Lion and the Horse, The (1952)

Lion and the Horse, The (1952)

“I’d of risked my neck to claim that horse for my own.”

When a cowboy (Steve Cochran) falls in love with a wild stallion he names Wildfire, he hopes to buy the horse but instead is forced to kidnap Wildfire from a cruel rodeo owner (Ray Teal) and hide out on a ranch owned by the avuncular grandfather (R.H. Macy) of a horse-loving girl (Sherry Jackson).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Cowboys
  • Horses
  • Rodeos
  • Westerns

This kid-friendly western delivers exactly what its title promises: a dramatic showdown between an (escaped) lion and a horse. While these final scenes may be a bit brutal for younger kids, the storyline until then seems perfectly geared towards children who dream of horses. Cochran is given a wonderfully generous role to play, as a man who would do anything to prevent a magnificent creature like Wildfire from abuse and subjugation.

It’s also refreshing to see a girl in the central kid-role (Jackson is likeable and appropriately feisty):

… and there’s a fun musical interlude involving a cowhand learning to play the ukulele by record player:

However, this isn’t must-see viewing for anyone other than Cochran fans, or those who may somehow fondly remember it from their own childhood.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Steve Cochran as Ben Kirby
  • Fine cinematography

Must See?
No. Listed as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book, which makes sense. I’m not sure how many people these days know about this title!


One thought on “Lion and the Horse, The (1952)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Ah, the beloved, well-worn tale of ‘a man and his horse’ (almost as popular as ‘a boy and his horse’).

    I’m in agreement with the view expressed above: this is a very “kid-friendly” western. In spite of its few moments of a brutal showdown near the end, animal-loving, pre-adolescent ff-wanna-bes should be comfortable-enough watching along with their ff-elders. The story picks up momentum nicely as it moves along.

    Tossing off his bad-boy image for a change, Cochran is surprisingly effective and natural; Jackson offers delightful camaraderie.

    It’s a little-known / little-talked-about film. Maybe not of major interest but it’s respectable.

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