Ken Tucker
March 04, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

One part Dr. Quinn, one part Waltons, and yet somehow all malarkey, one more mountain (ABC, March 6, 9-11 p.m.) is the supposedly heartwarming tale of a 19th-century pioneer family that survived a harrowing wagon-train move to California. Based on the famous Donner Party expedition, One More Mountain stars Meredith Baxter as Margaret Reed, who, along with her four children, endures harsh winter cold and scant food (the Reeds avoid, however, the cannibalism that became the most notorious fact of the Donner expedition). There are also the absurd mood swings of her husband, James (Chris Cooper of Matewan). At one point, convinced their wagon load needs to be lightened, he starts smashing the family’s china, throwing out their clothes, and wrecking their pump organ. There’s no point to the scene-until then, James has been the calmest of fellows-other than to inject the false drama of frantic screams and sobbing from his wife and kids. Mountain is a Disney Films Presents production, and as with so much Disney TV, there’s a peculiar tidiness in even the messiest moments in history. The stalwart Baxter, grappling nobly with lines like ”Am I not allowed my fear, James?,” rarely has a blond hair out of place; her travails are occasionally symbolized by an artfully placed smudge of dirt on a cheek. Lacking vim or verisimilitude, Mountain is a molehill. Inadvertent Giggle Dept.: Larry Drake-L.A. Law’s Benny-struggles with both a beard and an Irish accent as a fellow emigrant. D

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