Spirit Rider
directed by Michael J.F. Scott
(Bonneville, 2003)

Jesse (Herbie Barnes) has been bouncing from foster home to foster home since he was 2, and he thinks he's finally found a place he can call home. The mom obviously wants to keep him, but the social workers say he's got to move back to the reservation for repatriotation.

He knew his grandfather, who is his only living kin, had spent time in jail, but he hadn't been prepared for the living conditions on the rez. Joe Gordon (Tootoosis) lives in an old boxcar with no electricity, and when he talks about taking a ride, he means on a horse. Jesse quickly learns that the dirt roads of the rez are no fit training grounds for the Tour De France, which he was hoping to win on his bicycle.

But, when Paul LeBlanc (Adam Beach) tells him he doesn't belong there, leaving is the last thing on his mind. This is especially so since Camilla (Michelle St. John) has caught his eye. The rivalry for Camilla only intensifies when both boys enter the Yellow Quill race.

The story in this made-for-television film is very similar to that of Smoke Signals. The tale relates to a fire and the saving of a child. Both are well done and likable for different reasons, though I think Spirit Rider is more appropriate for younger audiences.

review by
Becky Kyle

26 July 2008

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