Soon after I turned thirteen, my dad and I moved to England. We had originally come from there but, apart from a visit when I was six years old, I’d grown up in California. My mother stayed in California to continue working until my dad found employment. In the meantime, we lived with my dad’s mom. But that’s another story. From the time I was thirteen until our return to California when I was eighteen, I was terribly homesick, in spite of the many cool things about living in England. As an undiagnosed autistic teen, it was probably even harder for me than it would have been for someone else, but I won’t go into that here. My point is that there were many things I did to alleviate my distress, one of them being to write (among other things, beginning the first incarnation of a certain story) and another was to plot a trip.
By the time I was fifteen I was planning all kinds of ways to get back to California, all of them completely impractical to impossible. But one idea kept me happy and busy – planning a horseback trip from New York to California. This was in the days Before The Internet (yes, such a time really existed) and all I had was a huge National Geographic United States state by state atlas (which I think I still have in storage somewhere) and a ton of imagination. I plotted a course, as much as I could, from somewhere in New York to just east of Los Angeles (where we had previously been living), avoiding all the big cities, and traveling between water sources.
Thursday night I got to go see the indie film Unbranded. I was very excited about this movie from the moment I heard about it for a lot of reasons.
Mustangs. I’ve always had an interest in Mustangs and follow the problems, events, and legislation that affect them.
Though I prefer fantasy/sci-fi now, growing up, my favorite movie/TV genre was Westerns, and I still have a very soft spot for them.
But the the idea of four guys, modern cowboys (recent Texas A&M grads), taking this journey from Mexico to Canada was thrilling. I had to see it.
This is a fabulous film. The photography is stunningly beautiful and is accompanied by a wonderful score. It’s worth the ticket just to go on this journey through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana – some of the most gorgeous landscape in the world. Just watching it brought a lump to my throat and made me feel proud (even though I’m not technically American). There were also plenty of laughs, many gasps, some sadness, and a few hearty cheers.
But I really appreciated how they wove into the narrative facts from both sides of the Mustang story – both from the BLM’s and activists’ perspectives – and I hope more people will gain an understanding of the actual issues surrounding them. Should we protect them? Undoubtedly. Do they need management? Unquestionably. It’s finding the best way of doing it that poses problems for both sides. I sincerely hope this film and the interest it engenders spurs positive results, or at least a new perspective to work from.
Who would like this film? Anyone who loves adventure, gorgeous landscape, and/or anything to do with the American West. And, of course, horses. I’ve already ordered a DVD for myself. It’s definitely something I will watch many times.
Go see it!
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All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.