Custer is a ruthless and honorable soldier in a 2002 cartoon
CUSTER IN ANIMATION
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is an animated film that was released in 2002 by DreamWorks Pictures. General Custer is simply named "The Colonel".
The movie opens with a continuous shot of a bald eagle soaring through the mustang's homeland until it flies over the mustang's herd. The scene following, which is the mustang's birth, is the opening to the actual story. There is a selection of scenes from the colt's formative years as he grows into a stallion, taking control of a herd of horses living in the Cimarron Territory like his father, and learns that 'with great honour, comes great responsibility'. Part of his role as herd leader is shown when he fights a cougar that attacks two of the herd's foals.
After becoming too curious for his own good and investigating a human camp, he is captured with ropes after a long chase and is sold to the United States Army, who at the time of the movie are fighting the Indian Wars. There he encounters a Colonel (based on Colonel Custer; in the film he is known simply as "The Colonel"), who sees the stallion as a symbol of the West he is setting out to conquer, so he tries to conquer the mustang too.
After leaving the army's farrier unconscious, The Colonel decides it is time to break the mustang, and men in the Army volunteer to ride him. The mustang bucks, rears and throws them all off. The Colonel orders for the horse to be tied to 'the post' for three days, no food or water. During this time, a Lakota American Indian named Little Creek is brought into the fort and tied to the [human] post. In the night, one of Little Creek's friends throws him a knife, which he quickly hides as the bugle sounds. This marks the end of the three days, and the Colonel rides the mustang.
After attempting all of the tactics that defeated his former opponents and failing to buck the colonel off his back, the stallion is exhausted, and the Colonel believes he has broken the wild horse. Three horses are tied to a post outside the corral and look down in shame when the mustang does not buck the Colonel off his back. While the colonel delivers a stirring speech to his men, the mustang attempts to throw him once more, by snatching the reins, breaking the saddle's girth, and sending the Colonel flying, breaking the corral fence in the process. The infuriated colonel attempts to shoot him, and Little Creek uses the distraction to escape with the mustang, and releases all the other horses. The horse is relieved for a minute, but is distracted by a paint horse, and captured by Little Creek's friends.
After failing to tame the mustang, Little Creek ties him and the paint horse, his own mare named Rain, together. Rain shows the mustang her world of the Lakota village, and in time the mustang grows to like the Lakota and feel a growing affection for Rain. His affections for Rain, however, do not soften his want to be free.
During an attack on the Lakota village by the Army regiment led by the Colonel, Rain is shot by the Colonel and the mustang is determined to save her. Rain falls into a river, and the mustang leaps in after her in a rescue attempt. After falling off a waterfall and lying on the bank with a badly hurt and severely exhausted Rain all night, the mustang is once again captured by the Army. Little Creek is determined to free the mustang once and for all, and follows the men who captured the stallion.
The mustang is used as a workhorse for the Transcontinental Railroad. As he and many other horses are dragging the train engine up a mountain, the mustang realizes that if the track extends along its present course, it will infringe on his homeland. He plays dead and manages to set the other workhorses free and escapes with just a chain on his neck streaming behind him as he runs away from the engine. Without the other horses' support, the engine slips, rolls over, and slides rapidly down the mountain after the mustang. He barely gets away when the engine hits stored gunpowder and causes an explosion, sending sparks everywhere. A forest fire results, and he leaps over a log; the chain catches on the log, but Little Creek catches up to the mustang at this point and frees him. They leap into a river to escape the fire.
When the mustang wakes in the morning, he spends short time playing in a lake and on the grass with Little Creek before the Colonel and his men find them. In desperation, Little Creek sends the mustang running. Realizing Little Creek is in danger, the mustang runs back and pushes Little Creek on his back.
During the climatic chase scene between and on canyon walls, the two get trapped on a plateau. As the Colonel and his army get closer, there is no way to go except to jump over a large gorge. In a spectacular leap of faith, the mustang and Little Creek jump across to the other side. The soldiers do not attempt to follow. The Colonel stops one of his men from shooting the two, and exchanges nods of respect with the mustang before they part.
The mustang races back to the rebuilt Lakota village with Little Creek still on his back, where he finds Rain still alive. The horses share a so-happy-it-makes-you-cry moment, and Little Creek finally gives the Mustang a name: Spirit, Who-Could-Not-Be-Broken. Little Creek sets Spirit and Rain free, and they race back to Spirit's herd, racing the Eagle along the way to the song "I will Always Return".
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