What is your opinion of When Calls The Heart?

Challies posted a link to an article by The Gospel Coalition about Janette Oke and the TV series from her book titled When Calls the Heart. I used to watch WCTH for the first couple of seasons.

The Theology and True-Life Tragedy behind Hallmark’s Hit Show, "When Calls the Heart"

The television series features a pampered city woman who relocates to Alberta Canada in the early part of the 20th century to become a schoolteacher. Her love interest is a do-right Canadian Mountie. The series is based on Oke's books, developed by Michael Landon Jr, and presented on the Hallmark Channel. It stars Erin Krakow as the teacher, Daniel Lissing as the Mountie, Lori Loughlin and Jack Wagner. I remember Jack Wagner from my avid General Hospital-watching days. I love Lori Loughlin, especially the Hallmark Garage Sale Mysteries she stars in.

At the time I was watching When Calls the Heart I was also watching another Canadian show called Murdoch Mysteries that was set in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I became disappointed with Murdoch because of the overt preaching of feminism by the co-star to her TV-believing love interest (he is a Catholic). I abandoned the series even though I enjoyed the premise. In similar Hallmark Mysteries as Loughlin's Garage Sale Mysteries I found feminism present also, mostly in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and Murder She Baked movies. I stopped watching. Only Lori Loughlin's seemed to be largely absent of the bossy woman syndrome.

I felt that though less overt than Murdoch, WCTH, was also heading down the feminism road. Oke's novels are known for their plucky Pioneer heroines who survive against all odds, tragedies, and difficulties, carried by their faith. WCTH follows that same pattern. But there's a fine line between plucky pioneer survivor woman and bossy feminist.

Did I abandon When Calls The Heart too soon? Was I too sensitive about feminism? It's a stumbling block to me so I avoid even the aroma of it, having been raised as one and having mothers and sister and aunts that are feminists. I may be overly biased against it. I'd like your take on the series, since I don't have a truly objective perspective.

I abandoned When Calls the Heart for another reason, lol. The first season was lush and the scenery and cinematography was a feast for the eyes. The wardrobe was terrific and beautiful. The suits, coats, and dresses were absolutely gorgeous. However in the second season, they changed the wardrobe person and the clothing became anachronistic. Hallmark intentionally did this, seeking a less historical feel and 'blending' of modern. I don't know why. Maybe the expense. However, in my opinion they went too far and the clothing became too modern and did not match and 1910's setting. It drove me crazy, it absolutely did. My brain screamed every time they emerged from some house wearing 1950s-looking clothes. I couldn't take it.

I'm not alone in this opinion. There was even a petition to bring back a more historically accurate wardrobe in season 2 of When Calls The Heart.

Good, wholesome television is hard to come by these days. If I made a mistake giving up on the show, then I'd like to return to it. So, what do you ladies think of Janette Oke, her theology, and the TV series When Calls the Heart?


  1. Who cares about the pioneers, it's a boring show!

  2. I think you are right about the feminist nature of the show. I think this is the same in the books as I recall, having read them about three decades ago. It would be nice to have a period piece, with more accurate values and thinking of the time period. To see the past as it was, not how we romanticize it to have been.

    I find that the Biblical foundation to the books is nearly absent in the television series. Although, wonderfully surprised when a reference to God or to scripture arises within the storyline.

    Historically, I found that not just the hair, makeup and clothing are inaccurate but many other things. Probably, silly for me to mention, but I will. I will name some of my pet peaves:

    1) Too much kissing, especially in public and for the time period, this would have been scandalous, let alone inaccurate for the period. 2) The use of candles, luminaries and mason jars for the candles, etc. Too many, too costly, and too dangerous for the time to have so many. Simply ridiculous. Candles are romantic, yes. But enough said. 3) Sacarin sweet teacher. Unbelievable. No spankings, no standing in the corner, no dunce caps, etc. Definitely a romantic version of the truth of the era. The one mean teacher, wasn't really mean.[ ie. The worst thing he did was break the little girls pencil, again and again for her holding it improperly ] 4) Much more time would be spent in actual labor. There was dishes, laundry, soap making, cooking, canning, cleaning, chopping wood, collecting eggs, working in a garden, harvesting, milking a cow or goat, brushing a horse, mucking the stalls, etc, etc. The women would especially be weary if there was a coal mine, a lumber mill and a rail road going in. All men's jobs mostly. The women would be left to care for the home and children almost entirely themselves 5) Women most likely would not be mayor 6) Each persons wardrobe would be 10 times smaller. Little House on The Prarie demonstrated this right. The characters and the storyline moved the show along , not the wardrobe
    changes, lol. 7) You hardly see the chacters sweaty, dirty or hot. There was no air conditioning back then. And the women certainly wouldn't be wearing their hair down, especially in such a dirty environment as a frontier type town. 8) The saloon would be a rougher place. The respectable women of the town and their children certainly wouldn't be hanging out like it was a church social in it. 9) Everything is brand new and clean. I mean everything. Super unrealistic. 10) Back to the saloon... where are the saloon girls? Where are the rough and drunk men? Where are the normal old timey tunes and loud talking? Oh yeah, one episode of barely loud craziness, but the mayor shut down that, lol. 11) Decorations for parties, weddings and festivals look modern. Like they were trying to look old fashioned, but are too romantic looking and pretty for the period. Way over done. 12) Where are the out houses? Not even one for the school house? Indoor plumbing for a small town would not be common place yet 13) I am sure I could go on and on and find plenty more, but my hand is tiring.

    All in all, I like the show. I stopped watching for a while. Now I am back. There isn't much wholesome programming on television. I would love it if it was more accurate. Oh, well. Thankful for what we have. It definitely could be a lot worse.

    1. Just decided to go back and watch old episodes on Netflix. I remember now some of why I stopped watching. One example was in season 4 episode 1. (The Christmas episode)The character Elizabeth Thatcher wore an outfit at the end , that in those days would have been considered a floozy barmaid type outfit. (Saloon girl) It was sleeveless and had off the shoulder things draping down. She was supposed to be a respectable young lady, a school teacher. Then in Season 4 episode 2, they played baseball/stick ball and the little girls wore trousers(they would have been wearing their dresses or simply not played) and most of the little girls hair were worn down instead of in pigtails. Even common sence things aren't done here. Yes, like the critiques of many others, the clothes and hair are off. "Quite frankly", as their mayor would say, I won't let my children watch this show. It is like they are rewriting history into something completely different.
      It simply wasn't like that. Period pieces should be as accurate as possible. When many are telling you the inaccuracies, every effort should be made to make the necessary changes. The beauty and the simplicity of the time is lost. Much in WCTH is superfluous too the time. If money was an issue I find it hard to believe. They had much less in early 1900's. The people of today , I am sure, find it hard to relate. The whole point is to lesrn about the past and gain the lessons that brought us to today. The humanity of the characters is what should have been the focus not changing the clothes , hair and scenery into things that it wasn't, to do so is to change who they were then. Some of those values would be nice to return to. Other things we will look back and be thankful they have changed. But history is that...his story, mankind's story. We need to be careful what we teach our young, when we compromise the truth.


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