Prancer movie matched with food from the Rigg’s kitchen

Starring Sam Elliot, Rebecca Harrell & Ariana Richards

Rating 7/10


– Eight-year-old Jessica Riggs (Harrell) is being raised with her brother, Steve (John Duda) by her sad old dad, John (Elliot) after her mum passed away.
– As Christmas approaches it’s clear that their apple farm is struggling and her aunt Sarah has come to stay to help around the house.
– One day Jess walks home with best bud Carol (Richards) when a fake Prancer falls onto the road from a large decoration hanging above.
– John decides to ship Jess off to Aunt Sarah’s house for good as he feels like he can’t parent her the way he wants to but she resists. Jess runs into the woods and encounters a real reindeer who she thinks is the real Prancer. Her dad picks her up in his car and they argue about moving to Jess’ auntie’s house. Then they see ‘Prancer’ on the road and they realise he’s injured. More arguments flare up as John goes for his rifle to put the poor creature out of its misery but when they turn around, the reindeer is gone! (Cue spooky music).
– In the middle of the night, Jessica finds ‘Prancer’ in her barn and then moves him to another shed so her dad won’t find him. She starts nursing him back to health and tracks down a vet whom she begs to fix Prancer. He does… eventually!
– Then she takes a photo of the reindeer and heads to the mall to show the fake Santa who promises to help her out. He takes it to his friend at the local paper.
– Jess decides she needs to make some money to pay for Prancer’s food so she heads over to the weird widow’s Mrs McFarland (Cloris Leachman) where she apologises for wrecking her rose bushes accidentally. She agrees, getting poor Jess to clean out all her cluttered rooms. But when Jessica finds lovely Christmas decorations in the attic, the widow’s cold, cold heart starts to melt as she rediscovers her love of Christmas.
– The newspaper publishes a story about Jess and the reindeer which causes the pastor to talk about Jess in his sermon.
– John misses the sermon and is about to read the article when Prancer wreaks havoc in the barn and the house. He once again grabs his gun to kill dear Prancer when the townsfolk turn up to see the reindeer. The local butcher offers to buy Prancer and John agrees.
– Jessica is livid, thinking the butcher’s going to serve venison to the whole town! But the lovely butcher has put him in a cage for everyone to admire. Steve follows Jess to the pen where they try and set Prancer free. But Jess falls down and hits her head.
– Depressed and despondent, Jess stays in bed while John’s frosty heart melts like the widow’s. He reads her a story her mum used to read when she was alive and tells her he has decided she can live at home and not with the dreaded aunt.
– They decide to take Prancer up the hill to set him free so Santa can find him. They do and the unexpected happens. Magic!


The poor old Riggs family is a-struggling! John grows apples and feels that all he can feed his family is apples: apple pie, apple butter, oh and apple cider! Yum! Let’s make some: Homemade Apple Cider from Camping Cafe.


One of the things I loved about this movie was it lacked Hollywood melodrama. It’s not a shiny, polished film but I reckon that’s what makes it so loveable. The main character is an annoying, awkward-looking girl with a wild imagination and a sense of adventure. She’s not the most beautiful, popular girl in school and I like that.

Sam Elliot is fantastic as the grieving dad. It’s a funny 80’s movie with loads of heart. There are perms, mullets and bad 80’s clothes abounding. It’s kinda B-grade but kinda great too. A real reindeer is used instead of the pathetic robot-type like in The Santa Clause movies.

Although nothing much happens, it’s an emotional journey that you’ll love. Daggy old Jess and her crazy, lovely town will warm the cockles of your heart. It’s a great movie to watch with your kids around this time of year. It’s about family, relationships and what’s really important in life. Love! Check it out!

Main meal:

The only meal the Riggs eat is a plate-full of comfort! We’re talking gravy, veggies and sausages. Although their dinner was pretty plain, I thought I’d use it as a base, a starting point, launching into something just a little bit more exciting… One Pot Sausage Stew recipe from

Prancer trivia:

  • Very little, I’m sorry to say! Does no one care about this movie? Or maybe it was a boring set. Anyhoo, here’s what I found…
  • The reindeer’s real name was Boo.
  • Box office: $18,587,135


How cute are these! Jessica lures Prancer out of the big barn with some Christmas cookies and what better Christmas sweet to bake than these?! Reindeer Gingerbread Cremes from



Christmas is just around the corner… are you excited?

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