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Spirit is born as a wild stallion in the West before the American settlement. He and his herd had complete freedom to run and live their lives as they pleased, surrounded by family.This all comes to an end for Spirit when men come to their home, capturing him as he leads them away from seeing his beloved family. He is brought to a U.S Cavalry camp, where he is treated brutishly in an attempt to “break” him and turn him into a military horse. A Native American, by the name of Little Creek, is also imprisoned there. Together, they escape their captors. Little Creek wants Spirit to stay with him and his tribe. Although he initially puts him in a fenced area, he is determined to let the horse know that he is different: he is a friend. Seeing how desperately the horse wants to leave in spite of his efforts, Little Creek makes a final effort with him by having his own horse, Rain, show him how good her life is with the tribe. When that, too, fails to convince Spirit, Little Creek agrees to let him go home. Just then, the tribe is attacked by the U.S. Cavalry, creating an unexpected friendship between the two ex-captives, as they team up to fight for their freedom.
As loved as horses are, many are not aware of their history in America. Not only were they used as a primary method of transportation before cars, but they also performed a lot of hard labor when the American railroads were first built. Seeing the world through the eyes of a wild horse in the Old West gives children a new perspective on the creatures. Kids can also see how to treat animals with respect, and make a friend for life, as opposed to merely seeing them as a piece of property. This heartwarming story has a very poignant message, but is still laced with humor that keeps the audience engaged. We watch a wild stallion from the day of his birth, and see him sacrifice himself out of love, instead of allowing the men to capture his family. The U.S Cavalry chose to forcefully capture and enslave not only the horses of the land, but they often captured Native Americans as well. This movie shows how you can befriend someone, and loyalty will encourage you to help each other. However, when someone is forced to do another’s bidding, they will most likely fight back rather than be of assistance. You have much better results when you work as a team, rather than as a ruler.
(If you have additional ideas on how this film can be used for educational purposes, please let us know in the comments below.)
Spirit: The story that I want to tell you cannot be found in a book. They say that the history of the west was written from the saddle of a horse, but it’s never been told from the heart of one. Not till now. I was born here, in this place that would come to be called the Old West. But, to my kind, the land was ageless. It had no beginning and no end, no boundary between earth and sky. Like the wind and the buffalo, we belonged here, we would always belong here. They say the mustang is the spirit of the West. Whether that west was won or lost in the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself, but the story I want to tell you is true. I was there and I remember. I remember the sun, the sky, and the wind calling my name in a time when we ran free. I’ll never forget the sound and the feeling of running together. The hoof beats were many, but our hearts were one.
Little Creek: I’m never going to ride you, am I? And no one ever should.
Spirit: I had been waiting so long to run free, but that goodbye was harder than I ever imagined. I’ll never forget that boy and how we won back our freedom together.
Little Creek: Take care of her… Spirit… who could not be broken.