Mother won’t let son go underground in a mine since that’s how dad died.
Bill McLean (Weitz), an alcoholic miner with what appears to be early signs of emphysema, is hired to do the actual work. Gradually it’s revealed that he and the fabled Ruby Silver have a past.
Rustic and remote camp is quickly whipped into shape. Key relationship is between McLean and the boy, who’s taught the ropes and who develops a desire to pursue the work his father loved. Mother relents on her edict but the love affair between her and Town doesn’t blossom, chiefly because he’s shown to be a shady character.
The expected accident never comes and hard work pays off, but Town doesn’t abide by their agreement. Happy ending seems forced.
Turning the assumed hero into a con man is a small gamble. While the character of Town doesn’t read well, Schneider’s perf can’t be faulted. Jackson whines his way through the boy’s role, and Jenkins is hard-pressed to carry out some unmotivated scenes. Weitz delivers nuggets of wisdom convincingly.
Photography by Peter Florian Woeste is good and director Charles Wilkinson has his moments. Both seem ready for more action sequences. Rugged Canadian mountains form a scenic backdrop.