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'Alone Yet Not Alone' Focuses on a Lost Piece of American History

Film shows the part that faith played in an against-all-odds struggle. It’s good entertainment and good teaching.
By Scott Williams

Few people had heard of the film, Alone Yet Not Alone, until the title song from the movie was nominated for an Academy Award.  In a controversial decision the Academy rescinded the nomination, and the song, sung by Joni Eareckson Tada, never was heard on the Oscars broadcast. 

At the time the film had been show in only 12 theaters.  But now you have the chance to see it. On June 13, Alone Yet Not Alone makes its general debut in theaters around the country. The song plays prominently in the plot of this historical drama, based heavily on real recorded history from 18th century Colonial frontier America. If it’s in a theater near you, make an effort to take in this inspiring story, beautifully photographed and featuring a great musical score. Check out the official movie trailer.

The story focuses on the Leininger family, who had emigrated from Germany in the 1750s to escape religious and political persecution. They purchased a plot of land on the Pennsylvania frontier and were beginning to enjoy the bountiful freedom that America promised. Their homestead was in an area that had enjoyed 70 years of peace between settlers and local Native American tribes. Unfortunately, that was changing as tensions between British, French, and tribal forces escalated in dispute over the land.

Rumor had come to the Leiningers that a scout party of Indians was amassing in the area and planning to attack. To calm the fears of daughters Barbara and Regina and to remind them of God’s constant care, Papa Leininger would quote Scripture and their mother would sing hymns, a popular favorite of that time being “Alone Yet Not Alone.”

October 16, 1755, a small contingent from the Delaware tribe attacked their Penn’s Creek settlement, kidnapping 11 people, including the Leininger girls, and killing 14 others, including their father and a brother. The captives were assimilated into the tribal villages and taught their way of life. Over their years of captivity, many memories Barbara and Regina had of their earlier lives would slip away from them, but in the midst of the difficulties, they would regularly comfort themselves with the Scripture and hymns taught them by their parents. Years later, the hymn “Alone Yet Not Alone” would play a part in reuniting the family.

Considering that most moviegoers are aware of the history of mistreatment and swindling of indigenous American peoples, the filmmakers had to navigate a fine line in making a movie in which Indians were the aggressors and white settlers the victims. But the storyline is careful to present both sides fairly. The film effectively portrays that there were noble and ignoble people on both sides of the history.

While the acting and script of Alone Yet Not Alone could have been better, the overall film is a  compelling retelling of a lost piece of American history, and the part that faith in God played in the against-all-odds struggle. It’s not just good entertainment, it’s good teaching. The movie’s creators have even produced a study guide for parents, teachers, and churches, with bonus historical material and poignant questions to provoke thought and family discussion.

To get the study guide, to find showtimes for the movie, buy tickets, or even have the movie brought to your area, visit the official website for Alone Yet Not Alone.

Copyright © 2014 by FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.

Meet the Author: Scott Williams

Scott Williams

Scott Williams is a senior writer for FamilyLife and received his journalism and Bible training from the University of Southern Mississippi and New Tribes Bible Institute, respectively. He and wife, Ellie, moved to Little Rock from Mississippi in 2004. Each of them received the legacy of lifelong marriage from their own parents—both couples were married over 60 years. Scott and Ellie have raised seven children and are now enjoying another generation in their grandchildren.



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