Frank Hopkins ( Mortensen), a half-Indian master of the long distance pony trek has washed up at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, where he's drinking to forget the slaughter of 300 unarmed Sioux at Wounded Knee. When Sheikh Riyadh (Sharif) gets wind of Hopkins' endurance credentials and asks him to compete in an epic race across the Arabian desert, the half-cut hybrid horseman figures he's got nothing to lose and heads for the dunes with his favourite hoss Hidalgo. The Western goes East. Director Johnston reigns in any easy jingoism to focus on fate, breeding, CGI leopards and enough horseflesh to make a Frenchman drool. Accept a chewy script that erases any subtlety at every tangled turn, and you're left with a passable if overlong sand 'n' spurs epic that boasts a couple of decent set pieces and the sort of alluring landscape photography that helped earn the Western its place in cinematic legend. Disney marketed the film as a true story, despite much evidence that the real-life Hopkins was a hoaxer of the highest order. Aristocratic love interest Lombard has the right idea, along for the ride with a look of detached amusement that says it all: boys will be boys.
Cast and crew
Floyd Red Crow Westerman