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What Does A Parable, The Prodigal Son, and De Miller Have in Common?

                The parable of The Prodigal Son is, unquestionably, one of the most powerful stories in the Bible.  However, the title might be a little misleading to some not familiar with the story. While the story is about a son, or actually two sons, one good one bad, the main character is the father. The fairness, strength and faith of the father are the real message of the story. Of course, it represents the traits of God as He watches over all of us, but it has meaning for earthly fathers as well.

                In my story, The Long Ride, I have updated the parable and set it on a central Florida horse ranch. The first volume of the eight-part story is available now on Amazon. (http://goo.gl/moSYb) It introduces the background of the powerful Longhorn family, horse and cattle barons for five generations on their spread in North Dakota. The second volume will introduce the Mackenzie family, whose head, Luke Mackenzie, works for the tyrannical J.P. Longhorn. That segment should be available on Amazon and other popular sites by the end of this month.

                The story is actually based on the screenplay of the same name. It tells of Luke and his wife, Kelley, who are strong in their faith and very secure in their lives in the wide-open horse country of North Dakota. They are teaching their children, 17-year-old twin sons, Isaac and Jacob and their 11-year-old daughter, Aurora, the value of a Christian life. Things couldn’t be better. Then one night, Kelley is killed in an automobile accident on a slick county road during an unexpected early winter snow storm. As if that was not enough, during the storm, Luke loses several priced horses from the Longhorn stable.

Within a matter of days, the Mackenzie’s lives are turned upside down. Still dealing with the devastating loss of Kelley and now, with the stark reality of being fired for losing the horses also to the snow storm, the family travels to the small central Florida town of Mound City, Kelley’s childhood home, for the funeral. Although she has no family remaining in the town, Luke, comforted only by the material prosperity  of an insurance settlement, decides to stay in Florida and start his own horse ranch. With most of the remaining insurance money, he buys a dilapidated 40 acre former horse farm and settles in to rebuild the farm and start breeding horses again.  

Aurora and her brother, Isaac pitch-in to help, but Jacob resists. On the eve of the twins’ 18th birthday, Jacob announces he is leaving and demands his share of their mother’s insurance settlement. Reluctantly, Luke agrees and gives his son almost all the remaining cash. Jacob heads to Las Vegas to meet up with a friend to start a new life and new business venture on his own. The two young men, using Jacob’s easy-fortune, go on a wild frenzy of gambling, cavorting with loose women and ultimately squander all the money.  

In the meantime, Luke, with the aid of his other two children and their faith that God will restore everything, rebuild the horse ranch. The ranch becomes very successful and Luke is able to expand his stable of winning race horses. Jacob, on the other hand, finally hits rock bottom and is abandoned by his friends. Homeless and about to live on the street, he is befriended by a former lady of the night. She introduces him to God's grace through a well-worn old book entitled "You Can Always Go Home." Jacob is mesmerized by the teaching in the book, reads it cover to cover through the night and in the morning is buoyed by a new-found trust in God. He wants to return home. But will he find the waiting arms of his father? He has to make The Long Ride to find for himself if the parable is truth in the modern world.

                We anticipate completing the installment version of the book, by the time we actually start production on the movie version, which will be shot on location in Florida. The movie’s website is www.thelongridemovie.com , and all of our movie plans are at www.lazarusfilmworks.com.

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