Despite having sworn off wildlife documentaries--thanks to Mozu the Snow Monkey and her disability and her living in the snow and her depression sitting listlessly by the freezing river after her baby died and I just can't possibly handle another one ever I KNOW Mozu's peeps took good care of her and accepted her disability and I don't care how good March of the Penguins is I DON'T want to see it or I may die--I watched PBS Nature tonight anyway.
Tonight's episode was called Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies. I watched it while Bubba was falling asleep in my arms (I know! Bad mother! Gosh, he's cute.)
The filmmaker, Ginger Kathrens, happens to be filming the wild stallions when she sees the birth of a rare all-white colt. Well, not really--it's all very respectful as she watches the mare leave the herd for the night, fade to sunset, and then the mare trots back the next day with her trotting little white foal next to her. (Dude--mare? Nice work. I wasn't trotting anywhere the day after I had a baby, and he only weighed eight pounds.)
Ginger names the colt Cloud, because he is lovely and white. She fears for his safety because of his lack of camouflage but is also drawn to him. (Jeff, who was brought up in the mountains, knows something of the harsh realities of nature, UNLIKE ME, and lost many childhood cats to coyotes. So now he calls white cats "coyote marshmallows.") When she returns to the mountain, her worries of Cloud turning into a mountain lion marshmallow have not been realized, yippee! But per wild horse herd society, he has been kicked out of his band by the lead stallion who only keeps mares around. So Cloud has joined a herd of roving bachelors, and they frolic in the woods and do man-things, as near as I can tell. The blush of innocence and youth, I tell you. But don't think I don't see that hawk circling, Ginger, and hear that ominous music! I do!
So much for your adolescent games of kick each other in the head, young Cloud and friends, because then--THEN--the Government sends helicopters to round up the herds, something about keeping the population of wild horses in control. Helicopters scare the horses into running into a trap, and then they I CAN'T WATCH THIS! TURN IT OFF!
When I tune back in, the filmmaker has her own pet wild horse, and Cloud has somehow survived the weeding out and is roaming free once again. He is looking to score himself some mares. He is persistent. He trails one herd for months, hoping to oust the band stallion. They fight. Cloud limps into the sunset. Will he live? Will he ever be able to have his own band of mares? I CAN'T WATCH THIS! TURN IT OFF!
WAIT! I NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS! DOES CLOUD LIVE? Deep breath. Tune back in.
Another spring has come to Arrowhead Mountain. The filmmaker returns, searches for Cloud. He has many battle scars on his now yellowish white coat, but he is bold and majestic as ever. He fights with another stallion. Still in search of his own herd.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountain, "another drama is unfolding." A new foal has been born, and it can't get up. Its mother, and even its father the head stallion (!) try gently to get it to trot along up the mountain with them in search of water, but its legs won't work. So another herd comes along and they leave it there. OKAY, I REALLY CAN'T WATCH THIS.
A mare from another herd comes upon the defenseless, disabled foal.
TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!
Now I'm so totally tortured and sick about this poor foal left to die on the side of the mountain that I think I may throw up. And here I was thinking that finally someone has made a nature show where NOBODY DIES. Ha! Is that too much to ask? (I know, it is.) Cloud makes it through all this adversity and then a little foal has to be born that can't walk? (Note: A glance through the interview with the filmmaker reveals that Looking Glass the stallion kills the foal. Oh my heavens, I'm glad I turned it off.) It's not fair. But wait. I still have to see if Cloud lives. Sigh. Tune back in.
So it ends with Cloud and the mare who stayed back to see the dying foal are together and have started a herd. They bonded and have been together ever since.
High drama, murder, polygamy, violence, adversity, pansy women swooning and crying in their homes that don't have much nature in them except the rat that is making off with all our compost--it's all here on Nature. Apparently there is an episode two: Cloud's Legacy: The Wild Stallion Returns. And a third in the works! That's all fine and good except I am never, EVER, watching another wildlife documentary again as long as I live. Ginger, you are a fine filmmaker. You have scored an amazing career. But JEEPERS, Ginger! The foal?