17 Miracles

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17 Miracles
Film poster
Directed by T. C. Christensen
Produced by
  • T. C. Christensen
  • Ron Tanner
Written by
  • T. C. Christensen
  • Laurie Vukich
Music by Steve Evans
Margo Watson
Cinematography T. C. Christensen
Edited by Tanner Christensen
Remember Films
Distributed by Excel Entertainment Group
Release date
  • June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English

17 Miracles is a 2011 film directed by T. C. Christensen. It was released in 2011 by Excel Entertainment Group. Based on the experiences of members of the Willie Handcart Company of Mormon pioneers following their late-season start and subsequent winter journey to Salt Lake City in 1856, the film emphasizes miracles individual participants reported having during the journey.[1] The film was released in select theaters across the United States in the summer of 2011.


When Levi Savage, a former Mormon Battalion member and missionary to Asia, agrees to assist the Willie Handcart Company as they journey to Salt Lake City in 1856, the late start and onset of a bitter winter leaves the pioneers unprepared and suffering as they cross the plains of the Midwestern United States. Elizabeth Panting, a woman who has converted to the LDS Church, escapes her drunken husband with her two little children, joining the handcart company. With the threat of winter starvation, illness, wolves, freezing river crossings, and death following them throughout their journey, Levi and others also witness the occurrences of divine miracles that enable them to complete their journey and arrive in Salt Lake City.[2]


  • Jasen Wade as Levi Savage, the film's protagonist, a former Mormon Battalion soldier and missionary who is called to assist the captain of the Willie Handcart Company.
  • Emily Wadley as Elizabeth Panting, a convert to the LDS Church who takes her two children and escapes her drunken husband, who had threatened to kill her if she left him.
  • Tomas Kofod as Jens Nielson, a Danish Latter-day Saint who travels with the Willie Handcart Company.
  • Nathan Mitchell as Captain James G. Willie, the strict but kind leader of the Willie Handcart Company.
  • Bruce Newbold as The Traveler.
  • Jason Celaya as George Padley, a young man who travels with the Martin Handcart Company and is betrothed to Sarah.
  • Natalie Blackman as Sarah Franks, a young woman who travels with the Martin Handcart Company and is betrothed to George.
  • Travis Eberhard as Albert (real name Robert Pearce), a crippled dwarf who travels with the Martin Handcart Company and promises to walk every step of the mile to Zion.
  • Heather Brown as Ann Cooper, a woman of the Willie Handcart Company who becomes the object of Levi's affection.
  • Bailee Johnson as Mary Hurren, a young English girl who becomes best friends with Bodil Mortensen, a Danish girl traveling with the Nielsons.
    • Mary Jane Wadley provides Mary's voice as an older woman narrating her young life.
  • Kenzie Stinger as Betsy Cunningham, a young Scottish girl who dies from a serious illness but is miraculously brought back to life.
  • Derek Spriggs as James Loader, a man of the Martin Handcart Company who dies along the trail from a serious illness
  • Mary Jane Wadley as Amy Loader, James's wife.
  • Caitlin EJ Meyer as Tamar Loader, James and Amy's daughter, who is forced to leave her boyfriend behind after he refuses to join the Church.
  • Scott Warner as Thomas E. Ricks, one of the rescuers of the Handcart Company who becomes the object of Tamar's affection.


Written and directed by T. C. Christensen (The Work and the Glory, The Testaments, Only a Stonecutter), and produced by Ron Tanner and Christensen, 17 Miracles debuted on June 2, 2011 in select theaters in Utah, and then across the United States. The film was subsequently released on DVD and Blu-ray for distribution by Excel Entertainment Group through Deseret Book and affiliated retailers.


Critic Sean P. Means of The Salt Lake Tribune gave the film a mixed review. He thought that Christensen's eye for striking cinematography gave the film a "glossy look" and Wade's portrayal of the hardy Levi Savage "held the film together." However, Means suggested that the film's structure as a series of vignettes was "wearying" and some of the low-budget effects were "distracting."[3]



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