St. Helens

"Dramatization of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens."

There is nothing that can force crusty Harry Truman to evacuate his mountain or convince geologist David Jackson to miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the eruption of a volcano. They both get their wish in the 1981 movie St. Helens. St. Helens chronicles the months leading up to the tragic 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens from the perspective of Truman (Art Carney) and Jackson (David Huffman). Truman, who operates a fishing lodge on Spirit Lake, has an undying love for the mountain. Jackson, who arrived in the town of Cougar to study the recent activity on St. Helens 12 miles to the south, falls in love with local waitress Linda Steele (Cassie Yates). But it is his love of the volcano that ultimately drives him.

The movie opens on March 20, 1980 with a major seismic event on St. Helens and Jackson quickly comes to Cougar to study the mountain. Local businessmen, including Clyde Whittaker (Albert Salmi), the owner of local inn and lumber company, are fearful that Jackson's presence and warnings of a possible volcanic eruption might drive tourists away from their small town.

The opposite actually turns out to be true as the community is mobbed by tourists and media. Local helicopter pilot Otis Kaylor (Ron O'Neal) does a thriving business flying tourists over the summit of Mount St. Helens and Truman becomes a local media celebrity.

By late April, though, it becomes obvious that St. Helens is about to erupt and the National Guard orders the locals to evacuate the area. Truman, who drives around in a vintage pink Cadillac he once bought for his now deceased wife, refuses to leave. Jackson sends Linda and her son to safety but stays on the mountain to witness the pending eruption.

On the morning of May 18, 1980, St. Helens finally erupts. Dramatic scenes of the eruption are captured on film. St. Helens explodes as Jackson, monitoring his instruments on the north face of the mountain, and Truman, out fishing on Spirit Lake, remains true to their passions to the end.

PG-13
| 1981 | 1 hr 30 min | 6.2/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Ernest Pintoff, Ernie Pintoff
Language
English
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St. Helens
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