On a cold February night in 1846--the eve of the Saints' departure from Nauvoo--Eliza R. Snow must decide if to head west with the pioneers or return eastward to friends and family. Alone and fatigued, Eliza ruminates over her life and her discipleship, at times questioning her faith as it has been tested in the crucible of loneliness. This film version of the one-woman play A High and Glorious Place is introduced by black and white footage of playwright/actress Elizabeth Hansen discussing the work and Eliza's impact on her as an LDS woman.
This is Richard Dutcher's second feature film and Elizabeth Hansen's first. Dutcher had previously directed the romantic comedy Girl Crazy, which had been shown on HBO, and he undertook this picture as a coproduction between his fledgling company Zion Films and KBYU while attempting to raise funds for a larger theatrically-released film, the project that would eventually become God's Army. The idea for Eliza and I, therefore, was Dutcher's, as he wanted to adapt an LDS play and take it from a documentary of a stage performance to full verisimilitude.
The timing of the release was fortiutous as it came in 1997, a year devoted to pioneer remembrances. Despite this and a fairly quick release on VHS and DVD, Eliza and I is fairly unknown within Dutcher's corpus of work, undeservedly so as it compares well against his later, more publicized, work.