Why did the movie first dwell on the derelict violinist? For awhile, I thought HE was the miracle maker. Who was the mystery man leaving flowers for the laundress? That was a totally unexplored relationship. Why include it if it went nowhere? Why was the little boy mute? I assume it was because his parents had died. Throughout the film he was collecting rocks to create grave displays for his dead parents. He gets snake bit and is better the next day. Oh come on. Why include the snake bite in the plot? I expected a kid to fall in an old well, or the usual meaningless plot devices; the dog saved the day just like Lassie. The snake bite didn't drive the plot forward in a meaningful way. It was strange that the little kids spent time alone with adults who were unrelated to them. Is this because everyone in this tiny town knows everybody else? A stranger comes into town and the kids are allowed to hang out with him alone with no parental supervision all day long; the stranger named Matthew is presumably a Christ like figure whose dog, mind you, creates a miracle of a bounty of 12" long fish from a miniscule fishing hole the size of a bathtub, an obvious allusion to Christ's feeding of the 5000. When the kids are hanging out, about five times the parents tell them to get busy, they have work to do. What is this work thing? Do Christians force their children to constantly work? A little girl of six is supposed to milk the family cow. Seriously? Is this a penal colony? All the kids are barefoot and this is supposed to be December. The set has to have boardwalks all around it, so the kids don't have to step in the street with bare feet. In the end it snows with flurries, but the kids are walking around in pinafores and no shoes. The whole film strains belief. I did like the young minister and his mother who expressed a tender, caring relationship. The rich father who kept his daughter like a prisoner in their house was creepy and mean for a reason he had never found out the truth about. If he loved his daughter so much why didn't he find out what REALLY happened in the accident? He is the most powerful man in town and owns every house everyone else lives in; they all owe him money. OK, I get it -- he's Scrooge. The minister's mom is reading, you guessed it, A Christmas Carol by Dickens. The miser's daughter, at least 20, would have been much more independent in those days in a wild, distant frontier town mostly made of shacks and log cabins, taking care of the house -- cooking, cleaning, canning, etc. Not just sitting looking at her face in a mirror. I did watch to the end but this was a VERY weak film in terms of plot and character development. Characters were one dimensional to make them simple to read. Even kids deserve interesting characters and a better developed plot line. This is a religious film for people who need very clear cut unambiguous characters who are either good or bad with no grays to confuse or confound. And two little old ladies who didn't have anything better to do than make cracks about all the hunks living in town. What ever happened to strong, determined women -- living in Colorado or wherever this is supposed to take place, there would have been very few flighty biddies like them; do we really want our daughters thinking that this is what old age looks like for women? Clearly they were nothing more than comic relief. Everyone in town experiences radical changes in thinking because of one stranger who comes to town, repairs a shack, plants flower seeds and pays for bread at the general store with rocks that turn out to be...this is never clear -- is it gold ore, diamonds, or what? Just too unbelievable and second rate. A mish-mash of unexplained, undeveloped character motivations.