Beloved Outlaw(Episode 5.11)

Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Winston Miller
Written by True Boardman
Directed by William Witney

I’ve only seen it once before ...

Episode scene:

Elizabeth Grainger has taken on the task of taming a wild stallion. The Virginian tells her grandfather John that he’s only seen one other horse respond to its owner the way Aladdin responds to Elizabeth. By talking gently to the stallion, bringing him carrots, and patiently waiting for him to approach her, Elizabeth establishes a unique bond with Aladdin, who eventually allows her to bridle, saddle and ride him when no one else can. In one scene he playfully nudges her from behind while she is picking wildflowers, and in another, when she is thrown and injured, he returns to her side. Eventually she concludes it’s best to release him back with his herd of wild mares.

Quotations from the book (Chapter 23):

“Shorty is kind to animals,” [the Virginian] said. “He has gentled that hawss Pedro he bought with his first money. Gentled him wonderful. When a man is kind to dumb animals, I always say he has got some good in him.”

(Chapter 25):

Balaam accompanied his guest, Shorty, when he went to the pasture to saddle up and depart. “Got a rope?” he asked the guest, as they lifted down the bars.
“Don’t need to rope him. I can walk right up to Pedro. You stay back.”
Hiding his bridle behind him, Shorty walked to the riverbank, where the pony was switching his long tail in the shade; and speaking persuasively to him, he came nearer, till he laid his hand on Pedro’s dusky mane, which was many shades darker than his hide. He turned expectantly, and his master came up to his expectations with a piece of bread.
“Eats that, does he?” said Balaam, over the bars.
“Likes the salt,” said Shorty, “Now, n-n-ow, here! Yu’ don’t guess yu’ll be bridled, don’t you? Open your teeth! Yu’d like to play yu’ was nobody’s horse and live private? Or maybe yu’d prefer ownin’ a saloon?”
Pedro evidently enjoyed this talk, and the dodging he made about the bit. Once fairly in his mouth, he accepted the inevitable, and followed Shorty to the bars.

Additional comments:

  1. Like Elizabeth, Shorty gives up his horse Pedro, not to run free, but because Shorty is out of work and needs the money. He sells him to the abusive Balaam and promises his equine friend he will come buy him back. Sadly, by the time he earns enough money, Pedro is dead, shot by Balaam after he breaks Pedro’s leg.
  2. Other series characters have traits in common with Shorty, notably Trampas and Randy. Both these cowhands have Shorty’s yellow hair and both are especially kind to animals. In “The Stallion,” Randy rescues a black stallion whose owner/trainer mistreats him in order to make money from cowboys who bet they can ride him. And in It Takes A Big Man Trampas becomes incensed when the son of Judge Garth’s friend breaks a horse and then continues to pull on the horse’s mouth.
  3. The description of Shorty’s horse with his mane “many shades darker than his hide” sounds like Pedro is a buckskin, the same as the horse Trampas rides on the show.

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(Compilation © 2004 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)