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The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (2001)

The adventures of a family who head west to the California gold fields in the 1850s.


Jeremy Kagan


Karen Cushman (novel), Christopher Lofton (teleplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Close ... Arvella Whipple
Jena Malone ... California Morning 'Lucy' Whipple
Bruce McGill ... Jonas Scatter
Meat Loaf ... Amos 'Rattlesnake Jake' Frogge (as Meat Loaf Aday)
Chloe Webb ... Sophie
Olivia Burnette ... Annie Flagg
Dennis Christopher ... Joshua 'Carrots' Beale
Judy Gold ... Buck McPhee
Michael Welch ... Butte Whipple
Andy Garrison Andy Garrison ... Jimmy Whiskers
Wilford Brimley ... Deputy Sheriff Ambrose Scraggs
Robert Pastorelli ... Clyde Claymore
Dalin Christiansen Dalin Christiansen ... Linus Flagg
Neblis Francois Neblis Francois ... Bernard
Charles Grueber Charles Grueber ... Papa (as Charles Cruber)


When her widowed mother decides to move the family from New England to California during the Gold Rush, teenager California Morning Whipple is furious. She misses her New England home, even though her mother and younger siblings are happy in their new home and life. Not wanting anything to do with California, she renames herself Lucy. But over time "Lucy" begins to think of California as her home. Written by Rebecca <Rebecca191@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


While the world headed West for gold, one family came for adventure.


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:






Release Date:

18 February 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

California Gold See more »

Filming Locations:

Park City, Utah, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Early in the film, empty tin cans were shown littering the creekside, indicative of how the gold-rush miners littered the gold fields. But the cans depicted were modern tin cans, not the type of cans used in the mid-1800s when this story took place. Among other differences, the cans of that period would still have had their lids soldered on by hand, which means they couldn't be opened neatly like modern cans, making for a rough or jagged appearance to the lid when opened. The cans depicted were modern ones, with neatly opened lids as if done by a modern can opener. See more »

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User Reviews

Delightful film !!
23 September 2007 | by GreensAndNettlesSee all my reviews

Most enjoyable thing I have watched on television in a long time. A really nice portrayal of frontier life in a busy Gold-mining town. The perfect 'American Girl' film ~ would keep any group of young girls ~ I'd say up to about age 14 ~ happy on an overnight or birthday party day. Highly recommended for moms too! A great historical film ~ I really enjoy olde time clothing and the costuming was fantastic! A delightful film all around !! The film is a bit reminiscent of Jane Seymours ~ Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman television show. The funny thing is that I had purchased the paperback book of this film way back in 1999 but had stashed it on the shelf and never read it. Happened upon the film on television tonight and am delighted!

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