|Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher and Daniel Lissing as Jack Thornton|
When Calls the Heart is an American-Canadian television drama series, inspired by Janette Oke's novel When Calls the Heart from her Canadian West series, and developed by Michael Landon, Jr. Oke's newest book, Where Courage Calls, is a companion story to the When Calls the Heart TV series. The series began airing on the Hallmark Channel in the United States on January 11, 2014, and on April 16, 2014 on Super Channel in Canada.
The series originally debuted as a two-hour television movie pilot in October 2013, starring Maggie Grace as young teacher Elizabeth Thatcher and Stephen Amell as Royal Canadian Mountie Wynn Delaney. In the television series, Erin Krakow is cast as her niece, whose name is also Elizabeth Thatcher, and Daniel Lissing plays a Royal Canadian Mountie named Jack Thornton, with Lori Loughlin reprising her role as coal mine widow Abigail Stanton. Season 2 premiered in the United States on Saturday, April 25, 2015.
When Calls the Heart tells the story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal mining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher's wealthy father has doomed the lawman's career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate's daughter. Living in a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, and her only son, along with a dozen other miners, have just been killed in an explosion, which turns out to be a tragic accident waiting to happen as a result of the mining company's site manager's irresponsible management and lack of duty of care. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and compile a wage for the town's teacher.
Season 2 has brought changes with many cast additions. The mine has been permanently closed and a lumberman has come to town to open a logging business and sawmill. Coal Valley has been renamed Hope Valley. A church and school are being built. Elizabeth Thatcher has gone home for a visit because of the illness of her mother.
The series, originally planned to be filmed in Colorado, is filmed south of Vancouver, British Columbia, on a farm field surrounded by vineyards. The fictional frontier town of Coal Valley was erected in the fall of 2013. Some of the set trimmings and a stage coach came from the Hell on Wheels set.
Filming of of the first season wrapped on February 22, 2014. Filming for season two started in November 2014. It was scheduled to premiere on the Hallmark Channel in the United States on April 4, 2015, but the Hallmark Channel moved the season premiere date back three weeks to April 25, 2015 because April 4, 2015 occurred on the busy Easter weekend.