The Elizabeth Smart Story

The Elizabeth Smart Story is a 2003 American made-for-television crime drama film about the high-profile Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case. It was broadcast less than eight months after her recovery. It was based on the book Bringing Elizabeth Home written by her parents, Ed and Lois Smart.[1]

The Elizabeth Smart Story
Written byNancey Silvers
Directed byBobby Roth
StarringDylan Baker
Lindsay Frost
Amber Marshall
Hannah Lochner
Tyler Kyte
Tom Everett
Hollis McLaren
Theme music composerChristopher Franke
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersPeter Sadowski
Randy Sutter
Running time120 minutes
Original networkCBS
Original releaseNovember 9, 2003 (2003-11-09)


Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart is part of a large and loving Mormon family. Her father Ed hires a handyman, a self-styled prophet named Immanuel, to help him with a remodeling job.

Months later, Immanuel returns and kidnaps Elizabeth one night at knifepoint. Her sister, Mary Katherine, who is in the bed with her, is too terrified to immediately tell her parents.

Once she does, a massive police investigation begins. The Smarts are angered when the investigation questions whether any family members are involved in Elizabeth’s disappearance. A massive search effort begins and the story causes a media frenzy. After a false news story that the police suspect a family member, Ed takes and passes a polygraph test.

Richard Ricci, who worked for the Smarts until he was fired when jewelry went missing, is arrested for a parole violation and the police suspect his involvement in Elizabeth's disappearance.

Immanuel subsequently tries to kidnap one of Elizabeth's cousins, but is unsuccessful.

The Smarts learn Ricci has had an aneurysm and is now brain dead.

After this, Elizabeth's mother gives up hope, the story fades into the background and the police stop looking for Elizabeth.

At one point, Mary Katherine realizes that it was Immanuel who took Elizabeth, but the police do not pursue this lead. Ed appears on the TV show America's Most Wanted and tells host John Walsh in confidence about this new information.

When Walsh reveals it on Larry King Live, the Smarts publish a sketch of Immanuel, who is later identified as Brian David Mitchell.

After having taken her to San Diego, Mitchell returns to Salt Lake City with his wife Wanda Ilene Barzee and Elizabeth. When the police accidentally come across the three of them and question them, Elizabeth identifies herself, resulting in Mitchell's arrest and Elizabeth's reunion with her family.

A postscript revealed that Wanda Ilene Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After being deemed fit to stand trial, Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Elizabeth and her father later establish The Elizabeth Smart Foundation.



Three of the film's stars were nominated for 2004 Young Artist Awards. Amber Marshall was nominated for the Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Leading Young Actress. Hannah Lochner was nominated for the Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Supporting Young Actress. Jacob Kraemer was nominated for the Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Supporting Young Actor.


  1. ^ Smart, Ed; Smart, Lois (2003). Bringing Elizabeth Home. with Laura Morton. Doubleday Books. pp. 215. ISBN 0385512147.