The thing about watching the tv miniseries Into the West is that once you start, you don’t want to stop. That’s what happened to me, my mother and sister when we watched it for the first time. When episode one Wheel to the Stars was finished, we all agreed that we had to watch the second episode right away!
Manifest Destiny begins several years after the end of Wheel to the Stars. Jacob has married Thunder Heart Woman and they have a small daughter, Margaret Light Shines. Jacob returns to his home in Virginia and his Indian wife is met with some hostility from his family.
The stories that would reach the people who lived so far from the Indians were numerous. At one point in the second episode, after Thunder Heart Woman has given birth to her second child with Jacob, Abraham High Wolf, one of Jacob’s cousins comments that the Indians aren’t human and don’t feel pain like real people do. She used this as an explanation to why Thunder Heart Woman didn’t cry out once during her labor.
Jacob decides that it’s time for him to return to California. He has big plans for his family there. But the journey is going to be harder than they expected. And for his three cousins, Rachel, Leah and Naomi Wheeler, it turns out to be heartbreaking.
Joining a wagon train after taking three years to get to Independence Missouri, the Wheeler family sets out for California. On the way they encounter a beautiful, large buffalo herd, strong rivers, rough countryside and terrible thunder storms that threaten to destroy the journey and take their lives.
Manifest Destiny was my favorite episode in the whole series. The reality of what went on in those wagon trains was incredible. This was no easy ride across country. It was perilous, and they risked so much when they decided to leave and make a new life in a different place.
Warning!! Below are some spoilers, so if you’ve not watched the movie and want to be surprised then don’t continue! If you don’t care, then by all means go on!! 😉
Jacob’s cousins Rahcel and Naomi experience heartbreak and love on their journey towards California. When their sister, Leah, drowns, they both want to turn around and go back. The journey has been harder then they expected and they don’t think it’s worth it. But there’s nothing to be done now, it’s too late to turn around.
Naomi wants to die and Rachel just wants to live a normal life again. Both sick of the wagon train, they never expected that they would fall in love. Naomi and Rachel both get married to fine men who have been traveling with them. But unfortunately, their troubles are not over.
When Rachel dies from a terrible leg wound, Naomi is the last sister. And when it appears that Jacob, his brother Jethro, and his family may have been infected with cholera and have to stay behind, she may lose the only family she has left.
When it is clear to Jacob that he and his family have not caught the cholera, he rides ahead to catch up with the wagon train and tell them that they can once again join them. But what he finds is a bunch of wagons, burned and broken, and every single member of the wagon train killed…except Naomi.
Naomi was taken by the Cheyenne Indians to become the wife of their chief, Prairie Fire. Their story is sad and sweet at the same time. Naomi, at first, puts off the Indian chief’s advances by reciting nursery rhymes. And when you think about it, it’s actually quite funny. But their relationship will grow and blossom and soon, Naomi starts to see Prairie Fire in a different way.
This episode was heartwrenching, especially when you reach the end. At one point you are left wondering if Jacob will live or die, and then at the very end you truly believe that he will never get his family back.
Manifest Destiny was amazing. This whole series is incredibly excellent. If you’ve not seen it, then you definitely should!!
Coming Soon: A young woman, desperate to find her father…a man driven mad with the lust for gold…a family in danger of breaking apart. Look for my review of Into the West Part 3: Dreams & Schemes soon!!