Tracy Leininger Craven wrote Alone Yet Not Alone about the two sisters, Barbara and Regina, who reveal a different side of American colonization than most have heard. Forcibly removed from a Pennsylvania settlement of German refugees in the mid-1700s, the two sisters find themselves abducted by Delaware Indians in the midst of the French and Indian War. Holding onto hope from their family hymn, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the sisters prove that faith stands the fiercest tests.
The film seems timely now, set against a backdrop of our ever-changing religious landscapes and the dangers of abduction by ISIS. The problems faced here are similar to what we might expect from “Stockholm Syndrome”: what decisions we make are too often impacted by our immediate surroundings and impulses, positive or negative. But in the film (based on the true story), the decisions made are based on the teaching that the girls received from their father at an early age.
The film itself definitely falls into “period piece” or historical fiction narrative, but the faith elements are up front and integral to what happens. Even with the growing anxiety caused by the tension between the British and the Indians, the Leininger’s father tells the girls early on that God will never abandon them. And the girls work to not abandon each other.
Much time passes between their initial abduction and the close of the story. For history buffs who have heard or seen stories about the ways that white settlers kidnapped Native Americans (like Pocahontas), this story shows that the reverse was also true. Barbara (Kelly Greyson, Return to the Hiding Place) turns into a young woman before our eyes, holding onto her faith but gradually seeing the light of escape dim. [Jenny Gotzon co-stars as Lydia. Joni Eareckson Tada performed the title track on the soundtrack, which may have helped the story gain wider acclaim - the track was momentarily submitted as a potential candidate for the Academy Award’s Best Original Song.]
But however hopeless this story might seem, it shares the good news that God is present even in the midst of the troubles. Barbara ministers to her would-be captor husband; she holds her faith as her own light but also as a light to him. Easier decisions might be made and roads might be chosen that would have provided her more safety, but Barbara chooses a tougher, deeper road. And in the end, that path is the one she was always called to take.