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Searching for horse movie

From: Natalie

Dear Jessica, you know so much about everything that I'm going to hope you can come through for me on this question. It's kind of about horses, it's about a movie about a little girl and her horse, and I've been looking for this movie for almost 40 years. I can't find anyone who has ever seen it or anyone who has even ever heard of it, and I'm starting to think I must be crazy. Maybe I just dreamed it? But I am so sure that I saw it, long ago when I was a child (I was born in 1949). There was a very cute little girl and a big white horse with a long mane and tail, and they lived on a ranch in the West somewhere, with her family of course, and that's about all I can remember, I think the stallion saves her life at some point but I could be mixing it up with some of the books I read when I was very small. There was something about a branding iron, too, but I don't remember exactly what. But I'm sure I remember the wonderful music, and coming home just glowing with happiness about this wonderful movie. I wanted to be that little girl, I wanted a white stallion more than anything in the world, and although I never did get a stallion, I now have a wonderful white Arabian mare, but I still want to find this movie. It's hopeless because I don't even know its name. This is such a longshot, but I thought maybe you would know, it's been driving me nuts for years. If you tell me there's no such movie, I'll believe you.

Your devoted fan, Natalie (and Snow Princess)

Hi Natalie! You're not crazy, and you're not the only one who's looking for this movie. Before I continue, I want to make a deal with you: If you find it, let me know, and I'll do the same for you.

The movie you've been searching for is called "Snowfire." It came out in 1957 or 1958, I can't remember which, and yes, it was about a little girl and a wild white stallion. The plot was complicated and not at all realistic, but I, too, remember it as a very enjoyable movie. ;-)

The story: The little girl lives with her sister and her father (a widower) on a ranch, and everyone on all the local ranches, including her father's romantic interest, a conveniently unmarried woman rancher, is trying to catch the wonderful white stallion called Snowfire. The little girl - Molly - manages to find the stallion and make friends with him, and - this is where it gets a little complicated - she can talk to him, and he talks to her. She tells her family about this, and naturally nobody believes her.

Her father decides to try to capture the horse for his sweetheart, who is also hunting the stallion, and Molly hears about their plans. She runs off to warn the stallion, and gets hurt - I think she has a fall (nothing to do with the stallion, I think she was climbing rocks to get a better view, and slipped). Since she is there in good time to warn the stallion, he COULD escape without being seen, but he stays with her and deliberately rears when the cowboys arrive, so that they will come over and find little Molly. They do, and the stallion still manages to escape, but the cowboys think that he was the cause of Molly's accident.

When Molly is recovering at home, the stallion is worried about her and comes to the ranch to find her. She seems to be slipping in and out of consciousness, thinks she's having a conversation with her (dead) mother, but knows that the horse is there, and tells everyone (naturally, everyone from her ranch and the neighbour's ranch is at her bedside). Snowfire whinnies, and Molly's father sends one of his cowboys out to shoot it, because he still thinks that the stallion caused the accident.

While this is going on, Molly tells her father that she's been talking to her mother (in heaven?), and that her mother sent her back (to earth?) because her father needs her more right now. She mentions that her mother was sad that she fell off the rock and got hurt. This makes her father and his sweetheart understand that the horse wasn't involved in Molly's accident, so they decide he doesn't need to be killed, and are happy when the cowboy comes back in and reports that he shot at the stallion and missed.

The movie could have ended right here, if not for the fact that everyone still wants the stallion. The ranch owners may have decided to leave the horse alone, but the cowboys are still determined to catch him, and they plan - remember, I said it wasn't very realistic - to set a forest fire and catch him when he's running from the fire. Molly's father and his sweetheart find out about this plan and stop it.

Molly has a long talk with Snowfire and tells her father that he and the horse can come to an arrangement that will suit them both. The horse will come to the ranch and live there, but he doesn't want to be branded, and he doesn't want to be locked in the corral. If they'll leave the corral open at night, he'll come and live there. Molly's father is worried that she may be a little bit loopy - he's still not at all sure about this "Snowfire talks to me" claim - but tells her that he'll go along with the plan provided that if the stallion doesn't come to the ranch, Molly will have to stop saying that the stallion talks. He's sure that the horse won't come, Molly is equally certain that it will come. They wait - there's some kind of signal, but I've forgotten what, maybe a flag on the barn? - and the horse doesn't come for a very long time. They're about to give up and go in, and Molly is crying and saying that Snowfire DOES talk and that he WILL show up, when - ta-da! - the stallion gallops up to the ranch, enters the corral, and stops right in front of Molly, to her father's total amazement.

The branding-iron episode is another flight of fantasy - if I remember correctly, there's a point at which Molly's father tells her that branding doesn't hurt the horses, then little Molly picks up the hot iron and starts to brand herself. When her father grabs it away from her, she asks him if he fibbed to her about it not hurting. ;-)

I believe that the girl who played Molly was actually named Molly - possibly Molly McGowan. I don't remember who the other actors were, or what the characters' names were, although I think that Molly's father was called Mike. I don't know who directed the movie, or what studio produced it. I've looked in a lot of movie and video guides, and haven't ever seen it mentioned. I do remember liking the soundtrack. Whether it would hold up well today, who knows, but I too would like to watch it again and find out.

Good luck finding it - I can't say that I've been searching for it, exactly, but I've been keeping an eye out for it, and haven't seen it or heard anything about it in many, many years. But at least now you know that you weren't dreaming and you aren't crazy.

By the way, I can't help but wonder about your mare's name... Snow Princess? It seems to me that if you're the one who named her, then somewhere in your subconscious, you might have remembered a little more about the movie than you thought you did!


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