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All Jimmy Wheeler (Stacy Keach) wanted to do was to give 7 year old
Gilbert (Tim Parkison) a ride home, especially since the kid lives in the
middle of nowhere and is carrying a big bag of food. Once he arrives at
Gilbert's house though, he meets his family made up of only his brothers
and sisters, led by the eldest, Peter (John Savage), and the woman they
call mom, Carol Anne (Samantha Eggar) seems to be held captive by the kids
and guarded by their big dogs.
When Jimmy wants to leave, he has to
realize his new car has broken down, and he has no choice but to spend the
night at the kids' place. And soon, the kids start to call him pa and want
to make him part of their family, just like they did with Carol Anne.
Jimmy tries to make an escape with Carol Anne but is stopped by the kids'
dogs. The next day, his car is gone, and he finds traces of it at the
bottom of a nearby waterhole. Realizing that using force on the children
leads to nothing, he tries to win their trust, and starts acting as their
father, whila always planning another escape. Finally, one night he finds
a way to trick the kids' dogs and make it almost off their property, but
once again he is stopped by Peter and the other kids, who carry guns.
and Carol Anne's remaining with the children is put to the vote, and the
kids decide 4 to three that they should go - only Peter understands
something else in goig than the other kids, and when he's about to shoot
Jimmy and Carol Anne, the others arrive and stop him. And Jimmy convinces
Peter it's best to put their whole case in the hands of the authorities
The premise of this made-for-TV-film - children forcing
grown-ups to act as their parents - is just great in all its absurd glory,
and for most of the time, All the Kind Strangers even delivers on
its promise, even if some chase scenes seem disappointingly clichéd in
the film's context. The real weak point though is its ending in which
Stacy Keach's character almost starts preaching and John Savage's
character is way too easily convinced by his empty words. Now this is one
film that would have deserved a great finale, but even as it is it's