“Wild Hearts” is a two-hour movie about widower Bob Hart (Thomas) and his rebellious daughter Madison (Hirsh), who start new lives as ranchers in Hope, Montana. Bob’s nose-pierced, skateboarding daughter, whom he fears may be growing up a little too wild on the streets without a mother’s supervision, is devastated to be leaving her friends and the city to move to the middle of nowhere.
Bob discovers that life in Hope is far less tranquil than he had expected. His ranch and mustang herd are under threat from a wolf as well as from the strong arm tactics of the development company that seems ruthlessly intent on buying up the town.
Awed by the natural beauty of the countryside but dismayed by the lack of urban amenities, Madison struggles to adjust until she finds a friend in the town’s veterinarian, Emily (McKeon), a refugee herself from city life, who sees more to Madison than her nose ring and defiant teenage attitude.
“Wild Hearts” is a heart-warming fish-out-of-water story about a girl who learns to accept herself, her personality and situations, and about a father who learns to let go.
Now this is how to make a family film! Put a really good script into the mix along with really good acting and direction, and you wind up with something like “Wild Hearts,” a Hallmark Channel presentation. The characters undergo change and grow and the story even has some mystery which is resolved by film’s end. Emmy-award winner Richard Thomas always gives a good performance and he is very believable here as the interim sheriff in Hope, Montana; having returned home to take care of his deceased father’s affairs. His character of Sheriff Bob runs the gamut from dealing with his emotions over his father, to getting to throw a mean jab at the bad guy by film’s end. Young Hallee Hirsh is quite good as the sheriff’s rebellious teenager Madison. Nancy McKeon and Geoffrey Lewis (an old sidekick of Clint Eastwood) are also quite good in their respective roles of veterinarian Emily Benson and ranch hand Hank. This is one the entire family can enjoy and we award it five Doves, the most we can give, and we approve “Wild Hears” for all ages.