Title: Alone Yet Not Alone (2013; PG-13)
Director: Ray Bengston and George D. Escobar
Major Themes: French and Indian War, Indians, Settlers
Synopsis: As Barbara and Regina are torn away from their parents after an Indian raid, is there any chance they can keep their faith and be reunited with their family once again?
I don’t remember the first time I heard Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Michele Leininger. I spent hours listening to the tape set over and over, until not only was Mom thoroughly sick of the story, but I had memorized a good portion of the first chapter (I know, because I remember repeating it to one of my brothers, word for word one time, when I was supposed to be doing the dishes). In retrospect, this may not have been the best reading choice for someone my age, as I think it may have sparked some nightmares when I was fairly young.
Regardless, through my many times of hearing the story I developed an acute appreciation for God’s love for us despite the circumstances we find ourselves in. That knowledge is something I treasure deeply, and one I’ve been able to cling to in rough patches through my life. Barbara and Regina’s story is by no means the only story about children kidnapped by Indians during the early years of colonization—but it is a poignant reminder of God’s faithfulness, even when everything seems to be spinning out of control.
Part of a German settler’s family, young sisters Barbara and Regina Leigninger lead a happy, mostly carefree life with their two brothers and parents. They raise much of the food they eat, and enjoy sweet family time together as Papa teaches them important lessons from the Bible. Their world is suddenly turned upside down one day, though, when Indians suddenly appear at the door. Although Papa does his best to make the braves welcome, he soon senses they are up to no good and sends the girls off to hide, trying to keep them safe. Soon after the girls leave their cabin, they hear gunshots. Unbeknownst to them, their father and eldest brother die that day.
The Indians, raiders from a tribe many day’s walk away, soon discover where the girls are and take them back to camp as captives. Is there any hope they will be able to meet up with their brother and mother again someday—the only ones in the family left alive? What will happen to the girls when they are separated, taken to live and work at different tribes? Can their faith in the Lord hold them up, or will they be truly alone and forgotten in their new homes?
Alone Yet Not Alone is a very sad story, and even though the ending is beautiful and full of hope, it was a very dark time for many families and individuals. Through the story we follow Barbara’s life, one that wasn’t easy but full of faith. Soon before Regina was taken away, Barbara whispered to her words I’ll never forget:
“Regina, they might take us away from each other. They might take away the song we sing. But they can never take the song out of our hearts. They can never take away God’s love or our faith in Him. They can never touch that unless we let them.”
I know that isn’t nearly word-perfect, but that’s the gist of what I remember her saying—and it may not have even been in the movie! Wherever it was, that thought has stuck with me—though all about their former life was stripped away from those girls that day the Indians came, they still had faith to cling to. A faith that no man can ever take away from you, because in order to lose it, you have to give it up. In all, this is somewhat of a difficult story to read or watch. There are a lot of bad things that happened. But I love this story, because not only is it true, it is incredibly encouraging. Seeing what those girls went through and how they held firm despite that was and is an incredible encouragement to me.
WARNING: Being a story about the Indians taking captives, there is a good amount of violence in this movie. Depending on the region, the rating on this would be anywhere from PG-13 up through M. Personally, I would consider it to be just barely within the M range—not nearly as bad as some are, but also a lot worse than others. Following are the things parents may wish to censor before letting their children watch the film: at 04:00 there is some slight fear before the dog is sprayed by a skunk. From 15:50–18:51 the Indians are in the cabin, the father and brother are killed (mostly off-screen; you basically just hear gunshots), and the Indians are hunting for the girls. Through and possibly a little past 19:08 the Indians are carrying the girls roughly through the forest. 27:08–29:53 has a chase scene where a girl tries to escape and is threatened to be burned alive. 32:19–33:03 shows someone getting payment for scalps. 38:35–43:13 has a fight where many are killed—very intense. 43:50–45:55 shows a character being burned, also fairly intense. 46:50–47:42 shows someone hanging up a scalp. There is a very tense scene as a character attempts to escape. 1:11:10–1:12:19 shows someone who is hurt by a bear (some blood) and people almost drowning. 1:14:28–1:15:05 contains an argument between two Indians before one kills the other. 1:18:09–1:19:30 has a fight, at least one person killed, and several more injured. Also in at least one place in the film a character is talking about the “Great Spirit”—the Indian’s god. Some parents may want to talk about that with their children.
Ages 15 and Above, Adults