In 1914, Lucky, a young foal, is born aboard a German supply steamer transporting his mother and other workhorses to Africa. Soon parted from his mother and terribly vulnerable, the foal is adopted by an orphaned stable boy in a mining town. When the town evacuates due to encroaching war, Lucky is abandoned and ventures into the surrounding desert.
Following the lead of a young Bushman girl and later an Oryx antelope, the foal learns how to survive in the harsh setting. Lucky’s journey eventually leads him back to the destroyed mining town where he protects a young mare, Beauty, and undertakes a heroic mission to defeat Caesar, a domineering stallion.
Not much new in this dramatic family adventure: a colt is born, separated from its mother, mistreated, befriended by a youngster, then comes the moment of truth and the happy ending. Still, it is well told with life lessons. Using horses or dogs as archetypes has always been an effective way to teach a parable to children. “Running Free” does just that. The film addresses subjects such as the wrongs of prejudice, unfairness and slavery, while alerting children that although the world can be a difficult place, we can overcome its brutality and disappointments. Aimed at children, the absorbing narrative and quality production values should keep parents interested as well.