Another in a long line of films dealing with the hardships of smallholdings in the sort of rural America usually depicted as containing nothing but corn silos and bigotry. This time, Gibson and Spacek battle against odds much the same as far as nature goes (floods from the river, rather than the conventional tornado), but different on the human front. The villain here is less the Government than the local land baron, who has expansionist schemes, a ploy which vitiates the film's point since the villain is no more than the hero writ larger. Moreover, the message of continuous hardship is somewhat at odds with the same impulse towards idyllic lyricism that Rydell brought to On Golden Pond. Vilmos Zsigmond contributes his usual handsome photography, but this is one river that seems unlikely to run. CPea.