6 Weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

Last night I invited my friend, Sheila, to the movie, Buck. It’s showing in Calgary at the Plaza Theatre through to the end of the month. I was happy to see it at a small, independent theatre – we like to support that genre, though they are sadly, fast disappearing from our landscape.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the trailer of Buck by now, it’s received a good share of publicity, but just in case you’ve been hiding under a frozen waterer, you’ll find it at the end of this post.

Sheila, not a horse owner, loved the film. As did I, and it seemed most of the audience members in the cozy theatre. It’s not a film you absolutely need to see in a theatre, but it’s always a greater experience to see a film on the big screen, isn’t it.

The movie focuses on the life and message of Buck Brannaman, a horseman we in the industry are quite familiar with, but it was nice to see his message reach outside of our circles to the larger mainstream. Buck was recently in Alberta, and we had a chance to get together with him, gathering an interview for a feature we can’t wait to share with you in the March issue of Western Horse Review. 

Buck really is about horses, but his message is quite human. Redemptive, vulnerable, forgiving. Brimming with quiet strength. Buck is a beautiful work of humanity. No great wonder he has the following he has amassed. Just this morning as I browsed my Facebook feed, I noticed a Buck quote on the Natural Leader Facebook page:

“Possess the things horses treasure – peace and comfort; and your horse will always be willing to trade with you. If you are always mindful of that, you “should” have the perfect relationship. Betray that desire and you will be low on credit with your horse.”

Always words to ponder from Buck. He’s the kind of teacher who leaves you to dwell on the questions. But then, there’s no wisdom worth having that isn’t hard won – which is, more or less, the story of his life.

I encourage you to be sure to make Buck part of your Christmas plans, whether in a theatre near you, or on DVD. That said, I’m offering up a DVD of Buck to give away this week. Fact is, I need to stockpile a few western movie suggestions for a future post, so let us know in the Comment section below, the name of a western movie you love, and we’ll enter your name into a draw to receive a DVD of Buck. Contest closes Friday, at midnight, and winner announced Monday.

Enjoy the trailer!


  1. City Slickers :)

  2. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid……who doesn’t love Redford & Newman

  3. Laurie Kambeitz says

    ” The Man from Snowy River”, and Australian Western. I am also old enough to remember the TV Series “Gunsmoke”

  4. I haven’t seen a lot of western horse movies, however, I do have two favorite horse movies. Seabiscuit and the animated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I watch both of these movies when I’m feeling sad, or have had a bad day because they always make me feel good. I’ve been anticipating Buck coming to theatres, and was very pleased to read that it is playing at the Plaza theatre. I just moved to Calgary (and brought my horse with me) to attend film school. One of my goals is to make a horse documentary someday.

  5. Man from Snowy River is a good one!

  6. I love the first “Man From Snowy River”. That scene where he rides that horse down that steep steep hill was scary and thrilling and I am in awe of a horse that would trust you that much. WOW

    I was hoping that Buck would come to Penticton BC but I dont think it will make it here. I hope I win the copy of Buck because that is the only way I will see it.

  7. Cindy Sergerie says

    There is not a many western’s that I have seen that did not speak to that part of me about spirit, hope and basic values of life… The most dear to my heart are those about the relationship between horse and man/woman/child. Too many to name, since I have so many more years of life, to have viewed them… LOL.

  8. I loved Tombstone the first, second, third, fourth and fifth times I watched it. :) I could watch it again in a heartbeat. Val Kilmer is so adorable as Doc Holiday.

    Buck the Movie was an inspiration. Buck the man is pretty cool (what we learn about him in the movie anyway) – I have it on my bucket list now to catch his clinics in person someday!.

  9. Red River was my first then man from snowy river on to Secretariat. Can hardly wait to see Buck Film

  10. My all time favorite is The man from Snowy river the would be a toss up between Silverado and Quigly Down Under .

  11. Hmm, western movie references, well, an obvious recent one for me is Tombstone. Some interesting stunt shots with the horses. But, if you are going to look for horse centered westerns, hmm. Flicka and My Friend Flicka, Man from Snowy River, The Silver Brumby (man, loved those books as a kid), Dreamer is not really a western, but it’s a great story, then Gunless (but not too many horses, hmm, Paul Gross needs to think a bit). Not really a western, but 8 Seconds with Luke Perry is a great biopic of Lane Frost. Of course no one should forget both the original & remake of True Grit. “Mattie Ross: There’s an old song that says: One white foot buy ’em, two white feet try ’em, three white feet be on the sly, four white feet pass ’em by. ” She never did like that song :-).

  12. Amy musgrove says

    Ok so I love all horse movie , some of my favorite being Hildalgo , the man from snowy river , return to snowy river , lonesome dove and return to lonesome dove !!! I could go on for ever :) but I would have to say I will always remember a movie I saw as when I was little about two little kids who are lost with this big red stallion and the horse saves them from a bare !! I think it was called Big Red!
    Also My FriendFlicka .. and how fast she was when the men were in the car behind her :) .
    Then there is a movie called Rinestone Cowboy with Robert Redford , I love how he put the horse in the motor home .
    And if I ever want to curl up on the couch and have a good cry and feel better I watch Black Beauty , actually I think I can resite it by now !

  13. Nancy Nicholson says

    Jeremiah Johnson

  14. Anita Ellis says

    Winchester 73

  15. Carola Friesen says

    My favorite western movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

  16. Heather Hudson says

    Man From Snowy River (me)
    Butch Cassidy and the original True Grit (husband)

  17. Pamela Sabo says

    Impossible to name them all, there are so many classics out there that touch the heart in many ways. Lonesome Dove probably tops my list, every John Wayne movie, Jeremiah Johnson, True Grit, Seabiscuit, Hildalgo, Open Range, and on and on and on….
    I’m really looking forward to seeing BUCK. I’ve been a follower for many years already, would love to attend a clinic in person, but don’t know when that might happen, so a DVD would sure be special to add to my collection.

  18. Jillian Kaufmann says

    Any movie with horses in it is great, but I think my favorite is All the Pretty Horses with Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz. It combines all that you’d want in a movie…horses, romance, drama…and cowboys, of course!

  19. favorite western is Open Range and second favorite is the all time classic Lonesome Dove.

  20. Man from Snowy River has been my favorite as well as return to Snowy River and Quigley Down Under

  21. Without a doubt, Dances with Wolves, no greater connection than that between horse and rider!

  22. “Legends of the Fall” with beautiful Alberta scenery!

  23. I like both versions of The Quick and the Dead, the second one is the only western I know of with Sharon Stone, and it’s closer to a comedy in places. Hidalgo is also a big favorite!

  24. The Duke and Clint Eastwood personified a lot of the best westerns. Old school, gotta say John Wayne in The Shootist…art imitating life. More contemporary , All the Pretty Horses…human spirit and character themes make it a great movie…with horses!

  25. Rustlers Rhapsody – hilarious western comedy

  26. I watched Rustlers Rhapsody so many times as a kid, I still remember almost every line!!

  27. Susan Kauffmann, WHR Health Editor says

    I saw Buck in the theater here a few months ago. Watching that man ride is a thing of beauty. It did not escape my notice that he stretches before he gets on a horse — part of why he can sit a horse with such balance and unity. He honestly made me think of a Centaur, as it was really like he was part of the horse himself.

    As for movies, I’ve got an unusual one for ya: “Dead Man”, starring Johnny Depp. One of my favorite movies of all time, though definitely not going to appeal to everyone. It is a strange journey into a strange journey. It’s a Western in terms of era, setting, guys riding horses, guys shooting other guys (and some other brutal violence — be warned), wilderness, tough towns, tougher men and even “Indians”. However, it is not a traditional movie in any sense of the word — it is a singular, quirky, dark and poetic vision, perhaps bleak but not without humor and humanity. It is also visually brilliant, the black and white cinematography adding to the mood and reflecting the themes of the film. Not to be missed, in my opinion, but I know there are many who would find this film too strange altogether.

  28. Man from Snowy River and Lonesome Dove. Both sequels are equally as good!

  29. I always enjoy watching both City Slicker movies.

  30. All the John Wayne westerns, Seabiscuit, Hidalgo- any movie that stars horses works for me.

  31. There are so many I greatly enjoy, but The Cowboy Way is always a favorite. I sure hope Buck will be playing at a theater in my knack of the woods, would love to see on the big screen…..

  32. great review Ingrid – and thanks for the mention of The Natural Leader.

    I’ve now watched the film three times with different company each time. While I expect it inspires us to be better horsemen the one message I love is the one of choice. We all have a choice to make something out of who we are and how we will be remembered.

    I think Buck is simply about a fine human being. – Nancy

  33. Dances With Wolves

  34. John Wayne’s True Grit.

  35. Tombstone is one of the best western movie I have seen (not very horsy but great -especially based on the true story of Wyatt Derp).

  36. the man from snowy river

  37. Mia Glasser says

    You said western movies so I’m going to break away from the horse themed ones and say The Cowboys, I love old John Wayne movies. Can’t wait to see the Buck movie, he’s an inspiration!

  38. Mia Glasser says

    I thought of one more movie that people aren’t mentioning, it’s not a western though. Phar Lap, I loved that movie even though it was sad at the end.

  39. Jan Fletcher says

    I would have to say my favorite western movie was Young Guns and a close second would be Two Mules for Sister Sarah……..I saw BUCK The Film at the Metro Cinema in Edmonton……absolutely loved it!!!….I do have his book Faraway Horses and have been a HUGE fan of his for many years…..

  40. Donna Murray says

    The Good Ol’ Boys with Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek.

  41. Loved reading the comments so far. Reminded me of movies I haven’t seen in a while and some we watch over and over. How about, The Rounders with Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda (must be seen at least once a year)…. Monte Walsh.. Comes A Horseman.. Shanghai Noon.. and thanks Donna for reminding me of The Good Ol’ Boys.. another great movie to be watched at least once a year… :o)
    I haven’t seen the movie, Buck, yet.. and look forward to it.

  42. Pharlap….as long as I feel like crying!

  43. Lonesome Dove and while it’s not really a western, also loved Seabiscuit

  44. mmm,as a kid i loved lucky luke cartoons, and as an adult, blazing saddles or lonesome dove.

  45. Lonesome Dove is my ALLLLLLL time favorite.

  46. Natalie Tremblay says

    Hard to pick a favourite cowboy movie. I would probably have to say my favourite is the original “True Grit” movie.

  47. I’d have to agree with most, and say the Man from Snowy River Movies. Though I did enjoy 3:10 to Yuma, 8 Seconds, and Lonesome Dove.

  48. So many god movies in this list…. some I want to see again but in terms of western and riding it really is Man from Snowey River and the sequel. Westerns I liked Unforgiven, Appaloosa, and 3:10 from Yuma All movies with good character development and story lines that are going somewhere.
    I really want to see Buck but I think we will not get it here in Penticton. Hope it is Merry Christmas to me.

    Merry Christmas Ingrid!!!!

  49. Karey Welliver says

    Jeremiah Johnson is by far my Fav western move. However that being said I love The Quick and the Dead as well…. So many old westerns that are great movies to curl up and the chair to watch on a cold winter evening!

  50. Hidalgo!
    If you haven’t heard of this one, it’s worth checking out.

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