A teenage girl (Hank) tries to save a herd of wild horses from a local gang intending on capturing and selling them for dogmeat. Unfortunately the nearest Federal land where the horses will...
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A teenage girl (Hank) tries to save a herd of wild horses from a local gang intending on capturing and selling them for dogmeat. Unfortunately the nearest Federal land where the horses will be safe lies one hundred and fifty miles away, over badlands and a mountain range. Based on the novel "The Wild Horse Killers". Written by
David Carroll <email@example.com>
This is a pleasant and sincere family film for all ages, adapted from Mel Tillis' teen novel "The Wild Horse Killers". Some liberties have been taken with the
plot and characters to make the film more appealing to a wider audience -- for example, the main character "Hank" is named Sandra in the book and her
friend-in-need is an old prospector and not a handsome young rodeo cowboy --
but the general story of an 18 year old girl who singlehandedly rescues a herd of wild mustangs and takes them to a protected federal park is retained.
Linda Blair, more mature than in "The Excorsist", does a very decent job here and obviously does her own riding, at which she appears very accomplished. I
imagine she was just branching out into more adult parts at this time ('78). The move has a nice, understated feminist message as Hank acts independently
and is very capable and mature in her actions...she stands up to threatening
older men in a confident way, and can obviously ride (and shoot!) with the best of them. Her dad is played by the late Richard Crenna.
It is interesting to see how the romance is treated -- the young cowhand who
assists Hank, Charlie (played by a young Michael Wincott, with a soft speaking voice very unlike the familiar raspy voice the actor has as a grownup) is eager to earn the heroine's RESPECT and get to know her...not because of her
"sexiness" or stunning beauty, but because of hard won respect and admiration.( I would not mind seeing a bit more of that in mainstream adult films one of these days...and "Wild Horse Hank" is more than 25 years old...)
The horses and beautiful scenery will be enjoyed by any viewer of any age. The story is clear and simple and told without sappiness...and it presents an unusually nice feminist story for the kind of young girls who are likely to love horses anyhow.
I felt this compares favorably with "The Black Stallion Returns", the sequel to the magnificent "The Black Stallion". It lacks the majesty and visuals of "The Black Stallion", but like the sequel, it's still a pleasant and entertaining children's film with a healthy and positive message.
I should add this is long OUT OF PRINT, and what a pity. There are not a lot of good children's movies -- of the non-animated kind -- so why not have this out on DVD or on Nickelodeon where it can be enjoyed by a new generation of
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