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Dear America Wiki
Not to be confused with Standing in the Light (book).

"Now, hear that? The owls? That's the light of God in that tree, and in that owl. It shines in each and everyone of his creatures. Thee, Thomas, our Indian brothers...Stand in that light, Caty. Listen to God's still voice within thee. It will teach thee to trust."
Mr. Logan urges his daughter to trust God

"Standing in the Light" is a short television film based on Standing in the Light by Mary Pope Osborne. The film is the fourth entry in the Dear America film series. It first aired on September 24, 1999 on HBO. The film starred Stephanie Mills, Marc Donato, and Grant Nickalls.

A young Quaker girl, Catharine Logan, and her brother, Thomas, are captured by Lenape Indians. She scorns them until Snow Hunter shows her their similarities.


Catharine "Caty" Logan (Stephanie Mills) and her family live in a small Quaker village in the 1760s. The community is currently under threat of Indian attacks, causing her mother (Jane Johanson) to fret. Her father (C. David Johnson), however, does not fear the Indians, placing his faith in God. He encourages Caty to also place her trust in God. One day, Caty and her younger brother, Thomas (Marc Donato), are walking to school. They are accosted by a group of Indians whom capture them. During their journey, Caty continues writing in her diary for several days until it is taken from her.

Caty and Thomas are separated upon arriving at a Lenape village. Caty is adopted by old woman, White Bird (Madeleine Bergeron), and her daughter, Bright Eyes (Jennifer Podemski). She does not yet realize that they now regard her as family. A Lenape warrior, Snow Hunter (Grant Nickalls) returns Caty's diary, which eases her sorrow. One night, Caty dreams of Thomas calling to her from across the river. She attempts to cross it the next night. Snow Hunter stops her and, using English, warns her that it is dangerous to cross alone. She questions his English, leading him to say "I was English once."

Later, Caty pleads with Snow Hunter to help her find Thomas. She asks him why he has "turned against his fellow creatures to be savage." Snow Hunter points out her hypocrisy. Caty realizes the error of her thinking and begins looking at White Bird and Bright Eyes in a different light. She makes amends with Snow Hunter and learns his name. When she tells him that she dreamed of Thomas and an eagle, Snow Hunter takes it as a sign and later returns with Thomas. White Bird nurses Thomas back to full health. Caty and Thomas gradually become accustomed to their new life.

Some nights later, Snow Hunter gives Caty his eagle necklace. He tells her that "Snow Bird [Caty] has captured Snow Hunter" and kisses her forehead. The next day, Caty gives him a handmade shirt, before he sets off on a hunt. The village is later attacked by white men, including one wearing Snow Hunter's shirt. They capture Caty and Thomas, and bring them home to their parents. Caty has a hard time adjusting back to her old life. She gives her diary to her father, so he will understand. After he finishes reading, he praises her for having "stood in the light." Caty then says farewell to Snow Hunter.

Cast and characters[]

Crew and credits[]

  • Directed by: Stacey Stewart Curtis
  • Teleplay by: Jill Soffer
  • Adapted from the book: "Standing in the Light" written by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Based on: the Scholastic book series "Dear America" created by Jean Feiwel
  • Executive producer: Deborah Forte
  • Co-executive producers: Bill Siegler, Martha Atwater
  • Editor: Richard Wells
  • Production designer: Ian Brock
  • Director of photography: Barry Bergthorson
  • Line producer: Lena Cordina
  • Music by: Jack Lenz and Douglas John Cameron
  • Story editor: Rhonda Jayne Olson
  • Production manager: Lena Cordina
  • 1st assistant director: Mark Tataryn
  • Location manager: Karen Perez
  • Art director: Roderik Mayne
  • 1st assistant art director: Theresa Tindall
  • 2nd assistant director: Eric Banz
  • Production coordinator: David Hardy
  • Script supervisor: Susan Walker
  • Set decorator: Elizabeth Calderhead
  • Costume designer: Joyce Schure
  • Stunt Rider: Paul Rutledge
  • Property master: Alan Doucette
  • Make-up: Leslie Dumbleton
  • Hairstylist: Etheline Joseph
  • Camera operator: Doug Lawrence
  • Sound recordist: Bryan Day
  • Re-recording engineer: Steve Foster
  • Gaffer: Bob Davidson
  • Key grip: Darren Boyce
  • 1st assistant camera: Lori Longstaff
  • Post production supervisor: Lynda McKenzie
  • Assistant editor: Douglas Crawford
  • Construction coordinator: Bill White
  • Transport coordinator: J. Skavinsky
  • Stunt coordinator: Anton Tyukodi
  • Special effects by: Brock Jolliffe
  • Casting: Susan Forrest and Sharon Forrest
  • Production accountant: Kelly Decooman
  • Scholastic financial executive: Diane Vilagi
  • Production associate: Tessa Abdull
  • Lenape consultants: Don Secondine, Sauder Village, OH; Jim Rementer
  • Production services provided by: Protocol Entertainment Inc.
  • Special thanks to: Buffy Sainte-Marie - Vocals, Dome Audio Video & Effects, The Lab, Tracy Mack

Home media[]


"Standing in the Light" on VHS

"Standing in the Light" was first released on video tape around 1999.[2] It is now available for purchase on various streaming services.

Back of tape description:
"Caty Logan has always lived a quiet life with her Quaker family. But one day Caty's world is changed forever. The Lenape Indians, who have been viciously attacked by white settlers, retaliate by kidnapping Caty and her brother. Terrified and angry, Caty rejects the Lenape family that tries to raise her as their own. A handsome warrior named Snow Hunter teaches Caty to respect Lenape traditions.... and captures her heart. Now caught between two worlds, Caty wonders if she will ever be able to return to her old life."

Differences from the book[]

  • A few minor characters were removed from the story, including Jess Owen, Molly, Master Collins, and Thunder Arrow.
  • For unknown reasons, White Owl's name was changed to "White Bird", Little Cloud to "Bright Eyes", and Little One to "Little Cloud". Caty's parents are also given first names, William and Elle, while they are unnamed in the book.
  • Caty and Thomas are tied up by the people who capture them. One of them also takes her diary, which Snow Hunter later gives back. Neither of these things happen in the book.
  • Snow Hunter's eagle is tattooed on his left arm in the film, instead of his cheek.
  • White Owl's daughter is mentioned to have died of smallpox, while Black Snake's son died from a rifle wound. In the book, they both died of measles.
  • After hearing about Caty's dream, Snow Hunter retrieves Thomas by himself. In the book, he first showed her where Thomas lived. He later took her to Thomas, after hearing her second dream.
  • In the film, Caty does not dream of "white bears" attacking the Lenape village. This served as foreshadowing in the book.

Behind the scenes[]



From the Dear America website (August 2000)


See also[]

External links[]