The Silver Brumby (1993) - full transcript

A mother tells her daughter a fable about the prince of the brumbies, brumby being a term for the feral horses of Australia, who must find its place among its kind, while one man makes it his mission to capture it and tame it.

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- Mrs. Mitchell,
are you there?

- Jock?

- Yeah

- Is everything all right?

- You had a break in the
fence down the track a bit.

Me and Egan stuck some
dead branches in it.

Should hold it for a while.

We were worried you
wouldn't find the break,

what with Tom being
away and that.

You could've lost
quite a few cattle.

What we did should
home 'em I reckon,



at least 'till
they arrive anyway.

- Would you like to come in?

- No, thanks anyway.

Best be gettin'
ourselves home, I reckon.

If you need us at
all you call alright?

- Okay, Jock.

- Okay, go in, go in.

- Indi?

Indi?

Are you alright, I
heard you screaming?

Your favorite.

Dear.

- I feel so stupid.

It was just the blind.



It's a weird storm.

- Yes, yes it is.

There's definitely
something in the air.

- That lightening
nearly hit the house.

- Well thank heavens it didn't.

You know what they say about
lightening never striking.

I don't think I've
been this frightened

by a storm in a long time.

- But you know, there is something
different about this one.

I can sort of feel it too.

- I'll tell you what, why
don't you hop back into bed

and I'll read my book up here
and keep you company, okay?

- Okay.

What did the men want?

- On their way back
from the high country

they saw we had a fence down.

Some of the cattle
were getting through,

so they patched it up for us.

They were just letting me know.

I think maybe we should go
down to the bottom paddock in

the morning and see what the
storm damage has done, alright?

- The wind is so loud.

What's the matter, Mum?

- I don't know.

There's something else.

Something different.

- Like what?

- Well maybe Thowra's
out there tonight.

He'd be in his element.

- Who's Thowra?

- He's the great silver brumby.

Named for the wild wind that

blew the night that he was born.

I'm sure it's him.

- Well, I can't hear him.

- Well close your eyes.

Go on.

That's better.

Now shut out all other
sounds, and concentrate.

Concentrate on the wind.

Listen.

Not for the sound of the wind,

but for what you
hear on the wind.

Listen closely.

There's been talk about
Thowra for a long time now.

Some say he lives.

Some say he never existed.

Some say he's a ghost.

But always there are tales
of the mighty wild stallion.

The great palomino Brumby.

King of all the
Cascade brumbies.

Can you hear him?

- I'm not sure.

- Listen carefully,
you'll hear him.

It was on a night very like
this, not so very long ago.

It was one of the
wildest spring nights

that there has ever been.

No possums stirred, no
wombats left their holes.

Only a few kangaroos,
their last shelter

destroyed, were braving
the fury of the storm.

And Belbel, a wild mountain
brumby beautiful and wise,

who was preparing to
give birth to a foal.

There was something mysterious
and exciting in the wind.

Something important
was about to happen.

Thowra she named him,
for Thowra means wind.

She named him for the wild
wind in which he was born.

He was a creamy, much
lighter than his mother

and as he grew to be a
stallion his mane and tail

would glisten silver
in the moonlight.

BelBel knew he would be a prize
indeed hunted all his life.

Hunted for his
silvery mane and tail

and his striking cream coat.

By morning the storm had blown
itself out and in the calm

light of dawn, BelBel emerged
from her shelter to coax

her young creamy foal into
the vastness of his new world.

The creamy, with the
silver mane and tail.

Thowra would not be able
to hide in the gray green

of the bush like
the other brumbies.

He would have to rely
on his speed and cunning

and all the knowledge and wisdom

that BelBel his mother
could pass on to him.

- You're up early.

- I haven't been to bed.

- Mum.

- Well when else do I get a
chance to write around here?

- Another book?

- Yeah.

- About the high country?

- Well sort of.

It's about a silver brumby.

Would like to read some?

- Yeah.

- Alright.

Here, try these.

I suppose I should have a wash
and get ready for the day.

You know what I'd really like

is a cup of hot, strong coffee.

Any chance?

Indi?

- What?

I'm sorry Mum, sure.

- Thanks.

As the months quickly
passed and the last snows

had melted from
the mountain peaks,

BelBel taught Thowra the skills
he would need to survive.

She passed on all the
knowledge of the high country

that she had learnt
over many years.

Its moods, its
joys, its dangers.

It wasn't long before Thowra
encountered the biggest danger

such a beautiful
brumby would face.

Man.

What do you reckon Coolie?

How are we going to get
this bloke out mate?

Are you going to do it?

No, I'm going to do it.

Whoa, whoa, come here.

Come on mate that's
it, calm down.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, get over.

Check your legs.

Yeah you're alright.

Get up go on, go and
see your mum, stand up.

Go on see your mum.

Shh whoa there.

Whoa there mate.

Yes, easy now mate.

Easy, come on, come on.

There we are.

- Thanks to BelBel,

Thowra escaped from his
first encounter with Man.

But it certainly
wasn't to be his last.

Thowra didn't realize that
he'd become a challenge,

a prize, to be pursued
and attained at all costs.

Belbel could tell Thowra would
be a mighty stallion one day.

Proud and independent like her.

Running with the herd
only when it suited him.

But he must learn to
survive on his own.

For she could not always be
by his side when danger arose.

When they were alone, BelBel
taught him how to hide,

how to travel in
the beds of streams,

leaving no sign nor
scent of his going.

She taught him how to recognize
the scent of wombat, and the

scent of kangaroo and of all
the other bush creatures.

And eventually she taught
him to recognize the scent

of Man, of his dog and the
smell of smoke from his fire.

It wasn't long
before Thowra decided

to put his new
knowledge into practice.

He began to track
some strange horses.

He kept well hidden as he
followed the hoof marks

towards the grazing
grounds of a fierce,

gray stallion known
as The Brolga.

Because he'd always
been by her side,

BelBel had not yet
taught Thowra the danger

of trespassing onto the
territory of another herd.

Especially not
that of The Brolga.

The Brolga would never
be as fast as the wind,

nor would he be as graceful
a dancer as the bird

for whom he was named.

But he was already showing signs

of what he would be, an
ugly determined fighter,

never resting till he
got what he wanted.

BelBel led Thowra back to the
territory of their own herd

and the protection of the
mighty stallion Yarraman.

Yarraman was the finest,
strongest stallion

of all the herds of
the high country.

He was the King of the
Cascade brumbies and now,

just when he was needed,
he was here to protect his

handsome, but still foolish,
son and his favorite mare.

When you've lived around here

a long time, you get
to know the bush.

It speaks to you in the wind.

And if you listen, really
listen and look, so carefully,

don't miss a thing, the bush
will tell you its stories.

Think of how BelBel
taught Thowra.

- But they're animals,
they have different senses.

- Well maybe we have
the same senses,

we just don't use them as often.

If you use them, then you'll
understand what the wind

is saying and what the
birds are telling you.

If you want to know the
secrets of the bush,

you have to want
to feel part of it.

So use your hands,
touch the smooth bark

of a snowgum, and gradually
you'll feel the magic.

- Is it really magic?

- Well it's understanding.

That's what true magic is.

The Aborigines have known
it for thousands of years.

They believe the
earth is their mother.

It's not a bad
philosophy I think.

Stay open, and you'll
read the signs.

In the direction of the wind,
in the shape of the clouds,

the tracks of the animals.

But it's no good unless you
feel at one with the bush.

You know how you can read a
book, and yet not understand it?

It's the same with the bush.

Something's wrong.

- What is it mum?

- Dear.

You're hurt aren't you.

- How did you know?

- Your poor leg, shh.

I think maybe we
should take him home

and see what we can do for him.

Come on.

Good, good.

There, we'll look after you.

Every summer, men returned
to the High Country.

Every summer they came
with their wide horned

red and white cattle, their
dogs and their pack horses.

To man the high country was
a pasture, a summer home,

a relief from the
heat of the plains.

It was a place of beauty,
and a source of income.

To most of the bush creatures
the wallabies, wombats,

possums and kangaroos, man
was a nuisance, an intruder.

But to the wild brumbies
the arrival of Man

meant the arrival of danger.

- This is better isn't it mate?

You hear that?

You hear that, Echo?

Sounds like we've got a visitor.

Where's little creamy, Cooley?

How many did we get Murray?

- About 20.

- This should be Cody's
lot, drop the rails.

Packer, get them out of the way.

Come on, come on.

Don't lose the creamy!

Hey, open the gate,
drop the rails.

- It's a postcard
from Melbourne.

From Dad, Harry and Honor.

And a parcel and some bills.

- Good.

Sorry.

Honor says she's missing
home, and me of course.

- Reminds me of someone else
who might be missing his home.

- Aw he's not ready
yet, it's too soon.

How many other kangaroos
do you know who are

wrapped up in blankets
all day and bottle fed?

- But he needs looking after.

- You're going to
have to let go, Indi.

He's never going to survive in

the bush on his
own if you don't.

So why don't we
make a start now?

Let's stick him in
the back, alright.

- But he'll get bumped about
and hurt all over again.

- Indi, he's not
going to survive

a winter in the bush if
he's used to blankets.

- But mum.

- Just do it, Indi.

He'll be fine in the back
in his pouch, come on.

- Can I drive?

- Winter was bad that year.

Icy cold and constant snow.

Pools frozen solid and
winter pastures hidden

cruelly beneath the
ghostly white blanket.

It was cold, so very cold.

Even with the thick winter
coats the horses had all grown.

Winter was the only time the
brumbies were safe from man.

But their new enemies were

the elements and the
cruel face of nature.

Winter called on all their
knowledge of the bush

and all their
instincts for survival.

BelBel knew which
were the good shrubs

to eat and showed Thowra
where to find them.

Neither BelBel nor Thowra
suffered too badly that winter.

Others did.

The severity of the
winter troubled Yarraman.

Even his secret winter
pastures were covered with snow

which forced him to
make a difficult choice.

If he kept his herd safe
in the High Country,

they would starve.

If he led them down lower to
find feed near the snowline,

they'd be dangerously
close to Man.

And wherever they went, other
stallions, equally desperate,

would stand their ground
to protect their territory.

For the wild brumbies this was

the reality of winter survival.

I thought you were
supposed to be helping?

- I am.

- He's going to be about ready
to go back to the bush soon.

- Mum.

- We've been through this, Indi.

We've interfered
with nature enough.

Time to let him go
back where he belongs

and take his chances with
all the other animals.

- Hello, Indi.

G'day Mrs. Mitchell.

Startin' a zoo?

- Not if I can help it.

How're things, Jock?

- Not too bad.

Rounded up some good
brumbies the other day.

- Got some real beauties.

Gonna start breaking
them in tomorrow.

Is Mr. Mitchell around?

- No, Tom's still in Melbourne.

He'll be back at
the end of the week.

- Fair enough.

Just thought he might've been

interested in a couple
of the brumbies.

- I'll let him know
when he gets back.

- I'll be getting
rid of most of them

at the stock sale at
the end of next week.

But if he wants to
come over before hand

he can go through the herd
and pick out the best.

- That's very kind of you, Jock.

- No worries.

Well, I'd best be off.

You can come and watch me
breakin' 'em in if you like, Indi.

- Thanks, Jock.

- See you.

- That was very rude,
not answering Jock.

- Thought you didn't like him.

- Well not a lot.

But he's a good neighbor.

It's no skin off my
nose to be pleasant.

- Jock's got a black horse!

- Yes, I guess he has
got a black horse.

- Just like the
man in the story.

Still, no need to be rude,

a lot of people
have black horses.

- I've read all you've written.

- Have you?

- What happens next?

- I don't know.

Have to wait till
I've written it.

Let's finish the
car first, okay?

- Mum.

- Come on

- Steady.

Watch him, watch him.

Give me the rope!

- What's the matter?

- It's just so cruel.

- The horse breaking?

- Yes.

- I'm not sure if
Jock's way is the only way.

- But how can they do it, Mum?

Be so mean to such
a beautiful horse?

- Come here.

Let's go sit down, okay?

You're the one who
insisted on going remember?

But I had to see,
I had to find out.

- Yeah, now you know.

I did warn you you
mightn't like it.

- It was like he wasn't
the same horse any more.

- One of the hardest
things to learn about life

is learning not to make
too many judgments.

Jock wants to tame the
brumby and sell him.

The brumby wants to go free.

I don't like what
Jock does either.

But it's how he earns his
living, I can't deny him that.

- He could make
money some other way.

- Well some people would say

he was doing the region a favor.

The brumbies can cause
an awful lot of damage.

- But that's no
reason to be cruel.

- No, no it isn't.

With the passing of two
winters Thowra had grown

from a gangly colt to one of
the finest young stallions

ever seen in the high country.

He had learnt well
the ways of the bush

and strutted his independence
with confidence and daring.

His glistening coat
and flowing silver mane

set him apart from all
the other brumbies.

Wise BelBel's prediction
had come true,

he was a prize indeed.

And wherever Thowra went soon
after The Man would appear.

Always on his black horse.

Always his whip and dog.

Always seeking Thowra.

Determined.

Persistent.

But Thowra, reveling in
the joy and vigor of life

thought he was too smart for
The Man and loved to lead

him a merry dance
through the snowgums.

On and on half glimpsed
through the dappled light

but always a step or a jump
ahead of the black horse.

The passing of time also
heralded The Brolga's growth

to full maturity and in the
glory of a new spring he

declared his challenge to the
mighty Yarraman's supremacy.

They fought on and on and
as the darkness raced from

the shadows of the setting sun,
it took with it the strength

of the older Yarraman, lord
of the Cascade brumbies.

As Thowra looked on he knew

this would be his proud
father's final battle.

The Brolga was at his peak

and his stamina
could not be matched.

Thowra also knew that one day
the mountains would ring loud

with his cries and
the earth would carry

his blood as he fought
to win back a kingdom.

It was quite usual for one
stallion to defeat another.

Defeat yes.

But not kill.

But Yarraman was too great a
horse to simply be defeated,

so The Brolga had
left him to die.

After the death of Yarraman,
The Brolga inherited his herd,

including the wise mare BelBel.

Thowra was now truly alone.

But the spirit of the wind
and the rugged mountains

embraced him as if he were a
son of the high country itself.

Soon he had a herd of his
own to protect and defend.

A handful of fillies and
mares he had fought for

and won from other young
stallions who roamed the bush.

And soon he would
long for another,

one who would tempt him
through the cunning of man.

- Eighty one pounds,
eighty one pounds, two.

Eighty two pounds,
a worthy horse.

Eighty two pounds,
it's over there.

Eighty two pounds done.

All done at eighty two.

All done to Mr. Jeff
Phillips, eighty two pounds.

Right the pack mule
into the ring next.

Righto there, the
pack mule is worth

forty or fifty pounds.
Forty or fifty.

I'm bid ten pounds, thank
you a ten pound bid.

And a bid fifteen,
fifteen pound.

Twenty right twenty over
there twenty pound bid.

Twenty two pounds, twenty
two pound of money.

Three, twenty three pound.

Four, twenty four pounds.

Twenty four pounds, done, all
done at twenty four pounds.

Here's the bid,
twenty four pound.

Done all done.

Right the next horse in the
ring is the palomino filly.

There we are.

Fourteen hands.

A magnificent filly.

Look at the color and
fineness of breeding.

Owned and bred by Tugger
McMahon of Corryong.

Right as she moves
around the ring

is she worth one hundred pounds.

One hundred fifty, fifty pound.

Sixty, sixty pound bid
seventy, seventy pound bid,

bid seventy, eighty,
eighty pounds,

eighty, going to ninety,
ninety pounds of money.

Ninety bid, ninety
pound bidding.

Ninety pounds going
up to one hundred.

One hundred bid, one
hundred pound bid,

I'm bid one hundred
pound going once, twice,

third and last call at one
hundred pounds of money.

One hundred bidding any more
for a finely bred filly.

- Two hundred.

- Two hundred pounds?

Two hundred pound bidding.

Two hundred, two
hundred pound of money.

- Steady, steady.

Trot up girl, trot up.

Trot up, come on, trot up girl.

Steady, steady, come on, steady.

- The sight of the
golden filly haunted Thowra.

Her beauty and grace
fascinated him.

He knew he wanted her,

but he also knew she
belong to The Man.

- I'll get you now.

I swear I will.

Golden.

Golden.

Come here, come here.

He's seen you now
and he likes you.

And he'll be back.

- No.

No!

- As the cold nights
and the first frosts marked

the ending of summer the men
began to muster their cattle

and with them went
the immediate danger.

And with them went more
stories about the mystical

silver brumby and more tales
of his deeds and his daring.

The Man went too, without
his precious Golden.

But Thowra knew he'd
be back to get her.

Especially now she
was in foal to him.

Unlike the other brumbies,
Golden was not used to

the harsh conditions of
winter in the high country.

Especially for her
sake Thowra kept his

small herd moving in
search of better pastures.

Out you go, okay, out you
hop, there we go, off you go.

- He wants to go.

- Go on.

- Scat, shoo, shoo.

See what I mean?

He's too used to us and
the comforts of home,

it's all that coddling.

- Yes, mum.

- Go on.

- What'll we do?

He's still here.

- I don't know.
- Shoo.

- Go on.

- Good.

- Look.

- He'll be all right now.

Quick, come on.

When the good weather returned
no one realized that Golden,

having been with men
all her life till Thowra

captured her, was
lacking in the instinct

to take the stirrings of
her unborn foal calmly.

At the last moment Golden
left the herd to seek

the comfort and protection
of her old master.

♪ Monday is washing day
is every doggy happy ♪

- Nice and clean now.

I might even let
you back in the hut.

Golden, Golden, Golden, Golden.

Whoa girl, whoa, whoa girl.

Golden, easy, easy.

Golden.

Look at you?

She came back to
me silver horse!

Easy, easy, easy, easy.

Just relax, easy.

So you've decided
to turn up as well.

Hey, good girl, good
girl, that's it,

that's it, that's it, easy now.

Just ignore him.

I've got your daughter
now, silver devil!

Let's just go and have
a look around?

Ever get the feeling
you're being watched Echo?

Come on Echo, come on!

H'yeah, h'yeah!

- Thowra, deliberately
just keeping ahead,

led The Man a long way often
letting him almost catch up,

so that the man thought
he was gaining ground.

But Thowra knew
what he was doing

and never let The Man have a
chance of getting too close.

- I'll teach you to
play with me horse.

- As Thowra led
The Man further and further

away from the hut even
the elements combined

to thwart the Mans pursuit.

As the light began to fade
and the clouds gathered,

the wind as if summoned
to his assistance carried

across the high country the
enveloping mist and rain.

This was what Thowra wanted.

Disappearing like a ghost
into the mist and rain.

The Man did not at
first realize he had

lost Thowra and was
almost lost himself.

He also failed to understand
how the gathering storm

had been summoned by
Thowra, the wild horse,

named for the wind that
blew across the high plains.

- Golden.

Home Echo, home!

I'll get you!

I swear, I will get you.

No!

- Thowra kept a
careful watch over Golden

and the foal that summer
and as winter approached

he felt confident the
threat of Man had passed.

After searching fruitlessly
for Golden and her creamy foal,

The Man had left the mountains.

His hut stood empty and silent
in the morning sunlight,

no smoke from the chimney,
no barking of dogs.

Thowra knew he would
not return until Spring.

But Thowra and his herd were not

to be left in peace for long.

The Brolga seized the
opportunity to increase

his own herd by
stealing Thowra's mares.

But Thowra sensed the
danger and hurried back.

The Brolga was forced to return

to his own grounds empty handed.

But Thowra knew it was now
time for the son of Yarraman

to claim his rightful place as
King of the Cascade Brumbies.

It would not be a fight
to the death for both were

magnificent stallions in
the prime of their lives.

It would be a fight
for supremacy,

a fight to stay on in
the Cascades as King,

or leave as the vanquished
never to return.

And it was The Brolga who
bowed to the youth and grace

of Thowra
relinquishing his place

to the younger son
of brave Yarraman.

- I knew he could
beat The Brolga mum.

Now Thowra's the King.

King of all the
Cascade brumbies.

It's a fantastic story mum.

Can I take it to school
with me when I go back?

Sarah and Jean
will just love it.

- What makes you
think it's finished?

Do you think The Man
thinks it's finished?

- No one can beat Thowra, Mum.

- I've been waiting
for you, Darcy.

- Seen any brumbies,
Miss Mitchell?

- So it's true isn't it?

Thowra really does exist?

And now The Man has
Darcy helping him

and Dad has always said
that Darcy is the best rider

and tracker in the whole
of the high country.

They're going to catch
him, aren't they?

- We'll I don't know.

We're just going to
have to pray that

Thowra is smarter and more
cunning than even we think he is.

He will have to hide Golden
and the foal somewhere safe,

where they won't find them.

Away from the rest of the herd
who are too easy to track,

especially with Darcy.

And he'll have to
use all his cunning

to make sure the men
don't get too close.

- Come on, get him,
h'yeah, h'yeah.

- Egan!

- Darcy said he gave them a
proper run for their money.

Looked like they'd been
dragged to hell and back

when they got back to my place.

But what an ending?

Darcy said it was unbelievable.

This ghost of a horse
just heads for the cliff

and takes off into space.

Rather be dead than be captured.

- There's no way that maybe?

- No, no hope.

Nowhere to land
except for the bottom.

- I'm sorry.

For years to come
men around campfires,

women at country shows,

children in schools
will tell stories of

a great silver brumby seen
galloping on windpacked snow.

Of a ghost horse drinking
at the Crackenback River.

Of a horse that everyone
thought was dead appearing

in a blizzard at Dead Horse
Gap and vanishing again.

Of the wild stallion cry
that could only be Thowra's.

But no human really knows
where the son of BelBel roams.

Thowra, the greatest
brumby of them all.

♪ You live by the moon

♪ And the stars in the night

♪ A ghost in a storm

♪ The wind and the rain

♪ And the clouds and the trees

♪ Are singing your song

♪ You are the Son of the Wind

♪ Lover of freedom

♪ They hunt and they chase

♪ And they seek
till they're done ♪

♪ Your soul can't be won

♪ You are the Son of the Wind

♪ Lover of freedom

♪ The wind and the rain

♪ And the clouds and the trees

♪ Are singing your song

♪ The wind and the rain

♪ And the clouds and the trees

♪ Are singing your song