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An unimaginative, unfocused, but otherwise competent story of survival in the wilderness. Jim Regan has been hired by shifty, cost-cutting Jack Laird to fly a rebuilt twin-engine plane up the California Sierras for delivery to a buyer. What Jim doesn't know is that Jack has sabotaged the plane so that it will crash (a half million in insurance will save Jack's flagging company). Jim indeed crashes, skidding down a high, frozen lake into some trees after the watered gasoline kills his engines. The radio's also dead. But an addled, elderly Indian woman, Charity Wildflower, who lives alone in the mountains and mourns her lover lost over 55 years ago in an auto wreck, finds the injured pilot (she thinks he's her dead lover) and nurses him through a blizzard. Meanwhile, back in civilization, we follow the agonies of Jim's medical-student wife Ann, the failure of search parties, the working-out of deals between Jack and a needy playboy-gambler to lock in the insurance, and the discovery by a mechanic of the telltale traces of Laird's misdeeds on the plane. All this routine filler (populated mostly by cardboard characters) unfortunately draws too much attention away from Jim himself--who's finally left totally alone when Charity goes across the mountain to find help and dies. Passable action/melodrama, with not enough focus on the familiar but always reliable man-against-the-elements material.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1980
Publisher: McGraw-Hill