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Not to be confused with The Winter of Red Snow (book).

"I tried to understand why the soldiers would steal from us, but still I was cross. Our family is doing all we can to help the army. It just doesn't seem fair."
Abigail Stewart

"The Winter of Red Snow" is a television film in the Dear America film series. It was based on Kristiana Gregory's The Winter of Red Snow. The film premiered on November 15, 1999 on HBO. Elisabeth Rosen starred as Abigail Stewart with Catherine Disher as Martha Washington.

George Washington's troops spend the winter in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where young Abigail lives with her parents and sister. She later befriends the General's wife, Martha, who shows her how to be brave.


In December 1777, young Abigail "Abby" Stewart (Elisabeth Rosen) lives with her parents and younger sister, Sally (Tabitha Lupien), in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Her father, Edward (Robert Bockstael) hears word that General George Washington plans to camp his troops nearby. The family hears the sound of drums one night. They go outside to greet the soldiers. However, Edward rushes his family back inside, when he sees the sad state of the soldiers whose feet leave blood in the snow.

The next day, George Washington's servant Billy Lee (Conrad Coates) asks Abby's mother, Sarah (Rosemary Dunsmore), to be the General's laundress. She is reluctant to agree, but does so due to Abby's enthusiasm. At George Washington's home, Abby becomes smitten to a French interpreter Pierre (Jesse Nilsson). She sews him a coat, despite being tired from doing laundry day in and out. Some days later, Abby meets Martha Washington (Catherine Disher), who kindly helps her give the coat to Pierre.

Abby accompanies Martha to the encampment, where she meets a young woman Helen Kern (Sarah Manninen) and her husband (Jeff Topping). The experience is traumatic for Abby, who continues to hear the soldier's screams in her head. Her father later hears that the soldier died from fever. The Stewarts decide to take in Helen since she has no family. Not long after she comes to stay, Helen goes into labor. Seeing the new baby, Abby's father says "this is what soldiers like Helen's husband are fighting for."

Sometime later, Abby sees Baron von Steuben's dog Azor wearing the coat she made Pierre. She is disappointed, but is able to laugh it off. Martha then asks Abby to accompany her to the encampment again. There she sees a sick soldier covered in straw. Abby places her cloak over him and begins to pray. Some days later, life begins to settle down as the troops prepare to leave. Martha says a bittersweet goodbye to Abby. After opening Martha's parting gift, the family's hear a knock on the door. It is the soldier, Ben Valentine (Shawn Ashmore), come to return Abby's cloak. As the family waves goodbye to the soldiers, George Washington himself waves back.

Cast and characters[]

Crew and credits[]

  • Directed by: Don McCutcheon
  • Teleplay by: Carl Binder
  • Adapted from the book: "The Winter of Red Snow" written by Kristiana Gregory
  • Based on: the Scholastic book series "Dear America" created by Jean Feiwel
  • Executive producer: Deborah Forte
  • Co-executive producers: Bill Siegler, Martha Atwater
  • Editor: Tom Joerin
  • Production designer: Ian Brock
  • Director of photography: Barry Bergthorson
  • Line producer: Lena Cordina
  • Executive in charge: Christie Dreyfuss
  • Music by: Jack Lenz and Douglas John Cameron
  • Story editor: Rhonda Jayne Olson
  • Production manager: Lena Cordina
  • 1st assistant director: John Pace
  • Location manager: Karen Perez
  • Art director: Roderik Mayne
  • 1st assistant art director: Theresa Tindall
  • 2nd assistant director: Joanne Tickle
  • Production coordinator: David Hardy
  • Script supervisor: Donna Gardon
  • Set decorator: Elizabeth Calderhead
  • Costume designer: Joyce Schure
  • Property master: Alan Doucette
  • Make-up: Leslie Dumbleton
  • Hairstylist: Etheline Joseph
  • Camera operator: Ludek Bogner
  • Sound recordist: Bryan Day
  • Re-recording engineer: Steve Foster
  • Gaffer: Michael Forrester
  • 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: Bryan Renfro
  • Special effects by: Brock Jolliffe
  • Casting: Susan Forrest and Sharon Forrest
  • Production accountant: Kelly Decooman
  • Scholastic financial executive: Diane Vilagi
  • Production associate: Tessa Abdull
  • Production services provided by: Protocol Entertainment Inc.
  • Special thanks to: Dome Audio Video & Effects, The Lab

Home media[]


"The Winter of Red Snow" on VHS

"The Winter of Red Snow" was released on home video around 1999 or 2000.[3] It is now available for purchase on certain streaming services.

Back of tape description:
"When General George Washington's troop first set up camp near Abigail Stewart's home, Abby believes war is exciting and glamorous. Abby works at Washington's headquarters, where she finds a special friend in Martha Washington, the future first lady. But during the long winter Abby sees for herself the hardships of war, as soldiers are starving, wounded, or dying. Abby must summon a newfound strength to help the soldiers and their loved ones carry on."

Differences from book[]

  • Several major and minor characters are omitted, including Elisabeth Stewart, John Stewart, Mrs. Hewes, and Lucy Smith.
  • Tom Fitzgerald is mentioned though he does not appear.
  • Most of Abigail Stewart's personality and actions in the film are from Elisabeth, including her giving Pierre a coat that later ends up on the dog.
  • Sally Stewart is a bit older than she is in the book, while some of her personality also seems to be derived from the book version of Abigail.
  • Helen Kern gives birth soon after moving in with the Stewarts and has a son, instead of girl.
  • In the film, Abigail does not meet George Washington until the army leaves.

Behind the scenes[]



From the Dear America website (August 2000)


See also[]

External links[]