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Series / When Calls the Heart

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Yes, that is Aunt Becky. note 

When Calls the Heart is a 2014 Hallmark Channel series based on Janette Oke's Canadian West series. It stars Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher, Daniel Lissing as Jack Thornton, and Lori Loughlin as Abigail Stanton.

The show premiered on Hallmark as a two-hour pilot film in October 2013. That film featured Maggie Grace as Elizabeth, but the role was re-cast with Krakow when it was picked up as a series.

Set in 1910, Elizabeth Thatcher is a young teacher from an upper-class Canadian family who travels to Northwest Canada to teach the children of Coal Valley, a small mining town nestled in the mountains. There she meets handsome Jack Thornton, a constable of the Northwest Mounted Police (which later became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). The series follows their romance and the lives of the town's citizens.


Additional stars in later seasons include Kevin Mc Garry as Mountie Nathan Grant and Chris Mc Nally as saloon owner Lucas Bouchard.

In 2019, When Hope Calls, a spinoff centered around two sisters who start an orphanage in nearby Brookfield, began. It was picked up by GAC in 2021.

When Calls the Heart contains examples of:

  • Academic Athlete: Allie is shown as gifted at both.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job Elizabeth is described as a blond with red highlights in the book. In the TV series she is a brunette with red highlights.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Throughout the first four seasons, Mayor Henry Gowan doesn't seem to have a single good quality. Despite his wealth, he's always looking for ways to make more money, even if it means the mostly poor town residents have to suffer. He even spread lies about Elizabeth in an effort to have her lose her teaching position. But after karma catches up with him, it's hard not to feel a bit sorry for this man, who grew up in poverty and doesn't seem to have ever had anyone care about him.
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  • The Alcoholic: Wendell Bacchus, one of the few survivors of the mine explosion.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Elizabeth's younger sister Julie has a bad case of this, mostly because she Thinks Like a Romance Novel. The two men she's shown interest in are the outlaw Nate and ne'er-do-well Tom, both of which she has insisted are "misunderstood".
  • As the Good Book Says...: Said word for word by a conman pretending to be a preacher
  • The Barber: After losing her telephone operator job, Fiona decides to open a unisex hair salon. Naturally, the men in town are horrified, refusing to give her a try until their women force them to support their friend's new business.
  • Baseball Episode: In the Season 4 premiere, the schoolchildren are to play a game against one another in efforts to integrate the newcomers. The entire town shows up to watch.
  • Betty and Veronica: Best friends Elizabeth and Rosemary
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In one episode, Abigail brilliantly bitches out Florence when she overhears her gossiping about how the preacher was in her home after dark. All without raising her voice, and using three paraphrased quotes from the Bible to do so.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mountie Jack frequently shows up just in the nick of time.
  • Blind Black Guy: In this case, it's a blind black girl, Angela Canfield, whose family moves to Hope Valley in Season 8. Angela's mother Minnie later reveals that her daughter lost her sight as a toddler, when she contracted the measles and the white doctor refused to treat her.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Notably averted in Season One, when the show makes it no secret that it takes place in northwest Canada. Strongly present in subsequent seasons, when, with the exception of a Mountie as a character and Hamilton as a city, laws, political systems, locations, famous historical artists and inventors, newspapers, and cities are all American. There is even mention of the Mountie running for President, instead of Prime Minister, which is an incredibly jarring experience for Canadian viewers.
  • Canadian Western
  • Chastity Couple: All the courting couples. The show is set in 1910, after all.
    • When conveniently alone on several occasions, Jack and Elizabeth start kissing with great intensity, only to have the camera fade out. It's left up to viewers to decide just how much did or didn't happen afterward.
  • Christmas Episode: "Christmas", "The Christmas Wishing Tree", "The Greatest Christmas Blessing," "Home for Christmas"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Cat Montgomery is one of the first townies to be friendly to Elizabeth. After the first season, her character mysteriously vanishes - although her children are still seen at school.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Henry Gowen attends the Sunday gathering just like the rest of the town.
  • City Mouse: Rosemary, the flamboyant, enthusiastic actress from New York
  • Community-Threatening Construction: At one point, the townies fear that the railroad's expansion might hurt their small community; at another, it's the possible re-opening of the mine that once killed dozens of local men.
  • Company Town: When the show begins, everything centers largely upon the coal mine - the employer for most men in town and the reason most of the families initially came west.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: Billy Hamilton and Jack publicly competed for Elizabeth's affections. She wasn't amused. Later, Charles competes with Jack for Elizabeth.
    • After Jack's death, the new Mountie, Nathan, competes with saloon owner Lucas for the attentions of the widowed Elizabeth.
  • Compromising Memoirs: After Elizabeth publishes her experiences as a widowed mother on the Canadian frontier, everyone in town is eager to read it. Naturally quite a few townspeople mistakenly think she wrote about them, getting upset with her over supposedly negative or inaccurate depictions.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: One widow is suspected of burning down the town's church out of jealousy. Her son overhears her "friends" discussing how she's obviously guilty.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Henry Gowen, the series' main antagonist. As the seasons pass, however, various events show him beginning to change his ways and to seriously regret many of his past deeds.
  • Culture Clash: A huge plot point in season one with city girl Elizabeth and small town/frontier residents of Hope Valley. Lessened a bit in season two, as Elizabeth has seemed to have adjusted well, but it's still present.
  • Daddy's Girl: Though all of the Thatcher sisters can count, Elizabeth seems to be the one that her father focuses most of his attention on since Viola is engaged and he is at odds with Julie.
  • Damsel in Distress: Elizabeth, Rosemary, and Julie all get their turns.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Both Elizabeth and Julie
  • Dead Guy Junior: Elizabeth's son, Little Jack, is named for his father.
  • Disappeared Dad: The reason Nathan has been raising his niece Allie after his sister's death when the girl was four.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Heart of a Teacher", the whole episode's plot revolves around Elizabeth trying to clear her name and get her teaching job back. She confronts the superintendent of schools in Northern territories about it, who agrees to take back a letter he wrote to smear her name if she agrees to be with him romantically. After Elizabeth declines and the superintendent refuses to take the letter back, Abigail urges Elizabeth to see if the superintendent has approached any other school teachers in this way, as they could help her with clearing her name.
  • Drama Queen: Though it's been years since Rosemary worked as a professional actress, she does retain a tendency to dramatize...well, everything.
  • Estranged Soap Family: Brooke Shields guest stars as Jack's mother Charlotte in Season 3. However, the character never returns - not for her son's wedding, the birth of his child or even his funeral. And despite Elizabeth's visiting her family in Hamilton numerous times over the years, we never see her family after her wedding.
  • Everyone Can See It: Elizabeth's students frequently pester her about her relationship with Jack.
  • Fair Cop: Constable Jack Thornton of the Northwest Mounted Police
  • Family Versus Career: An ultra-rare male version for Jack. He got over it.
  • Feigning Healthiness: Bill, through most of Season 9
  • Fiery Redhead: Both Molly and Julie.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main two couples fit this perfectly: Rosemary Levaux Coulter (sanguine), Jack Thornton (melancholic), Elizabeth Thatcher Thornton (choleric), and Lee Coulter (phlegmatic).
    • Some other adult characters into all 4 roles as well, though there are a lot of melancholics in town: Abigail Stanton (phlegmatic), Bill Avery (melancholic/choleric blend), Henry Gowen (choleric/melancholic blend), Pastor Frank Hogan (melancholic), Dr. Carson Shepherd (melancholic), Florence Blakely (choleric), Dottie Ramsey (sanguine), Clara Stanton (melancholic/phlegmatic), Jesse Flynn (sanguine), Mollie Sullivan (melancholic), Cat Montgomery (phlegmatic/melancholic), Michael Hickam (melancholic), Julie Thatcher (sanguine), Tom Thornton (sanguine), Faith Carter (phlegmatic), Charles Kensington (melancholic), Shane Cantrell (melancholic), Ray Wyatt (choleric) AJ Foster (choleric/sanguine), Katie Yost (phlegmatic), Murphy McBride (sanguine), Ned Yost (sanguine).
    • These four personalities can be seen on a child's level too: Robert (sanguine), Cody Stanton (melancholic), Opal (sanguine/phlegmatic), Hattie (choleric), Harper (phlegmatic/melancholic), Phillip Cantrell (melancholic), Timmy Lawson (melancholic/phlegmatic), Emily Montgomery (sanguine), Gabe Montgomery (melancholic/choleric), Miles Montgomery(phlegmatic), James Fermont (sanguine/choleric).
    • Elizabeth's family: William (choleric), Grace (phlegmatic), Viola (melancholic), Elizabeth (choleric), and Julie (sanguine).
    • Jack's family: Charlotte (choleric), Jack (melancholic/phlegmatic), Tom (sanguine).
  • Free-Range Children: Considering this is a tiny community in the early 20th century, it's not too surprising that all the kids wander at will.
  • Friendless Background: Born to sharecroppers, the only thing Henry ever wanted in life was to be rich. Unfortunately, that tended to mean backstabbing a lot of people and hanging out with others bound to do the same to him. It's not until he hits rock bottom that he begins to see the value in friendship.
  • Frontier Doctor: Carson, later Faith
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Elizabeth's youngest student, Opal, loves her teddy bear Brownie and carries him everywhere she goes.
  • Give Me a Sign: Clara Stanton asked for a sign from God that she should testify in court.
  • Gossipy Hens: Everyone in town knows to watch what they tell Molly and Florence - and Rosemary's certainly got a nose for news as well. But really, almost everyone has their moments at some point. (To be fair, it wasn't as though a frontier town with a few dozen residents had a lot of excitement going on...)
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Lucas is quite fond of these. It takes a bit, but Elizabeth finally convinces him she doesn't need them. She's more about the little moments.
  • Happily Adopted: Cody and Becky; Allie
  • Happily Married: Against all odds, the wildly different personalities of Lee and Rosemary have resulted in a solid, loving marriage where each supports the other in all endeavors.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Hero Jack is interested in the redheaded Elizabeth
  • Honorary Uncle: Lee and Rosemary, Elizabeth's next-door neighbors, are such a close part of Little Jack's life as to be called "Uncle" and "Aunt".
  • Horseback Heroism: One of Jack's favorite ways of saving the day. (Bill is no slouch in this department, either.)
  • Hot Teacher: Elizabeth has no shortage of suitors.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Began slowly in season two, but as of season five, most of the episode titles excluding the Christmas specials have the word heart in them.
  • I Will Wait for You: Julie to Tom before he leaves Hamilton due to the fallout from the automobile accident.
  • Lady in Red: Rosemary, as much as a character from a show based on Christian romance novels can be.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Elizabeth's lessons often parallel the themes of the episode.
  • Library Episode: Considering the tiny community hadn't had a library until Lucas and Elizabeth got one started, it's only reasonable that everyone would be pretty excited about it.
  • Like Father, Like Son: When viewers meet Henry's long-estranged son Christopher, it's clear that despite being raised by a stepfather, Christopher exhibits many of Henry's negative tendencies. By then, Henry has gone through enough in life to try warning him before it's too late.
  • Local Hangout: Besides the saloon and Abigail's Cafe, there is literally nowhere else for people to socialize in town.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Suprisingly averted, considering the time period. None of Elizabeth's students seem to have more than one or two siblings. Several are only children.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Subverted. A student of Elizabeth's, Philip, initially fears his father does not love him because his mother died giving birth, but the truth is his father is distant because of working hard to provide for them. With Elizabeth's encouragement, Philip and his father mend their relationship.
  • Maternity Crisis: Elizabeth goes into labor on Christmas Eve, when she, Abigail and Rosemary go out of town and get caught in a snowstorm.
  • Meaningful Name: Wendell Bacchus, an alcoholic with the same name as the Greek God of wine.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Used very frequently throughout the series.
  • Model Couple: Essentially all of them are rather good-looking.
  • Monochrome Casting: The vast majority of the cast is white.
    • Subverted slightly as of season four. At least one black woman appears as an extra in the background for many scenes, and in one episode, the town's new welder is black. By season 6, there are numerous black townies, as well as a few Asians. In season 8, a black family - Joseph and Minnie Canfield, and their children Angela and Cooper - become regular characters. Season 9 brings an Asian character, Mei Sou.
  • Mustache Vandalism Rosemary does this at one point to a picture Jack drew of Elizabeth.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted. Despite the reality of the time period, the show features quite a few women with careers and businesses.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Elizabeth and Jack have one of these early in their relationship, before either even officially admitted being attracted to the other. Unfortunately Elizabeth notices a spider on her shoulder, causing her to panic and fling herself at Jack, nearly overturning the rowboat.
  • Old Flame: Rosemary to Jack
  • One-Steve Limit: Considering this show is set in the early 20th century, when names were usually simple and often biblical, it seems a little unusual that there are no two people in town with the same name.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: It isn't until Ned's wedding ceremony that the townspeople learn his actual name is Edwin.
  • Only Shop in Town: Ned's general store often serves as the backdrop for townies' interactions and various plot progressions.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: After escaping from an orphanage and hiding in the woods, Cody and Becky go through a number of ordeals. Ultimately, they are taken in by Abigail and Happily Adopted.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: In the pilot, it's revealed that many families in town lost men in the recent mine collapse. Abigail, however, lost two - both her husband and only son.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Almost from the time she first arrives in town, Elizabeth bonds with Abigail. Although Elizabeth has a mother, the little we see of her indicates that she doesn't have much in common with her daughter and certainly doesn't understand why she'd want to come to Hope Valley. Abigail, on the other hand, had a son, but he died a few months prior in the mine collapse.
    • Nathan has raised his niece Allie since age four. In Season 8, he officially adopts her.
  • Parent with New Paramour:
    • Ned's daughter Katie is less than thrilled when her father plans to marry Florence, though she soon makes her peace with it.
    • Allie gets to like Elizabeth so much, she is desperate for her and her uncle Nathan to get together, so they can all be a family. She goes through some matchmaker hijinks before both gently tell her it's not going to happen.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The 2018 Christmas special largely centers around the arrival of Grace Bennett and Lillian Walsh, two sisters and their young charges, on their way to nearby Brookfield and their new orphanage when their wagon breaks down near Hope Valley. This became When Hope Calls, a new drama that aired in 2019.
  • Put on a Bus: Abigail, when Lori Loughlin's arrest as part of a massive college cheating scandal forced producers to write her off by stating Abigail had to leave town suddenly to look after her sick mother. Unfortunately this meant the actor playing her young son also had to go.
  • Running Gag:
    • Elizabeth and her terrible cooking skills. (Yet in the books, Elizabeth cooks very well.)
    • Rosemary's past roles being the title character of the play, e.g. a chambermaid in The Chambermaid and a fortuneteller in The Fortuneteller.
  • Saloon Owner: Although the original was never a character, his successor Lucas becomes a love interest for Elizabeth, and one of the major forces behind most town activity.
  • Second Love: Elizabeth for Jack, Bill for Abigail, Lee for Rosemary, just to name a few.
  • Secret Diary: Viewers often hear Elizabeth's voice-over as she sits writing about events that occurred in the episode. This dovetails nicely with the memoir she writes in later seasons.
  • Sherlock Scan: A lighter version from Jack.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: James Brolin is introduced in the first season finale as Judge Jedidiah Black, has a badass Establishing Character Moment, and... is explained as having been written out in the season two premiere by Henry Gowen due to a snakebite.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Soon after the first telephones come to Hope Valley, Florence is hired as an operator. She gets so confused trying to connect calls, people find it quicker and easier to simply walk down the street and talk face to face.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: When the first telephones come to town, Elizabeth has her students experiment with this version.
  • Wedding Finale: Lee and Rosemary wed in the season three finale, "Prayers From The Heart".
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Nora's accent is occasionally New England, Western, Southern, and Midwestern. It is notably not Canadian in any discernible way.