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Determined Homesteader's Children

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Offspring of the Determined Homesteader and the Determined Homesteader's Wife. Homesteaders tended to have large families, resulting in Massive Numbered Siblings. They provided a future for the homestead (and when old enough could homestead adjacent territory to add to the family farm), were a handy source of free labor, and—let's face it—there wasn't much else to do on long winter nights. And they were often willing to take in foster children of relatives or neighbors.

Most visual media will go for smaller numbers of children, to save on budget, screen focus, and the difficulties of working with child actors. Even literary works often cut it down for the focus problem. This is usually Justified by having high child mortality, which was, in Real Life, what usually kept the count of children down.


Perhaps the most frequent use of the Determined Homesteaders Children in fiction is to have one befriend The Drifter, inducing the stranger to help the homesteaders against whatever hazard the farm is facing. They will also help with chores, sometimes leading to a plot complication when something goes wrong under their watch, or they make an error.


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    Fan Works 
  • The Discworld as envisaged by A.A. Pessimal provides a different example. Building on scattered hints of its existence in canon, the Discworld gets its South Africa, populated by hardy Boers and other emigrants from the Central Continent, who Trekked into the interior of a new continent to make homes there. Andreas Smith-Rhodes and his wife Agnetha Smith-Rhodes are typical examples of frontier homesteaders, and between them have five children, five sons and daughters-in-law, and a large number of grandchildren. Two of the daughters were determined to get the hells out and ended up in Ankh-Morpork. One stayed; the other found herself returning to Rimwards Howondaland to marry a landowner and work a bit of land far away from the frontier. A son with no great ambition to leave also, despite himself, emigrated to Ankh-Morpork. A young woman was involved in this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Little Joey Starrett in Shane befriends Shane. "Come back, Shane! Come back!"
  • The film versions of Vilhelm Moberg's Emigrants suite included seven of Karl Oskar and Kristina's eight children, leaving out the baby that died shortly after birth.

  • Laura Ingalls and her siblings from the Little House on the Prairie series, based on the author's real experiences as a homesteader's child.
  • Dorothy Gale of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the foster child of determined homesteaders in the original book.
  • Marty in Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series starts off pregnant with one kid and gets married to Clark partly because he wants her to look after his four-year-old, Missie. Over the course of the next few books, Marty has several children, and somewhere along the line, she ends up taking in two girls from a widower who's leaving town. And then just as her kids start having kids, Marty ends up having another girl (she's embarrassed to have a baby who'll be younger than the baby's nieces and nephews, but the kids think it's great). That's one big clan she's got going for her.
  • The Dear America series has multiple examples in books such as Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie and West to a Land of Plenty.
  • American Girl has the Swedish immigrant families in the Kirsten books.
  • John Steinbeck's The Leader of the People has this as the central conflict. What happens when the Determined Homesteaders Children grow up, with children of their own? Thanks to their parents' grit and determination in carving out a life for them, don't have to face the same hardships and may even become arrogant and dismissive of their sacrifices.
  • Karl Oskar and Kristina's children in The Emigrants.
  • The book Shane introduces Robert Macpherson Starrett; "Too much name for a boy. I make it Bob." The story is told as his grown-up recollections of the events of his childhood.
  • In Dark Life, Ty and his family are homesteaders under the sea.
  • Star Wars: Kenobi: Annileen Calwell, a Determined Widow and Shopkeeper, has two teenage children, Kallie and Jabe. Kallie inherited her mother's love of animals and has found a niche running the store's livery, while Jabe chafes at the life of a shopkeeper and runs off with Orrin Gault's kids any chance he can get.

  • The Trail to Oregon!: Parodied. While Son, a 7-year-old boy, is certainly determined, he's also The Ditz, as he tends to stick inappropriate things in his mouth and throw vital supplies off the back of the wagon when he's bored. Daughter, meanwhile, is a Bratty Teenage Daughter and less than enthused about the trek, wanting to run off with the first guy who woos her. note 

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls: Parodied in "The Time Traveller's Pig". When Dipper and Mabel accidentally travel back to the 1800s, they end up in a homesteader's wagon, where the father assumes his wife Fertilia suddenly had two more children. They already have six kids. Fertilia just takes it in stride.
    Fertilia: More little hands to render the tallow.