Willie MacLean’s father is a coal miner, and his grandfather was too. His older brother John has already followed in their footsteps, and it is expected that Willie will do the same. But Willie is different. He enjoys school, loves horses, and would rather be anywhere else than in a coal mine.
When John is hurt in an accident Willie is forced to step into his brother’s shoes and soon finds that work in the mine is lonely and unfriendly. However, Willie discovers that a Sable Island pony he has befriended is scheduled to begin working the mine as well.
Against this backdrop, Willie and his newfound companion Gem show that perseverance pays and that miracles can happen, even in the darkness of a coal mine.
This movie is family friendly, although not particularly for tots. It deals with important issues of life such as death, dreams, and determination. The acting is solid and the story is pretty good. The setting is Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, in 1901. The kids will root for Willie and his horse, and the girls will root for Nellie and her romance with a handsome young Scot who has just arrived to work in the mines. There are a couple of mild words as far as language in the film, but overall this is a good drama with some great scenery.