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They've Taken Our Children: The Chowchilla Kidnapping (1993)

In a small California town, three young men decide to make money by hijacking a school bus full of children and demanding a ransom for the safe return of the kids.


Vern Gillum


Jack Baugh (book), Jefferson Morgan (book) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karl Malden ... Ed Ray
Tim Ransom ... Fred Woods
Travis Fine ... Rick Schoenfeld
Tom Hodges ... Jim Schoenfeld
Julie Harris ... Odessa Ray
Robert Zameroski Robert Zameroski ... Tim Pearson (as Bobby Zameroski)
Jonathan Hernandez ... Ricardo Alanzo
Debra Bluford Debra Bluford ... Mrs. Rogers
Kevin Brief ... Deputy Simpson
Brendan McCurdy Brendan McCurdy ... Peter Rogers
Ken Boehr Ken Boehr ... Jack Pearson
Cara Coffman Cara Coffman ... Sally Rogers
John Dunbar John Dunbar ... Deputy
Peggy Freisen Peggy Freisen ... Mrs. Clifford
Dick Solowicz Dick Solowicz ... Leroy Tatum


Three young men decide to make easy money by mass kidnapping. After careful preparations, they hijack the school bus and take 26 children and the driver as hostages. However, the bravery and the wit of the old driver could spoil their plan for the perfect crime. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


26 kids disappeared. The cops didn't have a clue. They thought the kids didn't have a prayer. They thought wrong.


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

1 March 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vanished Without a Trace See more »

Filming Locations:

Topeka, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Last film of Karl Malden. See more »


Camera does not flash when first photo of the getaway-vans' tire-tracks is taken. See more »


References Dirty Harry (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

A Chilling Production!
1 May 2007 | by SylSee all my reviews

A brilliant cast featuring Oscar Winner Karl Malden as a school bus driver who gets hijacked with the young students in rural California by three young criminals who plan a careful school bus hijacking but everything goes wrong no matter how well planned you orchestrate such a horrendous crime. The children and the bus driver played by Karl Malden are taken and held against their will despite the children's pleas, cries, and fear when they are placed in a dark, hot below ground in a secret location by the criminals. Suddenly, things start to go bad. I couldn't want too much more. I just kept thinking about the children being kidnapped and held for so long. It's based on a true story of an event in rural California in the 1970s.

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