Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thousand Pieces of Gold Features Feisty Female from China Making Her Way in the American West

I had no idea this was based on a true story and a book with the same title penned by Ruthanne Lum McCunn. It only crossed my radar at all because it was recommended to me on Amazon Prime.
Thousand Pieces of Gold Movie Poster (11 x 17)Released in 1991, this is a gem that is still worth watching today. It follows the story of Lalu as her family falls on hard times in 1880 China, forcing her father to hand her over one day to a slave trader/wife seller, who then sends her off to gold-mining San Francisco where she's purchased and then taken to a saloon in Oregon.
It's there that things go from bad to worse. Her "owner" Hong King uses her badly and plans to sell her to the rest of the town, but a man named Charlie says he won't have slavery on his property. This made me think. The woman has been enslaved longer than anybody, haven't we? Almost twenty years after the battle against slavery was fought and won, women were still being enslaved, bought and sold, raped and beaten.
Image result for thousand pieces of gold
She brandishes a knife more than once to keep an unwanted "customer" at bay and refuses to lie down for any man but her "husband" Hong King, even though she loathes him. 

Circumstances finally take her away from the awful Hong King and when presented with the opportunity, Lalu immediately attempts to make her own path in the American west whether by taking in laundry or running a little boarding house of sorts. I laughed out loud and with glee when Lalu brandished a knife at the breakfast table. "You don't like my pancakes?"

We also see the hostility and deportation of the Chinese in Oregon. And romance lovers will not be disappointed either.

Long story short, this is not a woman who sits back and accepts whatever crap fate hands her. She makes her own fate, against all odds. Def a historical western movie worth watching. I thought the story, acting, settings were all marvelous. I'd watch this again.

1 comment: