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The Light in the Forest (8 July 1958)

Appearing as True Son/Johnny Butler

Synopsis from the Disney Pressbook:

In 1764 Colonel Henry Bouquet parleyed with the Delaware Indians and persuaded them to give up their white captives in exchange for peace.

To Del Hardy, a seasoned scout, goes the job of leading the freed prisoners to Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. Among those making the long march is Johnny Butler, a young man who has been raised as the son of the great Delaware Chief, Cuyloga. Resentful of all whites, whom he considers his enemies, and bitterly unwilling to leave the Indians with whom he has grown up, Johnny reaches Fort Pitt only after several violent clashes with Del Hardy.

From Fort Pitt, where his father has ridden to meet him, Johnny goes to his home in Paxton township. Because the lad still shows so much hostility at being returned, Del Hardy is commissioned to stick with him. Hardy also is asked to do what he can toward dispersing the Paxton Boys, a group of Indian-haters.

At a party given by Johnny's mother in his honor, he and Del meet family friends and relatives: Parson John Elder, commander of the Paxton Boys; Milly Elder, the parson's lovely daughter; Uncle Wilse, a member of the Paxton Boys, who makes no bones about his hatred of Indians; Aunt Kate, his matter-of-fact wife; Shenandoe, a beautiful servant girl indentured to Aunt Kate; Uncle George Owens, another Paxton Boy who hates Indians almost as much as Uncle Wilse.

Johnny's progress in adapting to his new life is continually impeded by Uncle Wilse. He needles the youth by firing at a target made of Johnny's Indian clothes, hits him without provocation, and tries to thwart his budding romance with Shenandoe. The boy develops a burning hatred for Wilse.
Johnny is making plans to claim Piney Woods Mountain, where he can settle with Shenandoe after they come of age, when Uncle Wilse kills one of Johnny's Indian friends, Little Crane, who had come to see the white bride from whom he was separated by Bouquet's treaty.

Outraged, Johnny decides he cannot accept the white man's life and returns with his Indian comrade, Half Arrow, to the Delawares.

Little Crane's brother, Niskitoon, swears to avenge his death by taking twenty white scalps. But after agreeing to help, Johnny suddenly averts a massacre by warning a group of settlers of Niskitoon's ambush.

Del Hardy, on a scouting party, learns of the incident and starts to the Delaware camp. He encounters Johnny, who has been cast out of the tribe, along the river bank separating the Delaware Nation from the whites.

After much persuasion Del gets Johnny to return to Paxton, where his future lies. There is an old score settled when the feud between Johnny and Uncle Wilse erupts into a raging fistfight, with Johnny victorious.

Established members of the community at last, Del embraces Milly and Johnny looks toward Piney Woods with Shenandoe, his bride-to-be.

(Click here for more articles and information from the Pressbook)

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To view a special group of behind-the-scenes photos from this movie click here.

To view images from an unpublished photo shoot for this movie click here.

Light in the Forest Video Case

Light in the Forest Comic Book

Light in the Forest paperback

Fess Parker, James MacArthur

Joseph Calliela, James MacArthur

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Jessica Tandy, James MacArthur

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