Prancer is a sweet 1989 movie all about believing. Eight year old Jessica Riggs desperately needs something to believe in, especially now. Her mother has died, and she’s being raised by her father, a man who is struggling to make ends meet since his wife’s untimely death. He’s overwhelmed with the task of providing for his family and has no patience with her childish romanticism.
She overhears her father talking about sending her to live with her aunt’s family. Heartbroken, she runs into the woods and encounters a live reindeer. After her father finds her and is taking her back to the farm in his pickup, they nearly hit the same reindeer. When he sees it’s been wounded, he gets his gun, intending to put the deer out of its misery, only it runs away.
Jessica finds the reindeer again, and he lets her take him into the barn. She decides he is Prancer, one of Santa’s reindeer and sets about to secretly nurse him back to health. With unflagging determination, she enlists the aide of the local vet and asks shopping mall Santa to take a picture and a note to “the real Santa”, asking him to come get Prancer before Christmas Eve. He takes the picture and note to his friend, the editor of the local newspaper. Inspired by Jessica’s faith in the face of ever-increasing social cynicism, the man writes an editorial titled. “Yes, Santa, There Are Still Virginias”.
Her father finds out about Prancer when the reindeer lets the animals out of the barn, goes into the house, ate pies off the kitchen table, and breaks things. Townspeople begin to show up on his property, wanting to see Prancer. In anger, he gets his gun and is about to shoot him, when the local butcher offers to buy Prancer with the intentions of keeping him in an outdoor pen at his Christmas tree lot to use as a sales tool. Jessica is certain the butcher is going to kill Prancer, however, and is determined to rescue him. She tries to open Prancer’s cage from above by hanging from a tree branch, but she falls to the ground and injures her head.
Jessica recovers, but becomes despondent and hides in her room until her father comes to talk to her. He tells her times will probably be hard for a long time and says he could bear losing the farm, but not her, so he’s changed his mind about sending her away. He suggests they take Prancer out to a spot called Antler Ridge, the perfect place for Santa to pick him up. Once there, the reindeer runs out of their sight. They follow him up the ridge, where his tracks vanish at the edge of the cliff. Either he has fallen to his death, or flown. The faint sound of sleigh bells is heard, and a small streak of light is seen rising to meet Santa’s sleigh, which flies across the full moon towards the Riggs family farm.
The Riggs family live on an apple farm, so I’m certain those were apple pies Prancer ate. Here is a recipe guaranteed to make your mouth water. My mother-in-law used to make these for my husband. She always knew when he was home from school, because she heard the sound of the oven door and knew he was checking for fried pies.
Easy Fried Pies
6 medium apples
1 c. dark brown sugar
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
Mix ingrediants together and cover. Set in refrigerator while you prepare crust.
Separate 1 container canned biscuits. Sprinkle with flour and roll out flat. Spoon apple mixture into the center of each biscuit. Fold in half and pinch the edges shut. Sprinkle with sugar. Fry in an iron skillet in about ½ cup oil.
Great when served warm.