I had so much fun watching the 1980 Dukes of Hazzard Christmas episode and the Christmas episode of the animated series The Dukes last week. Watching those two episodes again reminded me of the 1987 Christmas TV movie, Christmas Comes to Willow Creek. The dream team is back together again: Christmas Comes to Willow Creek stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat as brothers (not cousins) in another holiday story for the ages.
|Brothers Ray (Schneider) and Pete (Wopat) may not get along--but they're both still good lookin'!|
|THAT'S NOT the General Lee!? In this TV movie the boys are cross-country truckers.|
Rather than Bo and Luke Duke, Schneider and Wopat are now playing Ray and Pete, quarrelsome brothers that haven't spoken to one another in over a year. The brothers have been forced into working together this Christmas by a family friend, Al. Trucking company boss, Al, has suddenly come down sick and needs a shipment to go from Los Angeles to Willow Creek, Alaska before the holiday.
|Al is played by actor/singer Hoyt Axton.|
|What is going on in Willow Creek, Alaska?|
It seems the residents of the small, isolated community of Willow Creek are experiencing a bad year economically. The community's major employer, a cannery, shut down this previous year and the people have had no money, few prospects, and little hope for an economic turnaround. Al has family in Willow Creek and was planning on bringing a special payload up there to brighten the children's Christmas as well as offer some hope for the adults. In the meantime, Willow Creek resident, Homer, has become so disgusted by his fellow community members' lack of holiday spirit that he stages a sit-in on top of the city's water tank until he feels like things have changed. Homer is a well-liked member of the community and he plays Santa Claus for the children each year, so his emotional blackmail scheme is taken pretty seriously by the others in Willow Creek.
|Not in the face, boys!|
Despite their differences, Pete and Ray are persuaded to drive Al's delivery (it's a two-man job) to Alaska for him. Along the way, the brothers will have to deal with each other whether they like it or not.
|It's a long journey from California to Alaska--plenty of time for flashback scenes for viewers to see why the brothers no longer get along.|
|Making matters worse, Pete's delinquent teenage son Mike seems to get along with his irresponsible uncle Ray better than he does with his own father.|
Between Los Angeles and the Yukon, the brothers discover they have more to confront than just each other: Pete tries to fix his troubled relationship with his teenage son Mike, and Ray wants to talk with his estranged wife, Jessie who is now living in Vancouver.
|As the story unfolds, we discover that the brothers are no longer speaking because of their dispute over a beautiful woman named Jessie (played by Kim Delaney).|
This made-for-TV movie is a quintessential Christmas film. It contains the common Christmas story motifs of forgiveness, second chances, hope, a crippling blizzard, a baby born on Christmas Eve, and a family reunited. Making this film even more entertaining, viewers are treated to an amazing cast to bring it all together.
Christmas Comes to Willow Creek is available for viewing on DVD--but I haven't seen it re-broadcast on TV in a long while. Anyone else love this older Christmas favorite?