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This film, made for television, and for an audience of children, was initially titled THE MEDICINE HAT STALLION, for its video release as ROUGH RIDER, and revolves about the newly organized Pony Express, immediately before the outbreak of hostilities that launched the War Between The States, with its plot focussing upon a 15 year old boy, Peter Lundy (Leif Garrett), who lives at his father's trading post in Nebraska Territory, including his adventures after he leaves his home to pledge loyalty to the fledgling mail delivery service. Young Peter yearns to break loose from beneath the control of his stern father Jethro (Mitchell Ryan), who operates the trading post on the North Platte River, and when an opportunity comes to be an Express rider, he takes it despite the disapproval of his sire. Peter has trained his own mount, an erstwhile Pawnee stallion he has named Domingo, and after he begins employment as a rider, the youth is propelled into manhood through a series of exploits. Based upon Marguerite Henry's novel for young readers, the work is filmed in New Mexico and benefits from some first-rate production values, in particular those pertinent to matters of historical research, and is photographed very effectively in Panavision; however, a torpid tone is maintained throughout and deployment of a small, illy conditioned crew of "Indian" extras is not useful. Although there are fine turns contributed by John Quade as the post blacksmith, Milo O'Shea as an eccentric surveyor and, notably, Ryan with a fascinating reading as the tormented senior Lundy, the affair flags whenever the androgynous Garrett is on screen, because he simply does not convince as a stalwart pioneer lad.
On the cusp of his teen idol years, Leif Garrett starred in this made
for television movie Peter Lundy And The Medicine Hat Stallion. If the
version I saw was what made television it was a badly edited film
because whole parts of the story were left out and you had to guess
what was missing. Still the film was nice family entertainment
capturing those years of pioneer settlement of the west just before the
I just did a review of the British film of the Henry Fielding novel Joseph Andrews when I noticed another reviewer wrote that Peter Firth was 'ludicrously pretty' in that film. If he thought that he should have seen Leif Garrett in Peter Lundy And The Medicine Hat Stallion. Both films came out the same year.
The film was quite a message to the gay youth of America. Leif Garrett during his time as teen idol had an androgynous appeal that was only exceeded in his time by Michael Jackson. As the film progresses, Garrett as Peter Lundy becomes positively more and more effeminate. As it is there's not a trace of any interest in the opposite sex. But that's what made it a 'family' film.
But this effeminate kid tames and trains a wild Indian pony hence the title, rides for the new Pony Express and shoots it out with a road agent. All with the most beautiful hair done up in both pony tail and adorable braided pigtails by the end of the film. With a face that looks like it will never see a razor. Garrett's just this side of an albino.
Of course after his teen idol years you can see a more realistic Leif Garrett in a film like The Outsiders where he plays the snobbish leader of the 'Socs' who meets an early end. The man's battled all kinds of substance abuse problems over the years and he still occasionally performs. Now when you see him in his forties, his head is shaved completely bald, maybe in rebellion against his teen image.
Still in Peter Lundy And The Medicine Hat Stallion it's the androgynous Leif Garrett we're viewing. He gets good support from Mitchell Ryan and Bibi Besch as his parents and Ann Doran as his grandmother with whom he lives on his father's trading post in the Nebraska territory. I can't believe the producer and director of this film did not know what they were doing in making Garrett up as he was.
Every twink and twink lover in America has a special place in his heart for this film.
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