Hallmark’s ‘When Calls the Heart’ is a popular romance drama series set in 1910. It follows a young woman named Elizabeth Thatcher, who leaves her privileged life in the city to teach children in a small mining town called Coal Valley (later known as Hope Valley). As time goes by, the town brings about many surprising changes in Elizabeth’s life as she finds love and new friends. The period drama relies on relatable aspects of human life. Moreover, the unique setting in a particular time period also makes one wonder if the storyline is rooted in reality. Well, let us put your doubts to rest!
Is When Calls the Heart a True Story?
‘When Calls the Heart’ is not based on a true story. The show is inspired by Janette Oke’s eponymous book from the ‘Canadian West series.’ Faith in God is a pivotal aspect of the author’s life that is reflected in her writings, which are mostly inspirational fiction. However, the series takes a slightly different route as this element is much more toned down in the screen adaptation. Conversion and religious elements are not a prominent feature of the show, which is something that helps it connect to an even larger group of people.
The biggest pull factor for the series seems to be the fact that it makes for an entertaining watch for viewers of all age groups. In several interviews, executive producers Brian Bird and Michael Landon Jr. emphasized that the idea behind making the series was to create wholesome and uplifting content that strengthens the value of family. They wanted to develop a show that spreads the message of love, hope, kindness, and a sense of community rather than one that revolves around sex or violence. Seeing it from that lens, Bird even referred to the Hallmark series as radical programming in a conversation in April 2015. He also stated that the goal was to share universal stories.
‘When Calls the Heart’ has often been compared to ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ which too has similar themes. You may find it interesting to know that Michael Landon Jr. is the son of Michael Landon, who not only appeared in the 1974 show as Charles Ingalls but served as a director and executive producer as well. Landon Jr. even spent a fair amount of time on the sets of the Western historical drama. Therefore, the show’s influence on this Hallmark drama is quite evident.
Despite being set in a particular era, the team behind the show often takes creative license. One such example is the historical inaccuracies in the costumes. This has drawn some criticism from people who were not happy that the characters do not dress in period-appropriate clothes. However, it turns out that it is because Hallmark did not want it to be that way. This was done to ensure some level of uniformity in aesthetics among all Hallmark productions.
Nevertheless, the female actors are supposedly required to wear corsets. In an interview in March 2014, lead actor Erin Krakow (Elizabeth) revealed that the corset helped her get in character as it tends to influence a person’s movements and posture. But all in all, ‘When Calls the Heart’ is a work of fiction with realistic characters that most people can identify with.