More a period piece of Americana than a rousing adventure, The Journey of Natty Gann is a generally diverting variation on a boy and his dog: this time it’s a girl and her wolf.
Set in the Depression in Chicago, story has widower Saul Gann desperate to find employment to support himself and daughter Natty. He’s offered a job at the lumber camp out in Washington State and reluctantly takes it, promising to send for Natty as soon as he can. He leaves her under the auspices of a floozie hotel manager.
The girl runs away and remainder of pic is her sojourn across America in search of her dad. Along the way she rescues a wolf from its captors, and he becomes her endearing traveling partner.
Director Jeremy Paul Kagan extracts an engaging performance from Meredith Salenger as the heroine. Rest of the cast is fine, with John Cusack as her begrudging but good buddy and Barry Miller as the witty entrepreneurial leader of a hobo brat pack.
1985: Nomination: Best Costume Design