Above the Bit (Manuscript)
Kent and Teri Walsh and their teenage daughter, Sarah, 14, escape the hustle and bustle of LA to pursue a dream of running a horse boarding ranch in Arizona. A failing economy makes pursuing this dream tougher than they imagined. While Teri and Sarah find strength in their faith and a welcoming and supportive church community, a skeptical and frustrated Kent tries to do it all alone.
Their lives change dramatically when Kent’s street-hardened teenage niece, Marissa, is sent to live with the family after her mother is arrested and incarcerated. Life with the Walsh family is a dramatic change for Marissa- rules, respect, and faith have been missing from her life. When she’s expected to pitch in with the family business, Marissa lashes out. When she runs away from home, her behavior threatens the already tense situation.
Caring for one of the horses in particular, Dakota, gives Marissa something that’s been missing from her life- a connection to a living thing that relies on her attention. When Dakota falls ill, the Walsh’s already strained finances force them to make the difficult decision to use their dwindling savings to save Dakota.
After Marissa makes the decision to do the wrong thing for the right reason, a community discovers the meaning of forgiveness, and Marissa realizes this is the only place she has ever been where people really care about her.
I am very impressed with this manuscript. It reads like a Hallmark Channel movie. It features some country scenes as a Christian family in Arizona deal with hardship but take on a rebellious girl named Marissa, whose mother has just been arrested and is headed for a long jail sentence. The family, featuring dad Kent and mother Terri, along with teen daughter Sarah, run a horse ranch. This setting, along with Sarah’s friendship, seems to be just what Marissa needs. Marissa is Kent and Terri’s niece and Sarah’s cousin. However, when a hardship strikes the family, Marissa makes a bad decision but for the right reasons, to help out her new family who are in danger of losing both Dakota, Sarah’s horse, and the ranch itself.
The conflict between Kent and Marissa is written very well and the hardships of this family due to today’s economy, is something most families can relate to. The characters are well fleshed out. I can see this one being appropriate for all ages if a film is based on this manuscript and no other content which could be construed as a concern is added. I like the fact a well written story does not feature strong language. I liked the ending very much. Well done.