The Ride of the Electric Horseman

Dear George,

Did you ever see the movie The Electric Horseman? You may ask, “What has this to do with survival?” You be the judge if you have seen it. If you have not, please watch it. It stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

Reason I mention it is the escape scene makes me cry every time I see it. Robert is an alcoholic ex-rodeo champion who does advertising events for a cereal company riding a beautiful horse whose appearance has been augmented with steroids.

His hat and outfit are outlined with electric lights, a very dramatic effect.

One day, the cowboy can’t stand it any more, the artificiality of it all, for him and his horse.

He rides off the stage on his horse, rides through the theater lobby and off into the dark streets of the city. As he rides into the night, he turns off the lights and disappears from view.

His sponsor has the police searching for the rider and his horse. Soon they have them surrounded in a small town. He opens the gate of the horse trailer and starts his dash for freedom.

The police spot them and pursue on motorcycles and cruisers. He dodges through peoples’ back yards and clothes lines until he comes to the edge of town. There is a ridge of land where he begins his high speed attempt at freedom., followed closely by cruisers. He coaxes his poor drugged up horse for the run of its life, and his.

I have tears as I write this.

Does this make sense, George, I mean the whole scene? He and the horse are my heroes, but then I think, do they also stand for Americans, people everywhere, who are dependent upon electricity and are degraded by artificiality?

They do escape, and he prepares to free the horse into the western open land, where there are wild horses. The heroine asks if the pampered horse can possibly survive such a harsh life. The Electric Horseman says, “At least he has a chance.”

Is freedom worth it, George? Do we also have a chance?

Your friend,