Anne is the young love interest for Gabriel Martin. She and her family help supply the movie with a perspective of the war from the people who remained at their homes and businesses, while supporting the Patriots. Her publicly reproaching the men of her town in church strained the credibility of her character. Women of the time, especially in the rural, heavily Christian communities, were expected to defer to the men. Her outburst being in church is even more out of place, but not completely unheard of even in that time.
Anne's presence helps keep hope alive for a relatively happy ending for the Martin family. That is, until she is killed when the entire population of Pembroke is locked in the church, which is then ordered burned by Colonel William Tavington. In an earlier version of the script, she was with child, which would have heightened the emotion for Gabriel even more in his quest for revenge.
Her romance with Gabriel is the subject of some ribald jokes in the movie, some of which were too contemporary ("Oh, write her"...instead of "ride her" as her hard-of-hearing father thought he heard) or out of place in the setting in which the family lived. However, her presence and portrayal as a rather modern woman helped the audience connect with the film.
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