Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice is a 1938 American film directed by Edward F. Cline starring child star Bobby Breen. A young Mennonite boy runs away from home to earn money for his widowed mother.


Tommy Martin (Bobby Breen) and his mother, Martha Martin (Dolores Costello) say goodbye to Henry and Reuben Johnson (John 'Dusty' King and Delmar Watson). After having stopped by the Mennonite farm, where Tommy and Martha stay with the William and Annie Decker (Robert Barrat and Dorothy Peterson), the Johnsons are headed back to their hometown of Goshen. That night over dinner, Tommy, Martha and the Decker's discuss the possibility of Tommy and Martha returning to their home in Kansas to work their farm, having fully recovered from the death of Mr. Marti. William Decker does not wish to allow them to return without the help of a man on the farm. Tommy suggests that Henry Johnson would be happy to assist. Mrs. Decker agrees that Henry had displayed affections for Martha while he was at the farm. It is decided that in order to get both Tommy and Martha home, $92 would be needed in order to pay the train fare home. To Martha's dismay, William writes Henry for the $92 if he wishes to marry Martha and send her home. Henry is to respond with a letter detailing his answer. William gives the letter to Tommy, who is to mail it when he is through with his chores. Instead, Tommy tears the letter up and does not send it.