Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Cannons of the Comstock by Brock and Bodie Thoene has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fifth book in the "Saga of the Sierras" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

In 1864, California is a mixture of Union supporters and Confederate sympathizers. Although Tom Dawson’s family is from Virginia, their sympathies are with the Union, and they are strongly opposed to slavery. After hearing of a Confederate secret society plot to seize control of California silver and gold mines, Tom infiltrates the group to supply information to the Union army.

As a spy, Tom is drawn into a dangerous game of deception that forces him to rely heavily on Mont James, a 9-year-old former slave. As Tom earns the trust of the leaders of the group and breaks up their plans to outfit a ship as a privateer, Mont is kidnapped and placed in an underground Chinese slavery ring. Later, after Mont escapes, he and Tom reunite to battle the Confederate sympathizers before someone escapes with the stolen gold shipments.

Christian Beliefs

While the main thrust of the book is the intrigue over the Confederate secret society, the authors do provide background on how churches split over the Civil War, even to the point of trying to out-sing each other during worship services. They describe the bitter feelings that divided congregations and neighbors as Christians tried to practice their faith. While a biblical text supporting slavery is used, in each scene this viewpoint loses to the biblical quotes that do not support slavery.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Although white and Chinese slaveholders play an important role in the story, they are depicted as evil.


The word n-gger is used a few times. Fight scenes include detailed descriptions of the attacks but are tame compared to what viewers may see on television or in movies.


The story details a mild romance between characters, but there is no kissing. A woman who is clearly viewed as having a bad character and being a Confederate sympathizer attempts a seduction.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Drugs: Opium and opium addicts are in some scenes, but the users are not portrayed in a positive light.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

15 and up


Brock Thoene, Bodie Thoene






Record Label



Bethany House Publishers


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!