John Denver: Montana Christmas Skies

Christmas specials with John Denver have been a favorite holiday tradition with families for years. This 47-minute, 1991 CBS television special finds John Denver joined by friends Clint Black, Katy Mattea, and Patty Loveless on Montana’s Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Images of Denver on horseback, traversing the wide open plains and herding and roping cattle are interspersed with more intimate looks at Denver, Mattea, Black, Loveless, and other friends gathered for an old-fashioned sing-along in a rustic barn. The interaction between singers is warm and personal and lends a feeling of holiday warmth to powerful songs like “Christmas for Cowboys,” “Christ Child’s Lullaby,” and “Someday Soon.” The second half of the special offers a glimpse of Native American traditions, especially focusing on the children of the Fort Belknap Reservation, along with a live concert performance and additional performances in the barn. A children’s choir joins Denver in concert versions of fun Christmas songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells.” Especially moving is Denver’s delivery of the ballad “I Want to Live.” Denver’s ruminations about the changing demographics of the American family and his insights into friendships new and old, the beautiful plains of Montana, and his plea to reach out to others strike a sentimental chord and provide a Christmas message worth pondering through the years.

Run Time: 47

Rating: Not Rated

Year: 1996