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Richard Ian Cox,
"Thunderhead," a roving, big white stallion, causes problems for the Wyoming ranchers when he leads their blue-blooded racing mares off to join his wild horse herd in the mountains. Escaping gunfire, he runs off one night with a young rancher;s mare, a possible winner of the Governor's Stake trotting race. The mare is recaptured and entered in the race against the horse owned by the father of the young rancher's sweetheart, and this puts a damper on their romance. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Peggy Cummins, adopting an amusing Irish burr, plays one of those dungaree dolls who are crazy about horses and the neighboring teenage boy, wearing her blonde hair in tight pigtails and taking a stern hand with her hard-drinking, rough-hewn grandpa as if she were in-training to be his wife. The script for this family film, based on Mary O'Hara's book--and sort of a second-cousin to her popular sagas "My Friend Flicka" and "Thunderhead, Son of Flicka"--is perfunctory without being exciting, and the movie is so well-scrubbed it's beatific. Narrator Burl Ives also appears, playing a guitar-strumming ranch-hand (he entertains at the teen-dance singing the totally inappropriate novelty, "I Wish I Were Single Again") and Charles Coburn is Cummins' grandfather, who blames a mythic wild horse from running off with his mares. Charles G. Clarke's picture-postcard photography was Oscar-nominated, and deservedly so: his rich Technicolor panoramas display beautiful blue skies and vast mountain terrain, handsome ranch houses nestled in the hills and even horses who seem satisfied. The climax at the sulky races isn't a crowd-pleaser, but the film may placate animal-lovers even though it's all been done before. **1/2 from ****
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