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In the early 1920s, in the desert near the Texas-Mexico border, Charley Eagle (Anthony Quinn), is Indian who owns a small, hardscrabble ranch and is training a horse, "Black Hope,". He thinks that the horse is capable of running in, and winning, the Kentucky Derby. Charley runs into a young Chinese boy, David Chung ('Ducky' Louie), whose father has been killed by a smuggling gang, while pretending to help him enter the United States illegally. Charlie takes the young boy back to his small ranch, where Charley and his wife, Sarah (Katherine DeMille) adopt him. His plans for "Black Hope" go awry but oil is discovered on his land and this intensifies his dreams that "Black Gold" (Highland Dale,) the colt of "Black Hope" can do what his sire couldn't do. The end frame of the film reads:"Suggested by the winning of the 1924 Kentucky Derby by the horse "Black Gold." Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Tony Quinn often wound up playing an Indian. In this film, a story based on a race horse saga, his wife at that time, Katherine DeMille played his wife. The setting is Oklahoma and Quinn plays an Indian who owns a remarkable race horse and takes in a young Chinese orphan who rides the horse to the winner's circle. I saw this film when I was a 10 year old kid. My old Irish mother was a fanatic on racehorses and knew much of the reported facts on the story of Black Gold, named for his color and a play on words on the discovery of oil on the land of Charley Eagle. The film is not too memorable with the exception of Quinn's character telling the oil men who come to drill on his land, "Look if you don't find anything, be sure and fill in any holes you dig so my horses won't break their legs." Now, there was a guy who had his priorities straight.
No DVD or video and not very likely one will appear real soon. Look for it on the late, late show sometime. It's good family viewing with a definite anti-racist message along with a bittersweet ending.
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