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80 Steps to Jonah

80 Steps to Jonah(1969)

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Drifter Mark Jonah Winters is arrested in Nevada after a stolen car in which he is a passenger crashes, killing hoodlum Jerry Taggart. Jonah claims that he was merely a hitchhiker but, fearing that he has no chance of establishing his innocence, he flees. Sleeping in a field, he is startled by Nina, a little blind girl. She introduces him to three other blind children, Kim, Little Joe, and Cathy, and they lead him to a camp for blind children. Here he meets Nonna, the housekeeper, and Tracy, the blind camp director. Mistaken for a handyman, Jonah wins the love of the children, for whom he feels a natural affinity as a result of his own orphaned childhood. Tracy, too, becomes attracted to Jonah, who forms his first close human attachments at the camp. Nonna recognizes Jonah's picture in a newspaper but refuses to turn him in. Meanwhile, Police Chief Barney Glover leads a determined pursuit. One night Jonah shoots a cougar that has attacked the children's pet lamb, but he accidentally wounds Kim. Relying on his army medical training, he mends Kim's broken leg. Finally, police recognize a bust of Jonah sculpted by Nonna and displayed in the Reno shop where it was taken to be fired; and Jonah is recaptured. By chance, drunkard Wilfred Bashford, who gave directions to Jonah just before he was picked up by Taggart on the night of the crash, sees Jonah at the police station and corroborates his story. Freed, Jonah returns to his friends at the camp.