On September 4, 2021, Lucie Guest’s Love on the Wings of Eagles was released for the U.S. audience. This release of another Summer Nights premiere by Hallmark marks the tenth movie in this programming event. The 90-minute movie traces a wildlife biologist, Abby, played by Rhiannon Flash, who travels to remote Alaska and befriends a Native American family. She ends up receiving life advice from the family, and as fate would have it, also finds true love in Eric Hughes (Darrien Martin). Disclaimer-Lots of spoilers may be encountered here.
Abby Morgan is an Ornithologist at a wildlife conservatory called North Star Wildlife Institute. She works alongside her close friend Meaghan (Bethany Brown), and a bear tracker called Harry (Riun Garner). They are all under the leadership of Davis (Dan Payne). On the day that starts Abby’s remarkable journey, she is on a run with Meaghan when we get to know her feelings about love and marriage.
She had dumped a guy, Steven over a date on the previous Saturday night just because he wanted a commitment. As she puts it, “To me, a commitment means forever, I’m just not there yet”. She also tells Meaghan of this dream she has been having of her standing in an open field with dozens of eagles hovering over her in space. Meaghan makes a feeble attempt to explain it saying as sky rhymes with a guy, maybe she will meet her perfect guy soon. As the day progresses, we see Harry who has had a massive crush on Abby try to flirt with her but fails excruciatingly when he clumsily drops something to the floor with a clatter.
We are introduced to the character of Davis who is knowledgeable and as Meaghan later explains, spontaneous and with great instinct. He marvels at a picture Abby had taken of an eagle and here, the concept of eagles is explained. According to an article published by Alice Hughes in 1970, the bald eagle had become an endangered species. The article received a lot of publicity and congress had to act on that anonymously. Davis casually suggests that Abby should do research comparing the eagles’ census from 1970 to now, almost 50 years later. Abby sees this as an easy task as she is confident she can do it until the ground rules are laid – she is to do it on an offline level. This means she has to meet Alice Hughes personally.
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Feeling demotivated, she talks about it to Meaghan over a couple of cocktails and Meaghan encourages her telling her that it could be a good thing. With some positivity in mind, she flies to Seattle to meet with Alice. Alice is introduced as an amazing woman with a friendly personality and willingness to help. Abby asks what motivated Alice to do her piece and Alice tells the story. In 1971 her boyfriend Charlie had been commissioned in Vietnam and she heard about a place called Eagles Crest where dozens of eagles breed. When he didn’t make it home, she knew she had to get away. Abby receives help from Alice with three rules: she must not reveal the location to anyone [for protection of the eagles from public scrutiny], she should not publish her report without Alice’s approval in writing, and should use a tour guide.
Abby heads off to a motel called Lakeside Lodge near Fairbanks where Eileen Parks would introduce her to her guide and set her up with a tour guide. she meets this handsome native Called Eric and they don’t get off to a good start. She is checked in to a motel owned by Ellen Parks and her husband Niko. On tour to the lake the next day, she falls in love with the clear waters, beautiful scenery, and heartiness of the Dene people. At this point, she learns her tour guide Eric is Alice’s grandson. That evening during dinner hosted by Ellen, Abby realizes that the three do not think she can make the hike. Feeling pretty confident of herself, she takes them on that challenge and they plan to set off at dawn.
They reach a friendly camp amid their journey and Eric decides to teach Abby how to fish. His efforts do not go unrewarded as Abby catches a fish which they have for dinner at Ellen’s dad’s house. During the meal, Ellen’s dad learns of Abby’s dream and interprets it by telling Abby that eagles have the power of flight and if they are calling out to her they must have a reason for it. The next day, Abby and eric manage to reach the top of the Eagles crest and here Abby reveals that watching birds when she was a child at home before winter may have motivated her to her profession. They set camp that evening near a riverbank.
The next day Abby is motivated to search for Hidden Canyon is documented in the book Alice had given her. The journey is filled with friendly banter and teasing making it less dangerous and a little enjoyable. The next day, Abby and Eric finally discover the Canyon and it is indeed a magical place. Abby takes many pictures and they leave the place albeit unwillingly. As they return to their camping site, they encounter a bear and Eric bravely prevents it from attacking them. However, despite the fear of imminent death, Abby snaps a picture of it and sends it to her friend Meaghan.
The romance between Eric and Abby is deemed as love at first glance for as they exchange a kiss there, it is clear that the journey has not been just about eagles. As they return to the motel, devastating news awaits them. Apparently, Meaghan shared the photo with Harry who in turn published it. The photo had coordinates of the place and many people were calling about it. Eric is so disappointed that he leaves Abby stating she wanted to do this. Abby talks to Meaghan about it and Davis has Harry take down the picture. She advises Abby to do the report for her own sake and share her story even if it is with herself.
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Abby takes this advice and embarks on a long process of sifting through her notes, pictures, and documents writing a beautiful report which she mails to Alice. Declining an invitation to stay and relax by Ellen, Abby packs her bags and waits for a cab to take her home. Coincidentally, the cab that arrives delivers Alice who congratulates Abby on her report and gives her the blessing to proceed. Happy, Abby goes off to say goodbye to the lake, and it’s in that location that Eric finds her and confesses his love for her sealing it with a kiss. A beautiful ending for a beautiful story as a pair of eagles fly overhead.