly eliminated.  Captain Thomas, draws a pistol with historically accurate sangfroid and shoots Hannawoa in the shoulder. Yet again the Britisher is sent sprawling on the turf.

Moments from death, Barbara fumbles in Captain Thomas’s belt, draws another pistol and shoots Hannawoa, who is then skewered by a conveniently arriving Redcoat. This scene is undoubtedly the worst in the entire movie. Its historicity is not accurate; in fact, I wrote an entire blog post analyzing this one scene (read it at

The four captives are escorted into Fort Pitt, where they have supper and receive lodging for the night. Next morning, Captain Thomas (whose pistol Barbara borrowed) suggests that Barbara and Marie would like a warm bath and a soldier’s wife is quick to oblige. The soap used at Fort Pitt must be extremely strong, as it quickly strips the black dye from Barbara’s hair, returning it to blonde again. A dress worn by Colonel Mercer’s daughter conveniently fits Barbara to a T.

Escorted by the obliging Captain Thomas, Barbara and her friends enter Philadelphia, where she is reunited with her mother and brother. In the 5 years that follow (from 1759 to the end of 1763), the Leininger family raises good crops and becomes quite well-off. Barbara accepts a man named Fritz in marriage and on Christmas Eve of 1763, the entire family gathers together—with the poignant exception of Regina.

A knock pounds on their door, and rather than look out the large glass windows to identify the unexpected visitor, Fritz cocks a musket and points it at the door. When it is opened, it discloses the terrified face of the local Pastor Muhlenberg. Pastor Muhlenberg brings exciting if inaccurate news: “Colonel Armstrong and the Royal Americans have defeated the Ohio Indians!”

The battle that the Reverend refers to is the Battle of Bushy Run on July 3, 1763. There, a force of British and colonial troops defeated an Indian force in a two-day battle. Colonel Henri Bouquet commanded the British, and outfought the Indians with a cunning ambush and feigned retreat. Colonel Armstrong was not a part of the victory and only 16 men of the Royal Americans were part of Bouquet’s force! Actually, the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and Montgomery’s 77th Highlanders comprised 390 men of Bouquet’s force, while the 60th Royal American Regiment (referred to by Pastor Muhlenberg) furnished only 16 men. (1)

Pastor Muhlenberg tells the Leininger family that Colonel Armstrong (it should be Colonel Bouquet) has insisted on the return of all English captives still left in the Indians’ towns as part of the peace treaty. They will be gathered at Fort Carlisle, and Mother and Barbara decide to journey there to find Regina.

They search through endless lines of captives and ask Colonel Armstrong for help. He inquires if Regina had any birthmarks, nicknames, or scars—anything that could identify her. This gives Mother Leininger an idea. Through the lines of captives she walks, singing a German hymn “Alone yet not Alone.” When Regina hears it, she recognizes the song and her mother and is reunited with them. The movie ends with a stirring performance of the song by Joni Eareckson Tada.

The second half of the movie is much weaker than the first. While the first half had good acting, many of the actors in the second half are flat, including Barbara, Owen, and David. However, some actors are good, such as Mother Leininger and Colonel Armstrong.

My score for the second half is 1/5 stars. The ending fight sequence and flat acting make this half much weaker than the first. The best part of the second half is Joni Eareckson Tada’s rendition of the hymn Alone Yet Not Alone.

My overall rating of Alone Yet Not Alone is 2/5 stars. I would recommend this movie for the scenery, some French & Indian War action, and some good performances by some of the actors. Perhaps the best commendation I can give it is to say that when I had finished watching it for the first time, I was eager to paint some French & Indian War figures and recreate this pivotal era for myself. (2)

Would you like to hear the song Alone Yet Not Alone? This video shows Joni Eareckson Tada's performance, as well as some of the best scenes of the movie.


(1) pg. 90, Through So Many Dangers: The Memoirs and Adventures of Robert Kirk by Robert Kirk, Ian McCullough, and Timothy Todish

(2) To see some of my painted soldiers, visit my other blog Red Coats and Ruffles at


  1. That last fight scene with Hannawoa was quite unrealistic. I couldn't help but chuckle through most of it. Barbara hadn't held a gun since before her capture (assuming she ever used a gun at all) and somehow she was able to down the lone Indian that all the trained, experienced British soldiers missed.

    1. Well said. When first watching it, I was afraid that one of the captives would kill Hannawoa, rather than the British soldiers. But that Barbara would save them all did not even cross my mind. I wish they would have done this scene differently.