Author Topic: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams  (Read 7537 times)

Offline Lead Zeppelin

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Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« on: November 07, 2011, 02:07:02 PM »
I was just watching a western (not a good one - the 1986 version of Stagecoach), and during the scene when the stagecoach is being chased by Indians, it struck me that the horses pulling the stagecoach were apparently invulnerable to both arrows and bullets.  I don't think I have *ever* seen a movie stagecoach horse that was taken down by the bad guys chasing the stage.  The bad guys could be completely surrounding the stagecoach as it speeds down the trail, and kill every person on and in the stagecoach - and the horses never even stumble.  Those stagecoach teams must have had very tough hides!!    ;D
 

Offline joec

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 02:46:15 PM »
I've noticed that myself but did see a western yesterday with a wagon train where the lead horse got taken out by Indians. I was an old John Wayne movie called Hondo. I caught it yesterday on one of the DirecTV channels.
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Offline Lead Zeppelin

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 06:35:45 PM »
I've noticed that myself but did see a western yesterday with a wagon train where the lead horse got taken out by Indians. I was an old John Wayne movie called Hondo. I caught it yesterday on one of the DirecTV channels.

Dang!  I like Hondo!  I try to put all the John Wayne movies on my DVR list - I must have missed that one.  Hondo has some good fight scenes.

Offline Abilene

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 07:12:53 PM »
I've noticed that myself but did see a western yesterday with a wagon train where the lead horse got taken out by Indians. I was an old John Wayne movie called Hondo. I caught it yesterday on one of the DirecTV channels.
I recently watched Ulzana's Raid with Burt Lancaster, where the Apache took out one of the horses pulling a wagon to stop it.  Guess the Indians knew better than the stage robbers in all those other westerns  ;D

Offline Chev. William

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 11:38:42 PM »
My guess the cost of injuring one or more horses in a Movie generated Rules that said NO,NO, NO!
What I have seen is there are Several 'takes' for each scene that are combined in the cutting room edits so i twould go through horses fast.  and some of the Early Movies DID injure horses in the shooting.

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #5 on: Today at 08:14:34 PM »

Offline Shotgun Franklin

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 08:53:20 AM »
After 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and the death and injury to a lot of horses, Errol Flynn started a big push for the safety of animals being used in movies.He went to the Press and got enough backing to make big changes in how animals especially horse were used. After Flynn died it got bad again but others took up the cause and had laws passed. Now they actually have trained stunt horses. If you ever get the chance check into the tricks they now do. Horses learn to take falls, play dead and all kinds of stunts.
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Offline Major 2

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 09:10:02 AM »
http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/programs/no-animals-were-harmed/

Since 1940 Hollywood has invited American Humane on location to oversee the treatment of animals ..and as such will recieve the following no-animals-were-harmed credit.
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Offline St. George

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 09:30:23 AM »
There's also something called a 'plot device' - something improbable, yet vaguely possible - and can move the scene along.

If they'd shot all the horses - then they'd've been able to kill pretty much everyone on the stage - making the average movie about ten minutes long.

That's why the Public Library will inform you about the 'real Old West' and the 'John Ford Reference Library' will mis-inform you, using the 'reel Old West'.

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Offline Buffalo Creek Law Dog

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 01:20:19 PM »
John Ford once said, when asked why the Indians just didn't shoot the horses in the movie Stage Coach, "Then, the movie would be over."
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Offline RobMancebo

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 05:33:34 PM »
I was just watching a western (not a good one - the 1986 version of Stagecoach), and during the scene when the stagecoach is being chased by Indians, it struck me that the horses pulling the stagecoach were apparently invulnerable to both arrows and bullets.  I don't think I have *ever* seen a movie stagecoach horse that was taken down by the bad guys chasing the stage.  The bad guys could be completely surrounding the stagecoach as it speeds down the trail, and kill every person on and in the stagecoach - and the horses never even stumble.  Those stagecoach teams must have had very tough hides!!    ;D
 
 

Yep.  Noticing this lil' problem really can ruin a lot of movies.  In 'The War Wagon', I had to chuckle because the wagon was iron and mounted with a Gatling gun in a turret, but the horses were just running out in the open.  The robbers made such a big thing out of stopping it when all anyone had to do was to shoot a horse.    (Still a fun movie . . . it's just hard to take any of it seriously after noticing that.) 

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #10 on: Today at 08:14:34 PM »

Offline Mean Bob Mean

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2014, 07:36:06 PM »
One excuse I always had for this was that the value of horses was so great no one wanted them dead. 
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Offline FriscoCounty

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 12:41:03 PM »
I figured the same way.  If I wanted to take the contents of the wagon, I was going to need the wagon.  If I needed the wagon, I was gonna need the horses to pull it.  Unless I brought my own, of course.
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Offline Mean Bob Mean

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2014, 08:44:39 PM »
Oh, I recently saw Billy Two Hats and the Apache Renegades do exactly that:  shoot the horse so the wagon is stuck in an open and poor spot so they can pick off the occupants of the wagon easily. 
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Offline El Tio Loco

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 05:59:11 PM »
 

Yep.  Noticing this lil' problem really can ruin a lot of movies.  In 'The War Wagon', I had to chuckle because the wagon was iron and mounted with a Gatling gun in a turret, but the horses were just running out in the open.  The robbers made such a big thing out of stopping it when all anyone had to do was to shoot a horse.    (Still a fun movie . . . it's just hard to take any of it seriously after noticing that.) 

I just figured any horse that's strong enough to pull a wagon that heavy would be immune to bullets.

Ken

Offline beefmalone

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2020, 09:19:17 PM »
 

Yep.  Noticing this lil' problem really can ruin a lot of movies.  In 'The War Wagon', I had to chuckle because the wagon was iron and mounted with a Gatling gun in a turret, but the horses were just running out in the open.  The robbers made such a big thing out of stopping it when all anyone had to do was to shoot a horse.    (Still a fun movie . . . it's just hard to take any of it seriously after noticing that.)

dammit, now I can't watch it anymore without thinking of this

Offline Jeremiah Jones

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2020, 09:36:47 PM »
Every movie where the Indians are riding in circles around the good guys, causes me to scream, " Shoot the fn horses!"
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Offline Ol Gabe

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2020, 10:49:44 AM »
'Ol Gabe here, I imagine Major 2 will recall the following...
Although not a film about the American West, etc., the '70 version of WATERLOO starring Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer was loaded with horse action and dozens of scenes with them falling as 'shot'. The Union Brigade cavalry charging across the open plain showed those closest to the camera falling as shot by cannon fire from the French batteries. You don't have to look close to see how it was done as the horses were trained to fall forward and collapse when the rider wold pull up on a rope/strap attached to the right front leg, giving the visual impression that the horse had been killed and was crashing into the ground. Many of the soldiers/riders did this stunt and it is easy to see it when it happens. Hundreds of horses were used in the making of the film as British and Allied cavalry and French units seen in waves attacking the British squares on top of the hill behind Wellington's original position. In the film, when the French attack the squares, Wellington is heard yelling to the troops, "Shoot the horses!" In effect by doing this the dead animals would create a barricade to help protect his troopers in the squares. As an aside, Marshal Ney, Napolean's cavalry commander, led several charges of French cavalry and was himself shot off of at least four horses, some say five. Unwounded, he grabbed the next available running riderless horse and continued the charge.
It was an immense and impressive production using several local nations ceremonial cavalry to make up the British and French units, the viewer seeing several thousand at any given time on the widescreen as many were in the background and waaaay back on the vast open set, the director used many as visual filler to give the impression of a gigantic battle, which it truly was.
Another series of films using 'dead' horses was that of the Custer legend, both cavalry and Indian ponies crashed.
Hopefully this may generate several remembrances of other films using the same or like methods of stunts.
Best regards and good viewing!
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Offline RobMancebo

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Re: Invulnerability of western movie horse teams
« Reply #17 on: Today at 06:17:18 PM »
Jeremiah, They did shoot the horses.  Riding a circle around an enemy like that was a Comanche tactic.  They had their famous warrior societies and trained to shoot from the other side of the horse or under its neck.  When the horse was shot and tumbled, they would hit the ground running and bound up onto a comrades' horse to continue the fight.  The  Apache fought upon their home ground and were masters of the ambush. (See Lt Davis's book about fighting Comanche then shifting to fighting the Apache, he almost got his whole command killed the first time out.)  Souix, as hunters, often fought from cover.  (When Reynolds troops hit a souix village in '75, they got shot but had no targets to shoot back at.  The campaign destroyed a 'hostile village', got soldiers shot, but didn't kill a single person.)

 

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