Winter People

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Winter People
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by Robert H. Solo
Written by John Ehle (novel)
Carol Sobieski (screenplay)
Music by John Scott
CinematographyFrançois Protat
Edited by Thom Noble
Distributed by Columbia Pictures (Original prints)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Current prints)
Release date
  • April 14, 1989 (1989-04-14)
Running time
110 mins.
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,023,282

Winter People is a 1989 American romantic drama film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Kurt Russell and Kelly McGillis.


The film is based on the novel by John Ehle. Wayland Jackson, a widower with a young daughter, moves to a small, impoverished mountain village in North Carolina, circa 1934. They are taken in by Collie Wright, a single mother, and she and Wayland soon fall in love.


Into a small, poor Appalachian Mountains community in the Great Depression era arrive a young widower, Wayland Jackson, a clockmaker, and his 12-year-old daughter.

Wayland becomes respectfully acquainted with Collie Wright, a single mother of a newborn child, Jonathan. As he becomes more familiar to the villagers, Wayland tries to persuade them that he could build a beautiful clock for the public square. His proposal is met with considerable skepticism before he is given the town's consent.

He is attracted to Collie, but his life and hers are threatened by family members from the Wright family's rival clan, the Campbells, led by patriarch Drury. The youngest son, Cole, is the father of Collie's baby. Cole wanted to run away with Collie but ultimately left her out of fear of Drury's wrath. One night, Cole Campbell arrives in Collie's cabin, and goes into a violent rage once he learns of Collie and Wayland's relationship. Wayland and Cole get into a fistfight in the frozen pond near the cabin. Cole is found dead the next morning, whereupon his relatives demand that the Wrights now owes them a life. To save the lives of her brothers and Jackson, Collie gives them Cole's child.

Wayland and Collie are soon engaged. Wayland confronts the Campbells and attempts to persuade Drury and his clan to end their feud with the Wrights, but they chase him away. The following spring, Drury appears at the wedding of Wayland and Collie, and returns Jonathan to his mother.



Critical response

Winter People was poorly received by critics and has an overall approval rating of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. [1]

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  1. "Rotten Tomatoes" . Retrieved 2010-09-05.