The Light In The Forest 

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

The Light In The Forest (1958 Movie)

“The Light in the Forest” is a 1958 American adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is based on the novel of the same name by Conrad Richter. The film is set in the 1760s during the early days of the American colonies and revolves around the theme of cultural identity and belonging.

The story follows a young white boy named Johnny Butler (played by James MacArthur), who was kidnapped and raised by the Lenni Lenape Native American tribe. As he grows older, he becomes torn between his Native American upbringing and his European heritage. When he is forced to return to his birth family, he struggles to fit in with the white settlers and faces challenges in reconciling his two identities.

The film explores themes of prejudice, identity, and the clash of cultures, offering a thought-provoking perspective on the complexities of colonial history and its impact on individuals. It also depicts the hardships faced by Native Americans during the European colonization of America.

“The Light in the Forest” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its performances and themes, while others found fault with its portrayal of Native American culture. Despite the mixed reception, the film remains a noteworthy part of Disney’s live-action film catalog and continues to be appreciated for its exploration of deeper themes beyond its adventure storyline.

The film’s themes of self-discovery and cultural identity make it a thought-provoking watch, encouraging viewers to contemplate the complexities of history and the importance of understanding and accepting diverse cultures.

Additional Details

  • Movie Studio:
  • Year Released:
  • Type of Movie: Live-Action
  • Box Office: na
  • Awards: NA
  • IMDB Link


  • Fess Parker: Del Hardy
  • Wendell Corey: Wilse Owens
  • Joanne Dru: Milly Elder
  • James MacArthur: Johnny Butler/True Son
  • Jessica Tandy: Myra Butler
  • John McIntire: John Elder
  • Joseph Calleia: Chief Cuyloga
  • Carol Lynley: Shenandoe
  • Rafael Campos: Half Arrow
  • Frank Ferguson: Harry Butler
  • Dean Fredericks: Niskitoon
  • Marian Seldes: Kate Owens
  • Stephen Bekassy: Col. Henry Bouquet
  • Sam Buffington: George Owens


  • Director: Herschel Daugherty
  • Producer: Walt Disney
  • Writer: Conrad Richter and Lawrence Watkin
  • Music: Paul Smith and Franklyn Marks

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and