- “The spirit of the Wild West lives on.”
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 animated film that was released by DreamWorks Pictures. It follows the adventures of a young Mustang stallion with a spirit that won't give up as he struggles for his freedom.
PlotThe beginning of the film features a bald eagle gliding over the homeland of mustangs (wild horses), which resembles several of the USA's National Parks. A mustang mare gives birth to a colt and he grows up to become the stallion leader of the herd (Matt Damon provides the stallion's narrations). One day, the stallion rescues two foals from getting killed by a mountain lion and the herd is grateful.
One night, the stallion notices something unusual in the distance and decides to check it out. He comes across a group of humans and their horses, camping in the forest. The stallion has never seen humans before and when he sticks his nose in a boot, he throws it off, which lands on one of the campers, awakening him. He awakes his comrade and they tend to capture the stallion. However, the stallion runs off and the humans follow pursuit on their horses. The stallion leads his herd to safety and runs off to lead the riders in another direction. Unfortunately, the stallion gets captured and is taken to a US army cavalry fort in the desert.
The ruthless Colonel decides to break the wild stallion, but this proves to be harder for the soldiers, as the stallion easily bucks them off his back. The Colonel orders that the stallion is tied to a post with no food or water for three days. The next day, a Lakota native is captured and is tied to a post next to the stallion. The Lakota is called Little Creek and later in the night, one of his comrades throws a knife to him to help him escape.
That morning, the Colonel decides to break the stallion. The stallion tries his best to buck him off, but cannot due to starvation and dehydration, and the Colonel believes he broke the wild horse. However, the stallion tries again to buck him off, and succeeds, breaking the fence in the process. The army horses give whinnies as if cheering to the stallion. The Colonel decides to kill the stallion, but Little Creek cuts free and saves the horse. The stallion, with Little Creek hanging onto his neck, break free from the fort, along with the army horses. Then, a paint mare comes with Little Creek's friends and they rope the stallion, taking him back to their tribe.
Little Creek decides to break the stallion himself, but the wild horse still refuses to be ridden. Little Creek then ties a rope around the stallion, connecting with the paint mare, Rain. The mare shows the stallion the Lakota tribe and they soon fall in love. However, the stallion is homesick but does not want to leave Rain. Little Creek decides to let the stallion go. The stallion wants to take Rain back to his herd, but then, they hear a noise and discover the US cavalry, attacking the Lakota tribe. Rain heads off to find Little Creek but is shot by the Colonel and she falls into the river. The stallion rushes and knocks the Colonel off his horse, preventing him from shooting Little Creek. The stallion hurries to save Rain, but the two plummet over a waterfall. The stallion stays by Rain's side throughout the night, but some cavalry scouts discover the two and rope the stallion. They leave Rain behind, believing she will die, and the stallion is taken away. Little Creek comes to his mare's aid and sees the stallion being taken to a train station.
The stallion is loaded into a box car with some of the Lakota's horses, but he is heartbroken over the loss of Rain. During the trip, the stallion sees the apparitions of his herd, and he joins with the other horses. The train arrives at the Transcontinental Railroad work site, where the stallion and numerous other horses are put to work in pulling a steam engine over a mountain. Once the stallion reaches the top, he realizes that the railroad is heading towards his homeland and he stops, causing the other horses to stop. He then pretends to be sick and collapses. When he is taken away, he frees himself and kicks the chains that hold the horses to the engine, freeing them. However, the engine starts to tumble and the stallion hurries off back to the work site. The engine crashes and an explosion rips through the work site. The explosion causes a forest fire and the stallion rushes to safety. The chain around his neck gets caught in a stump, but Little Creek arrives and frees him.
The next morning, the stallion and Little Creek play in the brook, rekindling their friendship. Then, a group of cavalrymen, including the Colonel discover the two and chase after them. The stallion rescues Little Creek by pushing him on his back and they rush into a canyon. A climatic chase scene ensues on winding rock passages where the two again outsmart the cavalry. However, they become trapped atop a rock tower and the stallion walks to the end. Little Creek realizes that the stallion plans to jump to the other side of the canyon. The stallion then makes the incredible "leap of faith" over the canyon and they safely make it to the other side. The Colonel is amazed and decides to let the two go and leaves. The stallion lets Little Creek ride on him and they return to the Lakota camp.
The stallion discovers that Rain is actually alive and the two rejoice over their reunion. Little Creek bids farewell to Rain and to the stallion, who is given the name, "Spirit-Who-Could-Not-Be-Broken". Spirit and Rain return to the herd and they celebrate his return. The last scene features Spirit and Rain on a hill, overlooking the herd as they graze.
- Matt Damon as the voice of Spirit
- James Cromwell as the voice of The Colonel
- Daniel Studi as the voice of Little Creek
- Chopper Bernet as the voice of Sgt. Adams
- Jeff LeBeau as the voice of Murphy, Railroad Foreman
- Richard McGonagle as the voice of Bill
- Matt Levin as the voice of Joe
- Robert Cait as the voice of Jake
- Charles Napier as the voice of Roy
- Zahn McClarnon as the voice of Little Creek's Friend
- Michael Horse as the voice of Little Creek's Friend
- Donald Fullilove as the voice of Train Pull Foreman
- The second DreamWorks title to be rated G by the MPAA film after Chicken Run.
- This will be the first DreamWorks Animation film to be produced in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; all of that company's previous films were produced in 1.85:1.