To Save the Children (1994) starring Richard Thomas, Wendy Crewson, Jessica Steen, Joanne Vannicola, James Purcell, Robert Bednarski, Cecilley Carroll, Michael Copeman, Robert Urich directed by Steven Hilliard Stern Movie Review

To Save the Children (1994)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Wendy Crewson and Richard Thomas in To Save the Children (1994)

Thomas Will Blow You Away

Cokeville, Wyoming is a quiet American town where nothing much happens other than the kids go to school, the shop owners know each of their customers by name and ranchers tend to their livestock. But David Young (Richard Thomas - Stalking Laura) and his wife Dorsie (Wendy Crewson) live on the outskirts where David's mind flies off on tangents as he believes that his destiny is to kill himself and a group of children so that he can take them to a new world where he will be their god. Then one day, just after school lunch break David and his wife put his plans into effect taking an entire school hostage with a homemade bomb in a shopping cart bringing David face to face with Jake Downey (Robert Urich) who has returned to town to work as a teacher having spent many years in the city and new David from when they were younger.

If you weren't already aware "To Save the Children" is based on a true story and quite a disturbing true story at that. Now I am not going to go into details of what actually happened because I would imagine there are many who like myself were unaware of the true story and came to the movie because of who it stars. What I will say is that the story is a fascinating one which you feel like you know how it is going to play out but are not entirely sure. As such the screen writers and director Steven Hilliard Stern have done a great job of delivering a drama which is riveting with tons of atmosphere.

But I tell you what will strike you about "To Save the Children" and that is Richard Thomas as for many they know him purely as the amiable John Boy from "The Waltons" yet he is a much better actor than just that and has a much greater and at times terrifying range. It is that range which is on show as he plays the bearded, wild eyed David Young with so much delusional force that he comes across as genuinely wild and dangerous. Thomas's performance is so commanding that whilst "To Save the Children" also features the talents of Robert Ulrich, Wendy Crewson as well as Joanne Vannicola with her captivating eyes it belongs to Richard Thomas and you will think of him in a different light after watching this.

What this all boils down to is that "To Save the Children" tells a disturbing true story which is powerful in its own right but it is the performance of Richard Thomas as the deranged David Young which will blow you away and quite possibly haunt you.