They say 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 until now.
SPIRIT: Stallion of the Cimarron is the story about the young mustang Spirit, who became leader of the Cimarron herd afther his father, Strider. The story takes place on the wide plains and prairies of the American West in the late 1800s. Spirit is brave and strong, but also young and curious.
One day he sees a light in the distance. His mother Esperanza wants him to stay with the herd, but Spirit's curiousity is taking over control. He starts a journey to find out about the light. This will be his first encounter with humans. Not just humans, but wranglers. And it won't be his last journey
SPIRIT: Stallion of the Cimarron is an epic story of adventure, friendship and freedom.
Here you can read Spirit's story. Be aware that this text contains spoilers.
The story that I want to tell you cannot be found in a book. They say 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 in the buffalo grass 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 and the sky and the wind calling my name in a time when wild horses ran free.
Through the hills and on the prairies of the Old West galloped a free herd of wild mustangs. The sound of their hoofs echoed as a hymn of freedom. On a bright morning in Spring, the colt Spirit was born. Spirit was very curious and was fond of making new friends. He wanted to discover everything and went everywhere, even though it was dangerous sometimes. He loved to race with his friend the eagle, high in the air, even though he couldn't fly himself.
And so I grew up from colt to stallion as wild and reckless as thunder over the land, racing with the eagle, soaring with the wind. Flying? There were times I believed I could.
Like my father before me I became leader of the Cimarron herd and with that honour... Came responsibility.
Spirit grew up to be a strong and smart horse. When he was old enough, he became leader of the Cimarron herd, after his father. He was an adult now, but that didn't meant that he was less curious. One night, when the herd was asleep, Spirit saw a strange, golden glow in the distance. He wanted to discover it, but his mother wanted him to stay with the herd. But, curious as he was, he convinced his mother it would be alright, and began his journey.
Something new came upon the land one night - something that would change my life forever - and so, my journey began.
Spirit had never seen a campfire before. He found it in an open space in the forest and it was surrounded by Two-legged creatures. The strange thing was that they held horses - tied horses. The Two-leggeds looked asleep, so Spirit decided to discover the place. Without knowing, Spirit woke the Two-leggeds, who were wranglers. They saw the big, beautiful mustang stallion and knew they would get big money if they could catch him and sell him. So the chase began.
A wiser horse might have turned and run, but I wanted to know what strange creatures were here.
The wranglers mounted their horses and ran after Spirit. This was Spirit's Homeland, and he new it well. He was smart and got lost of the wranglers. Just then he realised they were heading towards the herd. Immediately he ran after the wranglers, got their attention and led them another way. He ran through small canyons and lost the wranglers again... But not all. He ran off, but didn't notice one of the wranglers below him. The Two-legged throw a lasso and caught Spirit. Spirit fell down and became furious. He wanted to attack the Two-legged, but at that moment the others threw their lassos around him as well. There was no way for him to escape. Above him, on top of the canyon, his mother and the herd appeared. He screamed at them, in terror; they had to go away, before the wranglers would see them. Hartbroken his mother took the herd away. They were safe now.
I was scared, and I didn't know what was going to happen to me, but at least my mother and the herd were safe.
There was no way to escape now. The wranglers took Spirit on a long, tiring journey, and eventually came by a big, wooden building; a fortress. It was crowded inside, with men and horses. It was the US cavalry. The wranglers sold Spirit to them and some cavalry men took Spirit from them. Spirit raged and got wild. The men holding him almost had to release him, but at that moment there was a shot. Before Spirit stood one of the cavalry man, but this one was different; he had a hat and Spirit noticed the men around him were affraid of him. The man, who was the colonel, held a smoking pistol. He came off his horse and walked toward Spirit. The colonel spoke some words towards his men and Spirit knew it; he didn't like this man at all.
I remember the first time I saw a rattler curled up in my path. This one didn't look like a rattler, but I was still thinking... Snake.
The colonel wanted Spirit to be tamed. The cavalry men put a saddle and a bridle on Spirit and tried to ride him one by one, but Spirit didn't let them; he threw them all off. After the last volunteer was thrown off, the colonel gave his men the order to put Spirit in the corral in the burning sun; for three days, without water or food. And there he stood, trying to get free, but it didn't work. There was nothing he could do.
My heart galloped through the skies that night, back to my herd, where I belonged, and I wondered if they missed me as much as I missed them.
On one of the days while Spirit stood in the corral, the cavalry men caught an intruder and took him to the colonel. The colonel ordered the men to tie him to the pole that was standing besides the corral. The prisoner was a young Lakota indian called Little Creek. He tried to get some contact with Spirit, but Spirit just turned his backside to him. Little Creek just laughed.
He was called Little Creek and he seemed different from the rest.
That night Spirit heard strange sounds from outside the fortress. He heard something flying through the air, and when he looked behind him, he saw that a knife landed in the ground besides Little Creek. The indian streched his leg and tried to get hold of it with his toes. At that moment the sound of trumpets where heard and suddenly all the soldiers were awake. The colonel had woken as well.
There was just no end to the strange ways of the Two-leggeds.
One sergeant was talking to the colonel, but the man was just looking at Spirit. He asked the sergeant how long the mustang had been tied in the corral, and when he heard the horse had been there for three days, he ordered to saddle him up. The colonel mounted Spirit rough and wasn't so easy to threw off as the other soldiers. Spirit tried everything, but got tired in the end. That was the moment the colonel thought the mustang was broken. There Spirit stood, shaking on his legs. The colonel sat down relaxed and let Spirit walk through the corral while he was talking to his men. But it didn't take long before Spirit had caught his breath. In a sudden movement he threw the colonel off his back. The man was furious and pointed a gun at his head.
Sometimes a horse has gotta do what a horse has gotta do. And this was one of those times.
At that moment Little Creek sprang forward; he had cut his ropes with the knife. He hit the colonel's arm so that the bullet, which the colonel just fired, missed Spirit. In that moment of chaos, Little Creek mounted Spirit and he galloped through the fortress. They freed some of the cavalry horses and ran through the gates, towards freedom.
I wasn't sure what happened back there and I wasn't about to stop and ask. All I knew was that I was headed home.
Just when Spirit thought he was free again, Little Creek whisled and not much later a beautiful paint mare galloped towards them. Spirit stopped when the mare stopped in front of him. Little Creek mounted the mare and two of his friends, also indians, rode behind Spirit. Before he knew what was going on, they threw their lassos around his neck. He was caught again.
I couldn't believe it. One moment I was free, and the next... More ropes.
The Lakota indians took Spirit to their village and put him in a corral. Spirit was too tired to do anything. Little Creek took the bridle off his head and left him. Spirit lay down and fell asleep. When he woke up, a tall pile of apples lay beside him. He ate some of them to get his strength back. Then he looked around and saw the paint mare grazing in the sun. He tried to impress her, but she wasn't interested. At that moment Little Creek appeared. He began to play with the paint mare, which was called Rain. Spirit looked confused.
I couldn't understand. She treated this scrawny To-legged like one of our kind, prancing around him like a love-struck yearling. It was downright unnatural.
That day Little Creek tried to mount Spirit. Spirit became furious, threw him off and chased him. But Rain jumped between him and Little Creek and neighed angrily at him. Spirit didn't understand why she was protecting the Two-legged.
Little Creek wanted Rain to show Spirit the village. He took a rope and put each end around the necks of the horses and opened the corral. Spirit galloped away immediately. Finally he felt the freedom again. But suddenly he was slowed and when he looked back, he saw Rain had stopped. He tried to run forward, but she didn't let him. He understood that she wouldn't let him run off, so he followed her back to the village.
Okay, I admit it, she was charming... In a stubborn, irritating kind of way. So, I let her show me her world.
Spirit had a wonderful time at the village. He fell in love with Rain and befriended Little Creek. But one day, when he and Rain were outside the village, he saw his Homeland in the distance. And, soaring through the air, he saw his old friend, the eagle. His heart felt broken. He loved Rain, but he really wanted his freedom back; he wanted to go home.
For the first time in my life, I felt my heart torn two ways.
Not much later, Little Creek tried to mount Spirit again. As always, Spirit wouldn't let him. At that moment the indian realised the mustang would never be tamed. He opened the fence of the corral and released the stallion.
I had to hand it to that boy - he just wouldn't give up.
Spirit got his freedom back. He ran to Rain immediately. He wanted to go home, but he wouldn't go without her. Rain wanted to follow him, but she couldn't leave Little Creek behind. There they stood, not knowing what to do. But at that moment they heard galloping horses in the distance and... Gun shots. When they looked to the other side of the village, they saw the US cavalry hurrying towards the village - including the colonel.
I knew this was hard for her and that she was scared, but more than anything I wanted to share my Homeland with her.
Spirit and Rain galloped to the village to help Little Creek and the other indians. The village was one big chaos. Little Creek mounted Rain and in the chaos Spirit lost them. But not much later he saw them besides the river, near the colonel - who was pointing his gun at them. As fast as he could, Spirit ran towards them and ran into the horse of the colonel. The shot of his gun was heard while he fell off his horse. Both Rain and Little Creek fell into the river. The indian got hold of a rock in the river, but Rain was carried away in the strong stream.Without hesitation Spirit ran along the river and jumped into it. He tried to get Rain out of it, but he was too late; they reached a waterfall and fell down.
Spirit got out of the water and searched for Rain. There she lay. She had a grazing shot at her shoulder and was too tired and wounded to stand up. Spirit ran towards her, got her head out of the water and lay beside her. He lay beside her all night long.
I lay beside her that night, hoping... Praying that somehow she would be okay.
But the cavalry wasn't finished yet. In the night some cavalry men were riding towards Spirit and Rain. They captured Spirit and lay Rain were she was, because she was too wounded to get up. They took Spirit to a big train where he and many other horses where put in a corral. There were some of the ponies from the Lakota village as well. All the horses, including Spirit, had to enter the train. It was a long journey, and although the indian ponies were with him, he felt lonlier then ever.
I didn't know why we were brought here. What I did know was we had to find a way to escape and get back home.
After a long journey they had to get out of the train. All what Spirit could see was a big locomotive, an unfinished train track and many horses. All the horses were put before the locomotive and had to drag it towards a hill. They had to work hard to get the locomotive in motion. Then, when they reached the top of the hill, Spirit saw what lied behind it; where they were heading to. It was his Homeland.
That was the moment I understood. They were headed to my Homeland, and I had to stop them.
For a moment he panicked, but then he knew what to do. He let himself fall to the ground, as if he was dead. Immediately there came some men running towards him. They loosend him from the other horses and tied a chain around his legs. A mule dragged him away from the horses. When they reached the locomotive, Spirit jumped up. He struggled the chain off and sprang to his legs. Men were running towards him and tried to catch him, but they failed. With all his strength, he kicked the chains which attached the locomotive to the horses. One of them got loose, and slowly the locomotive began to slide down the hill. With all his might he kicked loose the second and last chain. All the horses ran off, into freedom. Spirit looked happily at them for a moment, but realised the men were still after him. He ran off, with the locomotive on his heels. The massive machine started a big forest fire when it crashed into another locomotive and exploded. Spirit ran for his live, but when he jumped over a fallen tree, the chain that was still around his neck was stuck behind a branch. Spirit couldn't go anywhere while the fire crept nearer. At that moment Little Creek appeared. He had watched Spirit when the cavalry men took him away from Rain and had followed him. He freed Spirit, sprang upon his back and let Spirit gallop away. He ran for his life and, before the fire could get them, jumped into a river.
I don't know where he came from or how he got there, but I sure was happy to see him.
The following morning Spirit woke up next to a tall pile of apples. He looked around and saw Little Creek. He had never been so happy to see the Lakota. He jumped in the river and they played as friends. But short after they heard hoofs in the distance. When they looked up, they saw the colonel with some of his cavalry men. Little Creek let Spirit run away, but the mustang didn't want to leave his friend behind. He let the indian mount him and they ran off together. The cavalry followed them, but Spirit was faster. They ran into a canyon and Spirit was still in front of them. They ran higher and higher, but eventually they realised they were stuck. There was no way to go except the way back; the way from wich the cavalry was coming. The only way out was to jump over the canyon, to the other side.
"Oh, no," said Little Creek, when he realised Spirit's intentions,
Spirit stood still at the very end of the canyon where they were standing on. Little Creek took a good grasp of Spirit's manes. And then he began running. Faster and faster, until the end of the canyon, where he jumped. The soared through the air, as if they were flying. Little Creek streched his arms as wings, and Spirit felt the freedom pumping through his veins. They reached the other side safe. The cavalry had stopped chasing them and looked to them in astonishment. Finally one of the cavalry men took his gun and aimed at Spirit and Little Creek. But before he could shoot, the colonel pushed the gun away. He looked at Spirit and gave a respectful nod; the mustang had won. At that moment the cavalry men turned around and trotted away. Spirit and Little Creek looked at each other and jumped in the air out of hapiness. They were both free! And that was the first time Spirit let Little Creek mount him freely. Together they went back to the Lakota Village. Spirit saw how the indians were building up their village again after the battle with the US cavalry. Spirit remembered how Rain was hit by a bullet and that he had to left her alone to die. He was sad, and Little Creek knew why. He got off the mustang, looked to the village and whistled. Spirit looked up, and through the smoke of the village he saw the silhouette of a horse coming their way. Slowly he could see more of the horse; it was Rain! Happily they ran towards each other and trotted around each other. Then they headed back to Little Creek, together. He knew that the two horses loved each other. He said farewell to Rain and then turned to Spirit. He embraced Spirit and then let both horses go.
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.
Spirit and Rain ran away, leaving Little Creek behind. Spirit had made a friend, had fallen in love with Rain and was free again. Together they ran all night long, until they reached Homeland. There they were welcomed by Spirit friend, the eagle, and toghether they ran to the Cimarron herd. Spirit was happy to see the herd again and was happy to see his mother. And together they ran through Homeland and Spirit watched over the Cimarron herd again, with Rain on his side.