I grew up in the early 60's and for those who haven't just cannot comprehend how things were back then so they give movies such as this that depict those times honestly without glamorizing and covering up low ratings because they are shocked and offended. Get over it. My father died when I was only 13 and my mother raised my brother and I alone. She never once dated after his death or even saw an interest in anyone else. Before my father died however, there were many times he took the off his belt to me. Nowadays they would call that child abuse, back then it was called discipline. School principles use to have huge paddles (at least I remember them being huge but than again my butt was much smaller) with holes drilled in them to punish unruly kids who had been sent to his office. Now a days that too would cost them their job and possible a prison sentence. But, I will tell you one thing. Kids were much different back then. Sure there were bullies, that has never gone out of style. But, kids didn't stock up on assault weapons and shoot up their schools as they do now on what seems to be a weekly basis. Kids were on the post part disciplined and usually had a much better sense of morals and pride and value for life.
Not many things have been improved from than to now but a few things have. For instance, when she got fired for defending herself from Mr. touch and grabby at work now that would be considered a viable sexual harassment suit. Back then a woman would have to grin and bare it and her job would be secure only as long as she kept her mouth shut.
The 60's were not nearly as bad as the 1800's but families still had to survive. There were just not any resources like there is now and for the most part pride in oneself prevented them from seeking charity. This movie was a prime example on if you touch someone's life it will come back to you 100 fold. Each one of those kids and their mother as well touched one life (or more) in ways that they may not have known at the time. When they needed help the most they thought they were all alone but because they enriched others they were never alone. They all came to repay their kindness with unselfish kindness of their own and rebuilt their house.
That was how it was back then. People helping others. People putting others before themselves. The Amish still live with that philosophy. If one of their houses or barns burn down they all immediately come to their aid without even thinking about it or wondering what is in it for them. Now we see homeless living in the park or walking down our streets and we turn our heads and pretend they are not there. Guess what they are there. We are all just one step away from being homeless ourselves. A tragedy or drastic change in our career or lives can lead to a downward spiral, one that seems impposible to get out of. Everyone has a story, some better than others but we all have fragile lives that could be torn apart without ever knowing what happened.
Me... I use to be a top programmer. I was making over 250, 000 a year. Had international articles written about me, national awards and had even been featured on T.V. documentaries. I hold 3 degrees. The stress and commitment and (burning the candle at both ends) lifestyle caught up with me. I had my first (out of 5) cardiac arrests. I was dead for just under 6 minutes. I was no longer in demand, now I was a liability. I lost my insurance and I was diagnosed with severe heart disease my health ate through my assets faster than anyone thought possible. I now live in a small (compared to what I am use to) townhouse. I am divorced (losing your wealth and stature sometimes has an adverse effect on some women), the many-many freinds I once had are now all gone (they claim that it was too painful to watch me whither away but I believe they left for the same reason I got divorced). But... you know what... I am happy. I defeated all odds and I am still to this day alive. The 6 months that they gave me to live has now turned into 15 years.
My point is, I once thought I had it all and I did and fate in one fleeting moment took it all away. My education which I had once been so proud of and struggled to get was wiped clean by what they call organic memory loss - what cardiac arrest leaves behind when oxygen cuts off to your brain. My beautiful home gone... my wife gone... my friends gone. But, life goes on and that is all life is about. The struggles every day to put one foot in front of the other every day. So, if you think you have it bad just remember there is always someone who has it much worse. Never be ashamed in what you have and never envy others for what they do have... and if you are comfortably off (for now, at least) help someone in need because you never know. It just one day may come back to you when you yourself need it the most.