"Christmas in Canaan" is a Hallmark Original Movie starring Billy Ray Cyrus, based on a book of the same name by Grammy Award winner Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport. The movie about a family, friendship and civil rights is set in Canaan, Texas during the 1960s.
The sequel to "Christmas in Canaan" is Christmas Comes Home to Canaan on Hallmark Channel.
A wounded puppy bridges the racial divide between two young boys living on the eve of the Civil Rights Movement, leading to an unlikely, lifelong friendship.
Widower Daniel Burton (Cyrus) struggles with raising three children on a limited income. When his 10-year-old son, DJ (Zak Ludwig, “Martian Child”) makes an enemy of his black classmate, Rodney (Jaishon Fisher, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story”), Daniel is concerned and intervenes. He meets with Rodney’s grandmother, Miss Eunice (Candus Churchill, “The Andromeda Strain”) and they come up with a plan that forces the boys to spend a lot of time together, with the idea that they will mend their differences.
DJ and Rodney spend time at eachother's houses, as per the plan. It is slow going at first, but when the boys find a wounded puppy they bond together to help the dog and a friendship is finally formed.
The boys remain friends into their teenaged years. When Rodney's grandmother dies. Daniel asks Rodney (Matt Ward, “Lullaby For Pi”) to live with DJ (Jacob Blair, “2012”) and his family. The arrangement causes tensions in the community, where there are strong boundaries between black and white as the Civil Rights Movement gains momentum.
The cast of "Christmas in Canaan" includes Billy Ray Cyrus (Daniel Burton),Jaishon Fisher (Young Rodney),Zak Ludwig (Young DJ), Jessica McLeod (Young Sarah), Darien Provost (Young Bobby), Tom Heaton (Wylie), Matt Ward (Older Rodney); Jacob Blair (Older DJ) and (Raymond's mother Charlane Washington).
"Christmas in Canaan" premiered in 2009 and continues to air during Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas.