The Man From Snowy River

The Man From Snowy River” is, in my opinion, one of the best horse movies of all time.

The movie is based on a classic poem in Australian literature by A.B. ‘Banjo’ Patterson. The poem ‘The Man From Snowy River’ was first published in ‘The Bulletin’, Sydney, Australia, 26 April 1890.

Movie Trailer

The Poem

The Man from Snowy River
by Andrew Barton Paterson

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up-
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony – three parts thoroughbred at least –
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t say die –
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, “That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop-lad, you’d better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.”
So he waited sad and wistful – only Clancy stood his friend –
“I think we ought to let him come,” he said;
“I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.”

“He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.”

So he went – they found the horses by the big mimosa clump –
They raced away towards the mountain’s brow,
And the old man gave his orders, “Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.”

So Clancy rode to wheel them – he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their sway,
Were mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, “We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side.”

When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat –
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.

Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound in their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Advertisements

About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Man From Snowy River

  1. Chancy and Mumsy says:

    One of my favorite movies. Hubby watches it every time it is on TV. I love movies with horses. Hugs

  2. I agree! Another movie that I think deserves a look at is the recently remade True Grit. I tire of watching movies where horses travel 90 miles an hour for 6 days straight without them faltering. Non experienced riders actually believe horses can do this! (OK, so I exaggerate on the days and speed but you get the idea). In true grit after the girl is snake bit, Rooster Cogburn runs her horse into the ground trying to save the girl. It is a reminder that animals can be abused to the point of death by our over exerting them. I’ve watched day riders return their horses back to the rental stables here in Florida in horrible condition, limping and dehydration are common sites.
    The movie is realistic and while it was essential the girl get medical help, it also points out that the horse paid for it’s travel with its life.

    • tbnranch says:

      Great movie, I agree. I’m afraid back in the old days horses were just considered disposable. Sad but true.

      • True, although in the movie the girl loves the horse. I guess if we had no cars and everyone had horses they may be looked at more as a means of transportation than a pet.

  3. I just watched that movie last week. It’s still one of my favorites. 🙂

  4. Love this….yah this is my all time favorite movie too…and the horse looked like a mare my Dad had at the time that I grew up with….she was exact with the Grulla coloring…and he was such a incredible man…wow….loved the movie and have it and watch it over and over.

    • tbnranch says:

      Did you know the famous decent down the mountain was actual footage? Another interesting fact is Jim Craig learned to ride ON THE SET. incredible.

      • Wow he was a natural then…I thought he had ridden for years by the way he sat and rode….yes I had heard that about the mountain decent…loved the horse:)

Comments are closed.