Unbranded (2015) Script

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[dog barks]

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[groans]


[man] He keeps getting ’em in and getting--

Gilley, you cannot eat this stuff.

[man #2] If you can get in there, just pull it out like a comb.

Ohh!

-[man #2] You all right? -Sh-- [groans]

[man #3] Shit!

He’s got that crap all in him.

-[man #2] Yeah. -[man #1] You all right, Jon?


I think maybe we should pick out the 20 that we most like.

-That’s what I was gonna say. -And take the 10 out of those, or 12.

[man #1] I like some of this bunch.

-[man #2] Which one do you want? -The bigger one.

Yeah, with the-- Yep.

What’s going on here is we’re taking--

Each of these pens has about 30 horses.

We’re bringing them into an alley and analyzing them, looking at their feet, looking at their back, their heads.

Then we’re gonna take them into a separate pen, then do our final cut to get our string.

Three years ago, a couple of friends and I rode through several states in the West.

We were on a budget and we needed horses, so we went and adopted some wild mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management.

The mustangs we adopted were pretty cheap, but they outperformed our domestic horses in every way.

After that ride, I couldn’t stop thinking about all those horses still in the holding pens.

And I wanted to do something about it.

I wanted to prove the worth of these mustangs.

My idea was a much more difficult journey, this time using only mustangs that my three friends and I would adopt and train.

We’re gonna take these horses, and we’re gonna ride them from Mexico to Canada, through the wildest terrain in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.


My entire life, I’ve always heard negative things about mustangs.

I really considered that to be our largest liability as far as taking this trip on.

And steppin’ into a round pen, a very small area with a wild animal, it’s almost crazy.

[man] Take the right rope.

[Glover] Just keep your head on a swivel.

Keep your awareness about ’em and never get complacent, because as soon as you get calm and comfortable around ’em, that’s when they’ll kick or bite you.

[man] Don’t release when he’s kicking out.

We have 13 wild horses for this trip, and it’s gonna take four months to train ’em.

Two professional trainers, Jerry Jones and Lanny Leach, are gonna take ’em for the first 30 days.

After that, we’re gonna train the horses for another three months and get ’em ready for the trip.

The word that many people use for wild horses is mustangs, and that’s not a particular breed or a species.

That’s just a folksy word for the wild horses we have on the western landscape.

Not even to take on the whole “are they native or are they feral,” but the question of, “Do these horses have a right to be here?” Yeah, absolutely they do.

Right. So...

[Masters] Tom, Ben, Jonny and I all went to school together at Texas A&M University.

We just graduated, and it is the perfect time in our lives to go on a big adventure like this.

[Thamer] I knew Ben in high school.

Then Ben moved to San Angelo, but we stayed in touch.

And Ben was always doing stuff that I was like, “I should be doing that.” You know what this is.

I mean, I was doing what Mom and Dad might say, or what society would say is like, “Well, that’s good.

That’s gonna help you get another step ahead when you go look for a job.” While I’m doing all that, I’m looking over, and Ben’s like, “Well, I’m riding from Mexico to Canada.

I’m gonna skip school and guide elk hunts.” And I’m thinking the whole time, “Man, if I was honest with myself, that’s what I’d want to do.” For the next 60 days, they’re a loaded gun with the safety off.

-So-- -Yeah.

All right, buddy, here it comes.

[chanting] Tom. Tom. Tom. Tom.

Keep that left foot forward.

My dad’s very excited about the trip.

Um, he thinks we’re crazy for using mustangs.

One of his great passions in life is breeding and raising horses.

You know, there’s no selection other than natural selection that goes into mustang breeding.

It’s good for us in the sense that these are very hardy animals.

It’s bad in that they all have a very deep-rooted wild streak.

Good.

[Masters] We have a lot in common with these horses.

There’s not enough room out there for them.

And sometimes I feel like there’s not enough room out there for us.

I’m not a hundred percent confident these horses are ready, to be really honest.

One, two, three.

I vacillate between being scared to death and absolutely thrilled for them.

But the way I’m going to approach it is every day that we don’t hear something tragic or negative will be the great day.

We’ll just move on to the next.

I’m excited, but I’m scared to death.

[praying] ...and you will hold us in your hand.

There’s a lot of unknowns. You wake up at 3:00 a.m.

You’re laying there in bed and something wakes you up, and you’re just kinda, “Okay, what’s going on?”

-I’ll be safe. -Oh, I know you will be.

[woman] We talk about the horses. Are the horses ready?

I’m worried about the horses flipping out on a narrow trail and them going down, so that’s my fear.

-Don’t do anything stupid. -I’ll try not to.

-I love ya. -I love you too.

The boys are probably a little overconfident.

But if they weren’t, they wouldn’t try it.

I’d rather ’em be that than scared to do it.

All right, buddy, I’ll see you.


[switching radio channels]

[norteño playing]

¡Vamos a Canadá!

I’m in Mexico!

[Thamer] You just push the button that has the camera on it. Right.

-[Joseph] I got one too. -[men laughing]

-[man] What do you think, Jonny? -I think it’s time to go.

The past six months we’ve been planning to do it.

Let’s do it.

Been waiting for this for a long time.

It’s hard to believe we’re here.

-Good luck, buddy. -Thanks, Dad.

-See you up the trail. -Yes, sir.

[Glover] Yee-haw! ¡Adios, Méjico!

[Masters] Well, the easy part’s over now.

[Thamer] Oh, you stole my line.

You stole my line.

[Thamer] I don’t think there’s enough quit in any of us that we’re not gonna make it.

If we didn’t make it, it darn sure wouldn’t be for a stupid reason.

It wouldn’t be because, you know, I just couldn’t get over Tom’s smelly feet.

It’s not gonna be ’cause of that kinda stuff.

If we don’t finish, I’d like to see what it is that makes us not finish, which maybe that’s the whole point of the trip.

[Masters] Come on. You can do it.

-[Thamer] We’re not lost. -[Masters] That a boy.

No, we’re definitely not lost, but it is very dark.

Damn fences.

[sighs]

[Masters] You’re only as good as the tools you have.

In my case, I’m only as good as the maps that I have.

What I read is a 30-mile day, which is listed inside of the guidebook, turned into a 40-mile day that took us into two o’clock in the morning.

I just wanna get somewhere where I can lay down and sleep.

I don’t really care about eating.

I would like to never do that again.

Okay, off to the next stop and meet the boys for the night.

My name is Val Geissler.

I come from Cody, Wyoming.

Gotta make sure there’s water at the next trailhead.

I’m primarily here to help the boys out in the state of Arizona because it’s real rugged country, little water, and it takes a fair amount of logistical support and planning to adequately supply the horses and to make sure that portion of the trip goes smooth.

I gotta have somebody who will shuttle.

There’s a old saying:

Good judgment comes from experience.

Experience comes from bad judgment.

And sometimes that bad judgment can be pretty horrific.

[Thamer] This side of the wall.

I first met Ben in a pack trip he was doing.

And he had mustangs with him, and I have a long background with mustangs.

I think they’re great horses and well adapted for this sort of situation, and that’s where this whole thing kinda got started out.

[Masters] Hey, Val!

You guys wanna, uh, tie the horses up outside here?

It’s one thing about today worked out smooth as snot was them coming in as we got here.

To Korjal and all your help. Thank you.

[Thamer] I think we’re fooling ourselves because we have Val.

Is that more? [laughing]

This is gonna become a whole different trip after we lose Val.

[Glover] I grew up in the suburbs of Houston.

We had horses out at our family farm, and that’s where I learned how to ride and really fell in love with riding horses, and, uh, I’d try to get out there as much as I could.

The whole time I was there, I was riding bareback, uh, falling off, giving my mom a heart attack how much I fell off those horses.

But really learn, you know, just to enjoy riding.

Sixty miles away from us is the Superstition Mountains, which I’ve heard are just incredible.

But between here and there is a flat cactus-infested--

Apparently, it’s just big, big cholla flats.

Which is a cactus that has little segments.

You go by it and they break off and just attach to you, attach to the horses.

And once we get past this next 60 miles, I’ll feel better about getting into Canada.

Yeah, it’ll be a test.

You all right, Jon?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Yeah, this is gonna be a frickin’ bear.

He’s got this crap all in him.

Shit.

Okay.

Oh! Shit.

[man] We found a pair.

[Masters] How are you gonna get these off, Ben?

[Thamer] Give him some xylazine or some bute.

[Fitzsimons] He has ’em all over his ass.

[Thamer] They’re everywhere.

You can’t get those off standing back there.

All right, let’s, uh, get the hell out of here.

[Fitzsimons] Yeah.

[Masters] It took a few days to get the cactus out, but after that, we were all wondering what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into.


If they’re reproducing at 20% a year, then obviously we can all do the math.

We’re going to have too many wild horses on the range.

It’s completely irresponsible to say let ’em run and let them self-regulate.

A lot of people will say just let nature take its course.

And I always like to say we can’t do that because of man’s influence.

Wild populations now don’t have the ability to migrate hundreds and hundreds of miles because of railroads and highways and fences.

There’s a term, an acronym, it’s AML, and you will hear that.

If you’re on the BLM, you’ll hear it.

And what AML is is Appropriate Management Level.

And what that appropriate management level is is the number of animals that that land can handle and support.

The only solution that BLM has come up with that’s been somewhat socially acceptable is to take those horses, put them in captivity for the rest of their lives.

Well, it’s a no-rules trip.

When I have a down day, I do whatever the hell I want.

You horses know how to take turns. I like that.

I’m maybe the only one on the trail who’ll say this, but there are times doing this, this sucks.

It’s miserable.

Oh, shit. Oh!

[Thamer] As far as the horses go--

Don’t do it!

Every one of them has a weird quirk where it’s just a pain to deal with on some level.

Whoa.

-Damn. -[horse whinnies]

They’re your partners on this thing. You have to get used to what--

Just like with the other guys on the trail.

Really?

Get up! Get up! Get up! Come here. Come on.

Get up. Get up.

-Goddamn it. -[men laughing]

[Masters] You refreshed?

Something I’ve learned about myself on the trail, and I’ve known this.

But I’m either really in a good mood and wanna have fun.

[singing, indistinct]

Or I’m just a grouchy, negative bastard.

Get the fuck outta here with that shit.

And my horses, Gil and Simmie, kind of, you know--

The horse is the mirror to your soul.

Gil is very much like happy-go-lucky Ben.

Oh, you better stop that, Gilley.

He is kind of the trip dog.

I let him run loose most of the time if I’m not riding him.

Then Simmie-- Simmie’s business Ben.

Like, he’s grouchy. Doesn’t put up with much shit.

This guy, he’s not a morning horse. He’s lazy. He complains a lot in the mornings.

That’s definitely me, so--

Violet was the horse that at the beginning I thought wouldn’t make it.

He was skinny. He wasn’t obeying very well.

And since we’ve begun, he has muscled up.

He’s gained probably a hundred pounds.

He’s still stepping out strong, and he is-- he’s the perfect trail horse.

And that is fastly becoming my favorite horse.

[Geissler] I don’t know if you can--

Let me hold his--

-You see this big muscle right here? -Mm-hmm.

-You don’t see it there. -Oh, yeah.

What he’s done is-- It’s basically a pop-eyed muscled.

That muscle’s been torn in two, so this horse is done.

-Oh, man. -And, uh--

Uh, I’ll talk to Ben about what we do.

I mean, to put it real blunt, I could have killed Violet.

I’ll never leave a halter on a horse again.

Good.

I just wish it wasn’t my best horse.

Are you certain that there’s no-- there’s no going back?

I mean, he’s done?

He’s done for this ride. I’ll let you read--

[Masters] There’s no doubt I put it in a position where it could have gotten hurt, and all it did was reach up to scratch its face, and the shoe that I put on there caught it by the halter and tore its leg, and, you know, fortunately, the halter broke.

But if it hadn’t, that horse would have killed himself.

I got the trailer. I got Smokey.

Ain’t any problem for me to pack him back home for ya.

We can always pray for a miracle. I don’t have a problem with that.

[Masters] Before Violet got injured, Jonny said, “Listen, that horse can get injured with that halter.” And I kind of blew him off, thinking this is the way that I’ve seen it done in the backcountry.

He said, “All right.

I’m just gonna warn you that that horse could get hurt.” And he was right.

[Fitzsimons] My grandfather, Jonathan Calvert, who I’m named after, uh, was a marine.

And he’s always been a big inspiration.

In addition to being a marine, he’s also a big adventurer.

He climbed the tallest mountain in every continent except for Everest.

He made it halfway up Everest and had to turn around because of weather when he was 73 years old.

People have said that I’m like him and that we were both born with “G” on one foot and “O” on the other.

We both like to cover country.


[Glover] Wow! Look at this view.

Whoo! Look at this trail!

[Fitzsimons] Leading up to the Grand Canyon, I was a little nervous about it.

We couldn’t find anyone who had taken horses rim to rim.

[Thamer] I hope we don’t die.

[Masters] Oh, dear God.

Oh, oh, oh. [gasps]

[Thamer] Man, if there’s a snake or a loose rock or a plastic bag or anything, we’re all dead.

Holy shit!

This is scary.


[Masters] Whose idea was it to go through the Grand Canyon?

[Glover] Just the way it had to be done.

[Thamer] Oh, God, Simmie, no!

[Fitzsimons] Don’t look down, Tamale.

[Masters] Aah!

-[laughs] -[Glover] Holy smokes.

[Thamer] Oh, my gosh, dude.

[Masters] Now I understand why nobody takes horses through the Grand Canyon.

It’s bad. [chuckles]

It’s real bad.

We did it.

[man] We’re proud of you guys.

It took us two days. How long did it take you guys?

-[man] Six and a half hours. -Oh.

Go on. Get your fill.

[laughing]

[shouts]

Go, go, go, go!

[men shout]

[Thamer] Hi-yo Silver!

[men shouting]

You’re bleeding from your mouth.

I just got shot!

[men laughing]

[Thamer] Morons. I am surrounded by morons.

[men] Round ’em up! Hey!

[Glover] But you do get bored sitting on the horse.

I’ll be honest. You get bored.

And we all have books in our saddlebags, and it’s funny looking back and seeing everybody on their horse, the reigns around the horn, reading a book.

Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’m not really sure why I’m reading it, but I’m kind of sucked in, so when I finish it, I think Tom’s got it next, and then Ben’s gonna read it after him.

[sighs]

He’s kind of holding his gut up a little bit.

[Geissler] Yeah.

I mean, we can all tell that he’s certainly not normal.

I think that’s the first thing I’d better do is run by Kevin’s and let him make an evaluation and go from there.

[Fitzsimons] I came down here this morning and Tamale is lame.

We’re going to take him into the vet in Kanab, see what it is, and hopefully it’s not too bad, and I’ll get my buddy back in a couple days.

It’s been great being with my boys for this period of time, and I need to get back up into Wyoming.

Cindy and I take care of a Forest Service cabin in the mountains.

I look forward to see ’em in a couple of months when they ride through.

You guys’ll do great. You got off to a great start.

You done a great job, and I, uh--

I can’t tell you...

what it’s meant to me, and that--

-[Geissler] Love ya. -Thanks so much. I love you too.

-[Geissler] Do good! -You’re the man.

-We’ll see ya. see you on the other side. -Val, love you.

Love you too. Here I go getting soft again.

-[Masters] Bye. -Okay.

-We’ll be in touch, Val. -Oh, you bet we’ll be in touch.

-See you later. -You drive safe.

Thanks.

[Glover] He had mentioned to us he was picturing his son doing what we’re doing as if he was alive.

You know, it got really emotional and teary and all that stuff.

You just see his love for what we’re doing, and for us.

[Geissler] Forty-some odd years ago, my four-year-old boy was kicked and killed by a horse.

I see-- I see in the boys maybe what--

what my boy might have been.

-Got it all taken care of. -Sounds good, Val.

Well, thank you very much.

“Tamale bowed a tendon.”

-Blew a tendon? -Bowed.

Bowed.

-[Masters] Gee, I’m sorry. -[Fitzsimons] He’s out.

[Fitzsimons] Let’s hope we’ll keep the rest of the horses healthy and don’t have any more injuries, because definitely breaks your heart to see one of these guys go after they’ve pulled through so far.

Look at him. [laughs]

Oh, J.R.

Who’s the happy horsey?

Well, here’s to 700 miles completed and only...

2,300 left to go.

One state down.

Whoo! Yee-hoo!

[trilling] Ha ha ha!

[Glover] Adios, Arizona!

[Masters] Without Val, our main concern is finding water in this arid landscape in southern Utah.

And there’ll be days where we’re gonna have to go 20 miles just to go from one water source to the next.

[Garrott] We have a lot of public land in the West, and that public land seems limitless when you drive across it, but it is limited.


People don’t understand how hard it is to make a living here and just how much space it takes for a thousand-pound animal to make a living.

When you look out across the dry lake, there’s a dry lake.

There’s no forage out there whatsoever.

So along the edges of this, we had some green up, and through management practices of the BLM, we’ve concentrated livestock, both domestic and the wild horses, in these areas.

Here you see this plant is eat-out and the crown is completely exposed.

There’s another one here and here. These are going to die.

About all we have left, plants like this, which is halogeton, highly toxic to domestic livestock.

And this is a prime example of a poisonous, noxious weed that comes in and disturbs surfaces.

That’s very appetizing to a cow.

A couple of plants of that, she’ll go to water and be dead.

Livestock can be managed by the season of use that they graze an area.

If we have an area where there’s not enough forage or not enough water, the livestock are going to be removed.

Wild horses, on the other hand, you know, that’s a challenge because they graze 24/7, 365 days a year.

These cattle are going home for the winter.

They’re not gonna be here.

But the horses in the Diamond Complex will be here trying to winter.

They will eat sage when they’re starved.

And as you can see, there’s absolutely no forage value in this.

And when horses are hungry and they chew this up and eat it, it’ll literally make a crow’s nest in their intestines.

And when it does, they will colic and they will die.

[Thamer] Tonight for dinner, we will have corn bread and yellow rice jambalaya with our Sea-Monkeys.

I’m rather skeptical

’cause I’m not the biggest fan of peeled shrimp to begin with, much less dehydrated peeled shrimp.

When you’re in college, you’re always dreading the day you graduate and actually have to get a real job and start your adult life, if you will.

Clean that off pretty good. Get the ashes out of it.

[Glover] This trip is the perfect thing to hold on to that freedom a little bit more.

Geez Louise. It’s getting hot in this kitchen.

[Masters] Personal hygiene, gone.

It’s gotten to the point where I stink so bad that there is no point in even trying to contain it.

-[Masters] Smell that stuff first, man. -[Thamer] Nope.

[Masters] My sleeping bag--

I mean, you could clear a street with it.

[men] Oh!

This is a good meal to put lots of hot sauce on.

[Glover] Probably settle down after this, but--

-[farting] -as of now--

[Thamer] Dude, that’s so wrong.

[Glover] I’m not ready to do that yet.

[farting]

No, I’m not ready to buy a house and get married and have kids yet.

You know, I wanna have fun and do some crazy adventure like this while I can.

[Fitzsimons] Hey, Masters! Masters!

[Masters] Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!

Whoa! Waah! Oh! Oh!

Phil, say it.

[Phil] Three, two, one, go!

[gunfire echoing]

[bell clinking]

[man] ♪ Turning in ♪

♪ The grain again ♪

♪ The bells begin to chime ♪

♪ Time, she says ♪

♪ There’s no turning back ♪

♪ Keep your eyes on the tracks

♪ Through the fields ♪

♪ Somewhere there’s blue ♪

♪ Oh, time will tell ♪

♪ She’ll see us through ♪ Django loves his snow cones.

Simmie likes to complain. He’s figured out he can groan.

[groaning]

[shouts]

[man vocalizing]

[chattering]

-Ben Masters. -Ben, nice to meet you.

-Tom Glover. -Tom.

-Okay, let’s-- -All righty. Well, let’s see ’em.

[Weber] I just wasn’t sure if you wanted him or not.

[Masters] Unfortunately, in Arizona, we lost two good horses.

The good news is both of those horses are going to be fine.

[Fitzsimons] We got in touch with Heath Weber who’s a very fine mustang trainer here in Utah, works for the BLM.

Really a wealth of knowledge.

He really helped us out a lot. Brought us three really good horses.

You guys are still cool with me riding, I was just gonna ride him tomorrow.

-[Masters] For sure, man. -Yeah, definitely.

We’d love to have you.

Trail’s awesome.

Love mustangs.

[Fitzsimons] First day with our three new horses that Heath Weber brought us.

Uh, so far, they’re doing really well.

Uh, this little bay that I’m on right now, he’s really been motoring all day on a pretty steep, rocky trail, and they’re keeping up.

[Glover] We have Heath here who brought us three mustangs.

And then we got West and his eight-year-old son coming along with us for the ride today.

[Masters] We took this-- according to the map-- four-wheel drive road which a vehicle has never been up, and now we just got cliffed out.

These maps show roads that have been around for 20, 30 years, and the Forest Service closes them occasionally.

So I figured, you know, it’ll be fine.

[Fitzsimons] The country we’ve been going through was really rough.

High desert, not much water.

Up above was a plateau.

The plateaus are heavily wooded and have a lot of streams and springs and have a lot of water.

It was already about four or five o’clock in the afternoon.

The horses hadn’t drank all day.

If we’re going to backtrack and go around, we had no idea when we’d find water again or how long it would take us.

So we had to make a decision.

[Fitzsimons] Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!

Good job. Good job.


-[grunts] -[laughing]

Went a little hot on that one. Whoo.

We have to talk to Masters about how he reads the GPS, aren’t we?

Yeah.

Because this sucks.

One, two, three, go?

One, two, three, go.


Well, so far, so good.

Only one more horse to go.

-[Weber] Get up, get up! -[man] Shit, just take a break.

[Weber] Up, up, up, up, up!

Oh, shit! Up, up, up, up!

[man] Tie a rope to that horn and get around the tree.

[Weber] Come on! Up, up, up!

[Masters] Don’t get below that horse!

-[Weber] Up! -[man] Get a rope on that horn and saddle.

[Weber] Up, up!

Easy. Easy, boy. Easy.

Get up! Yeah! Get up, get up!

-He’s going! He’s going! He’s going! -[Glover] Oh, fuck!

Looks like he’s moving all right.

-[Masters] Holy-- -[Fitzsimons] Holy smokes.

[Weber] Come on, come on! Ya! Ya, ya!

Come on! Ya!

Holy shit!

Oh, my God.

[bell clinking]

Whoa.

Whoa.

Whoa.

He got burned right here on his shoulder too.

[Fitzsimons] Yesterday was a prime example of why we’re using mustangs.

Out of all 14 horses, we only really had trouble with one of them crossing that ledge, and it’s this guy.

He took a pretty good tumble off of it, but... it’d take a lot to... break these bones.

He’s pretty stout.

Well-built mustang.

So, yeah, we’re definitely learning from our mistakes.

You know, it’s a trip of self-discovery.

If you think about these horses in the wild, sometimes they’re traveling 15, 20 miles a day easy, or more, between water and forage.

That’s typical of what you guys are doing on this trip.

So it’s not unnatural for these horses to travel this many miles.

You know, this isn’t an undue hardship on these horses by any means.

In fact, I think they’re bred for this exact type of activity.

[Fitzsimons] ♪ It’s cold and windy ♪

♪ But we’re happy ♪

[Masters] Looks like y’all wanna get through this gate too.

[sighs]

Okay. Well, have a good day.

“No, you can’t go through my property.”

This is the perfect example... of... public/private land in the West.

You have this beautiful nice valley that’s private, and then we got a bunch of steep hillsides and cliff faces that’s public on the sides.

This quarter mile of private land that we can’t go through is... gonna cost us about... 2,000 feet of elevation gain... and half a day’s worth of travel.

[Masters] This trip wouldn’t be possible without public land.

Lucky for us, there’s over 600 million acres of it in the United States, including a continuous stretch north to south through the West.

But mostly it’s in the mountains.

The canyons, deserts, the gnarly country.

It took over two years to plan the route, but sometimes the trails on maps don’t exist in real life.

And sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t give a damn how well we plan.

So we’re going across Dead Horse Ridge.

Beautiful.

Dead Horse Ridge, huh?

-Yep. -Great.

[Fitzsimons] Challenge accepted.

[Thamer] I wonder if there’s a We’re Fucked Falls somewhere.

[Glover] Are you sure it’s a good idea going up to 11,000 feet this early?

[Thamer] Definitely a gamble going this high.

[Masters] Skyline Road offered... over a hundred miles of dead-straight north travel, and it was just beautiful on the map.

We were gonna cover so much ground so fast, it was just gonna be awesome.

But in reality, it was a snowy, wet, muddy mess.

[Masters] Whatever we do, 10,800 feet is too high.

-Yep. -Right now.

[Fitzsimons] We were loose herding five of the horses as we’d been doing for a while.

When we got down off the snow, there was a group of four-wheelers and dirt bikers that were kind of off in the distance, but that “hum, rum, vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom--” And these horses were rounded up by helicopter.

So that low throbbing sound of an engine, they immediately associated the sound of that four-wheel with fear.

Ford just looked at me and just turned around and just “swoosh.”

[Masters] That guy is going right to where those horses just spooked out of there.

Hey!

I did what I thought was best and that was get the horses that I could, get them tied up to trees, make sure that we didn’t lose all of our horses.

[Fitzsimons] They ran off about 3:15.

I took off after them on Cricket, and, uh, Tom started following not too far behind me.

Unfortunately, my mad dash on Cricket, he threw a shoe.

So I ended up having to continue on foot.

It’s now about 6:15.

Got a ride about two miles down the-- or probably three miles down the road from a guy on a four-wheeler.

Was able to catch the horse’s tracks again.

There you can see their tracks.

They’re still going down this road.

I really hope they didn’t go all the way back to our campsite on I-70 because then it will be a very long night.

[Thamer] Tom and I were behind Jonny.

We could follow his tracks.

And knowing that Jonny was ahead of us out there somewhere by himself, that really kept me moving.

I feel worthless just sitting here, especially if they have to spend the entire night outside without sleeping bags and tents.

[Masters] If I was in their shoes, what I would want me to do right now is stay put.

It’s, uh, almost 11 o’clock.

I’ve tracked the horses all the way down to where we camped, and, uh, they kept on going down the road.

I’m kind of at a loss right now as to what to do, so I’m gonna turn in for the night and, uh, try and find them first thing in the morning.

[Thamer] We didn’t think we were going to find Jonny.

And so we just stopped and made a big fire.

[cell phone beeps]

[Thamer] Howdy.

Thamer, tell me the news.

Yo. Everything handled, man.

Uh, I got a home for us and a home for the horses in, uh, Manti.

And, uh, I got a--

Why don’t y’all just push the horses back up and we just go on to Manti from here.

I just spent two hours setting all this stuff up.

So you guys are just not gonna ride the 30 miles and do Mexico to Canada except for 30 miles?

Oh, you’re the man.

We tracked these guys all the way back to that power line.

Past where we found that baby elk. Yeah.

And it only took us 27 hours.

Masters is calling, all, “We gotta get back and have a little chat, so I’ll meet y’all up there.”

-What’s he whining about? -What do you think?

-Us trailering the horses? -Yeah.

Well, he can lick on my--

[Glover] When we caught those last two horses and got ’em all back together, I looked down on my GPS, and there’s a green line that tracks where the GPS goes and tracks where we go, and it looked like a four-year-old playing on an Etch A Sketch.

[Masters] To get those horses under control, they took ’em to a ranch which was driving about 40 miles from where I was at, but on the north side.

[cell phone beeping]

[beeps]

All right, Masters, you got all three of us.

All right. Well, I’m glad everything’s all right.

[Fitzsimons] What’s looking the best to us is you ride down to, um--

[Thamer, Glover] Palisade Lake.

[Fitzsimons] To Palisade Lake.

And then we’ll ride down there and meet you.

So you guys don’t wanna ride with us or come up here and ride down?

Y’all don’t wanna do entirely border to border?

[Fitzsimons] Well, we couldn’t really get a trailer up there.

No, but we’ve got enough-- We have enough horses where if y’all brought your saddles, we could send all the pack saddles with John down to the bottom and we could just ride the horses that we have up here down.

[Fitzsimons] If someone wants to say I didn’t do border to border, they can say whatever they want.

But I’ve walked and rode 40 damn miles in the past 26 hours, so I don’t really give a flying shit.

-You there? -All right, if you’re sure about it, yeah.

Yeah. Um, I just wanted to finish border to border with everybody.

Well, I mean, you’re still gonna go border to border with everyone because we went 40 miles without you.

[laughs]

Y’all did it in a vehicle though, not on horseback.

[Thamer] Did it in a vehicle?

I don’t wanna hear your lip about us not doing the real deal right now because--

I’m not giving you lip. All I’m saying--

No, no, no, no! It’s a done deal.

[Masters] It’s just really important for me to finish as a group all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

And to miss 30 miles, there’s just no point in it.

They were gonna have to come back and get me.

And then just ride the horses that I have here north.

It would be the same amount of time.

Well, I guess the perfectly simple plan just never occurred to ’em.

I just felt like he was trying to create drama with this.

What you said earlier is so true.

It just drives him nuts when he’s out of control.

[Masters] They ended up hitching a ride up to where I was at.

So with the horses that I had contained, we were able to continue on the ride so that we did every single mile together.

-I miss that. -Manti, so--

I miss that windy, blowy weather when everything went right.

Good to see you, fellas.

-Been a hell of a couple days. -[Thamer] After a 40-mile epic journey.


[Thamer laughing] You get that?

[bell clinking]


We’re just engaged in another game of “who’s got the bigger dick” when it comes to choosing the route-- Jonny or Ben.

Every single day, I’m stuck on the GPS.

I’m looking at the maps.

You know, I don’t know where we are. I’ve never been here before.

But from the information that I have, this is the best route that I think we can take.

And then you got Jonny in the back with a freakin’ iPhone saying, “No, no, no. No, we need to take this road.”

[Fitzsimons] I like to think I’m not a drone. I follow Masters every day.

And he’s usually pretty spot-on with that GPS, but when a GPS is wrong and we have to bushwhack, you know, if I see a better route, I’m gonna take it.

I’m not gonna just follow someone blind.

[Thamer] Came down too steep.

We thought we were on the right side of the creek.

Me and Jonny just kind of bushwhacked it down.

Had to do a little equine self-arrest.

Did a little equine skiing, if you will.

[man] How was your route?

Worked out real good.

Just followed the creek bottom and--

That looks interesting.

Whoa!

Whew!

That is what it’s all about, right there.

It’s not worth stressing about

’cause you’re not gonna change how those guys operate, so might as well just relax and have a good time.

[Thamer] How long have you been looking?

-[Weber] Since this morning. -[laughs]

She’s really tame, but she-- I think leading her is gonna be the--

[Thamer] Did you bring a sombrero and a serape? Oh! Donquita.

[laughs]

[Weber] She’s coming. Steer with your hand.

[men laughing]

[Weber] She made her entrance.

[donkey braying]

Yay!

So happy.

Finally get a little fun.

[Weber] When I dropped off the three horses, Thamer asked me about the burros and if I had a burro to bring him.

-And I just happened to have one. -[Glover] Oh, that’s perfect.

Well, she breathes a lot better than mine.

Take that, Buck Brannaman!

What? Donkey whisperer.

The donkey definitely adds a little flavor to our outfit.

A little south-of-the-border flavor.

[Fitzsimons] That’s pretty good, Ben.

[Glover] Yeah, she has no idea what she just got herself into though.

Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh.

Yeah!

[Masters] Now, I like donkeys, but I think it’s gonna be a complete disaster.

I just don’t think a donkey can do 20 miles a day over rough terrain, keeping up with full-size horses.

It’s just not big enough.

I give the donkey a couple weeks.

Maybe you’ll just follow along peacefully.

Or maybe we’ll be minus a donkey.

Come on, donkey.

Come on, donkey!


You have a lot of time to just think by yourself.

You find yourself thinking much more deeply.

I probably already mapped out my life... about a hundred times.

Think about what makes the world go round and whether you’re gonna help keep it spinning.

[woman] So in June, we and the Cloud Foundation filed a petition with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The argument that we’re managing them to extinction, you know, it-- the data and the experts that look very carefully at that data, that are indeed experts, say just the opposite.

And that report says we have more horses now on the rangeland than we’ve ever had before, and that the population has done nothing but grow, even though we’ve tried to reduce it because of the limitations on the tools and the money we have.

I have seen the horses starve to death with my own eyes.

I’ve watched them eat each other’s manes and tails.

I have seen a foal nursing its dead mother.

And I would much rather see these horses managed so we did not get to that point.

They’re not in danger of becoming extinct in the Diamond Mountains of Nevada.

I can promise you that.

Oh!

[howling]

Let’s do the shave first. I’m a little nervous about it.

-I want it-- -A typical business haircut in the front.

-Leave the party in the back? -Party in the back.

-She’s got it down. -I told ya.

Damn.

The only barbershop I’ve been in that allows you to drink beer.

That’s right.

You’re looking redneckier.

[Southern accent] I do declare, I look like a Southern gentleman.

-Oh, my God. -[laughs]

[“Stars and Stripes Forever” playing]

Time to celebrate America.

Whoo! Adios!

I got a phone call yesterday from Katie Bischoff, which is Tom’s girlfriend, telling me that she’s gonna be here at 6:45.

Tom doesn’t know it.

But Tom, being Fourth of July, is extremely drunk, and I don’t even know if he’s gonna be able to speak to her.

Fourth of July here in Jackson, Wyoming.

We’re gonna have us a good time.

I’m so nervous.

[Masters] Did you win?

Booga, booga, booga, booga, booga!

[laughing]

What’s up? Oh, my God!

[announcer] ...who call this great nation home.

Let’s hear it one time for our great nation, the United States of America!

[man] ♪ Guess who is knocking on the door ♪

♪ Guess who is knocking on the door ♪

♪ Guess who is knocking on the door... ♪

[man] Give ’em hell, Tommy!

[chattering]

♪ Well, I am the brave young lad... ♪ Lean forward! Lean forward!

♪ Out of the wild I run... ♪ Yeah, Jonny!

Whoo!

-Here’s to America! -Whoo!

♪ Swept underneath your hood ♪

♪ Guess who is knocking on the door ♪

♪ Guess who is knocking on the door... ♪

-Yeah. -[Katie] Best surprise?

[Glover] Best Fourth ever.

♪ I’m knocking on the door... ♪ That was so much fun. Oh, my God.

[announcer, indistinct]

Jackson was a nice break, but I was ready to get out of there.

Come on. Come on.

[Thamer] Oh, Cricket!

I’m worried about my donkey.

Not that I can help her.

Right over the stump.

-Is he gonna go under it? -Holy shit. She jumped the high part.

[Thamer] That was graceful.

Come on, donkey.

[Masters] Cricket’s dead.

What?

What the fuck happened?

I don’t know, man. He’s dead.

Thamer and I were cooking dinner, and all of a sudden the horses took off.

And I had mine tied up, so I saddled him up and so did Thamer and Masters, and went to go look for ’em.

Found some of ’em.

Found one down.

[Fitzsimons] Sure enough, dead.

Buddy.

Could’ve broken his neck and severed his esophagus, or his, uh, windpipe or something.

[patting]

I’m gonna miss you, bud.

A little piece of Cricket’s going to Canada, so hopefully, wherever the horses go, he’ll know that.

[Masters] We don’t know how Cricket died.

And I think, in a way... it was fitting of a mustang... not to die in somebody’s stall... or in a holding facility.

He was in the backcountry, 15 miles from the nearest road.

He was living with other mustangs, eating good mountain grass.

It was just his time.

But I’d like to think that he died a happy horse, not in a pen somewhere.

[Warr] The whole issue of gathering wild horses or burros is very controversial.

It’s very emotional.

But it’s a necessity for managing the resource.

We have a number of people that show up to these gathers, and they all have their point of view.

And I have seen where we’ve had screaming matches.

We’ve had people that are just trying to do whatever they can to shut down the gather operation because they don’t like what’s going on.

In these places where wild horses are allowed to be, our government has a mandate to protect wild horses.

Private ranching actually is a privilege which is allowed.

When drought conditions or something happens that we lose the capability to offer that grazing on public lands, it’s the private ranchers that should be backing off.

[Goicoechea] Where you start to see the pushback from the ranchers is when there are so many horses, and the BLM comes out in the spring and they tell you, “The range doesn’t look very good.

We’re not going to allow all your cows out there this year, or any of your cows out there.” And the reason why is you had horses on it for 12 months already and they’ve eaten everything as it came up.

You know, if there was a more fair allocation of resources that left some room for wild horses, we’d have a more balanced system.

You’re asking us to give to a point where we’re not financially and economically viable.

Do we, as a people, really only care about things that make money?

The bank, to be quite honest, doesn’t care that you can’t turn your cows out on that permit.

If you owe them several million dollars, they’re expecting several hundred thousand dollars every six or every 12 months, however you have it written up.

Our adoption demand used to be eight or nine thousand a year nationally.

We’ve recently adopted less than three thousand.

What do we do with the excess wild horses that we have to remove?

When we’ve only been adopting less than three thousand, that means five or six thousand horses a year are not being adopted, which are being added to our short-term and long-term pastures.

Putting them in holding facilities is a temporary fix, but then those get overcrowded, so we definitely need to figure out something to do with all these horses.

It’s just not possible to adopt enough of these horses out to really be a viable solution to the problem.

[Thamer] But they’re still multiplying at a huge rate in the wild, and those holding facilities are full, and long-term holding facilities are full.

I mean, there’s gotta be a point where we quit, you know, pansying around and just do something about it.


♪ Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever ♪

♪ I’m gonna see where it leads ♪

♪ Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted ♪

♪ I’m gonna stand on the peak ♪

♪ No time for ponderin’ why I’m a-wanderin’ ♪

♪ Nowhere the buses lay ♪

♪ To the ends of the earth would you follow me? ♪

♪ There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see ♪

♪ To the ends of the earth would you follow me? ♪

♪ If you won’t, I must say my good-byes to thee ♪

[Masters] It’s not all about reaching a goal.

It’s not about getting this big list of things that you’ve accomplished.

That goal of reaching the Canadian line isn’t as powerful as, you know, the impact of going through this land has made on me.

It’s made me kind of realize that more important than the accumulating of stuff is, you know, conserving what we have right now.

Right there.

[chuckles] Oh, my God!

Whoa!

Stay on.

Oh, crap.

Whoa! Oh! Oh, man!

Dang it! [groans]

Whoa.

What the heck?

[thunder rumbles]

Oh, there it is.

Oh, my God. It’s another huge fish.

Hopefully I’ve got this one set a little better.

There’s been times in my life where... fly fishing has kind of gotten me into some binds.

Skipped a lot of school.

That is a big... trout.

Look at that red.

[laughs] See you, buddy.

Wow! Look at these skies.

This-- This is one of the coolest times I’ve ever had.

This is as good as it gets.

I just couldn’t stop fishing.

-I mean, there’s clouds building up. -[thunder rumbles]

The risk of getting hit by lightning was worth the reward of catching 20-inch cutthroats.

It was just the best day of fishing I’ve ever had.

[shouts]

Yes!

[laughing]

[Fitzsimons] There’s a lot of work to be done to ensure that the wild lands of America have a viable future.

The opportunities we have are just unreal compared to people in other parts of the world.

I don’t think everyone realizes that.

The old Val square knot.

-We made it! -[woman] Hey!

-Look at that guy running. -[horse blusters]

-Hey, Ben. How are you? -Good to see you.

-[Glover] Uncle Val! -Hey. Hi, son.

-Hey, bud! -How are ya?

-Good to see ya. -Okay. Hi, fellas.

-Hey, Val. -How are you?

-How are you? -Good.

Okay.

-Good to see ya. -All right, by golly. All right.

-Okay. -Got me a new haircut.

Oh, yeah. All right.

-How do our horses look? -[Geissler] They look good.

-They look excellent. -[Masters] Yeah, they--

-They’ve done a heck of a job. -Yes, they have, by golly. Okay.

-Good to see you, Val. -Same here, son. Same here.

-How’s your summer going? -Summer’s going great.

-Violet’s doing good. -Good.

-Jonny, where are you, son? -Right here.

-Okay. -Thank you, Val.

Knock out that last piece of bacon.

We can cut it into, what, six or seven pieces.

[men chuckle]

-I’m tickled to death my boys are here. -[Masters] And we have bacon.

[Geissler chuckles] Well, let’s see if I can work through this thing.

[guitar playing]

This is a little bit more of the upbeat.

♪ Well, border to border ♪

♪ From old Mexico they ride ♪

♪ Two Bens, Tom and Jonny ♪

♪ Towards the Canadian sky ♪

♪ Wild horses moving easy ♪

♪ Young cowboys ridin’ free ♪

♪ Yeah, it’s a border to border ♪

♪ ’Cause that’s the way they planned it to be ♪

[Geissler] Ah, Yellowstone Park, here we are.

[Glover] Made it to Yellowstone.

-Well, Val-- -Hey, son.

-Keep ’em on their toes. -Do good.

-Love ya. -[Glover] Love you too.

-[grunting] -See ya, buddy.

-Love ya. Do good, son. -Yeah, we will.

You guys be safe, and I’ll be thinking about you.

Thanks again for everything that you’ve done for us

-and the song and all. -[coughing]

We’ll see you after we get to the border.

It’ll be good.

-We’re out of here. -[Glover] All right, Val.

-See you, buddy. -[Glover] Take care.

-I love you, Val! -I love you too!

-We’ll see you in a couple of months! -Yep!

[horse blusters]

[Masters] Over a hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt came and visited this exact area, and he camped just right up the river, and, uh, it was part of the inspiration that made him as president... enact hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest and national park.

And it’s pretty cool to think that what we see today is exactly what he saw a hundred years ago.

And a hundred years from now, it’s gonna be exactly the same as what we’re looking at today.

That’s pretty neat.

No matter how beautiful a country is, at some point it becomes a test of endurance.

That’s where we’re at.

Just get through it, man.

Tuck and go.

-That’s disgusting. -[Fitzsimons] Yum.

Wahhh!

We’ve already been on the trail close to four months, and I’d say I just really starting having fun.

I’d say my only regret so far is that my buddies Tamale and Cricket aren’t still with me.

Hopefully, Tamale’s ready to meet back up with us the last couple of weeks.

When Violet got hurt, I sent him back with Val, to Cody, because we were gonna be crossing through the same country and thinking, you know, he’s gonna have a three-month break, and let’s see how his leg heals and make an assessment after three months.

And hopefully, if he’s doing well, bring him on board through the state of Montana.

And I felt that he possibly could bring him back, but he’d definitely need reconditioning and stuff before they did that.

The difference between a healthy horse going in to what we’re doing and a horse that’s coming off an injury is very, very different.

Very different.

It all started when we poured Jim Beam into plastic bottles.

All I’m trying to tell you is bringing a horse off an injury that was the result of your own negligent action... back on the trail after not conditioning him, not having seen him--

[Masters] According to Val who knows--

Those two are like oil and water at this point, seems like.

[Fitzsimons] So we’re talking about money.

You’re gonna risk a horse’s health because you’re worried about how much he’s gonna bring you.

-No, no, no. -No, no! No! Shut the fuck up!

And I’m gonna throw the gauntlet down right now.

I don’t know why you’re attacking me about bringing him out.

-I’m not planning on bringing him out! -It’s a fucking retarded decision.

-I’m not planning on bringing him out. -Get out my face.

You’re yelling at me for something I’m not even about to do.

I asked if you’re planning on getting him out here. You said yes.

It’s so hard to convince Ben something’s a bad idea... unless you just really get after him.

That’s how you communicate with Masters if you want anything to sink in.

We’ve done this entire thing as a team.

If you guys truly believe that he’s gonna be a hindrance on us getting through Montana, let’s not take him.

-I don’t think Tamale should come back. -[Fitzsimons] And if Tamale goes lame, I’ll be the first one to admit it was a bad decision.


If it isn’t one thing, it’s another out here.

Rain. Hail. Heat.

-Shit. -[thunder rumbles]

I can’t feel my hands.

♪ The highway lines, they come and go with every mile and stretch of road ♪

♪ The lights are out, but it’s all right We’re gonna make it home tonight ♪

♪ Another chance to sing a song in hopes to keep your worries gone ♪

♪ So pour you one and drink it down We’ll sing until the early morn ♪ One, two, three, four!

♪ Gather round and stomp the floor and shout hey, hey, hey ♪

♪ We’re never gonna die A toast, hey, hey, hey ♪

♪ For love we stand and death we fight ♪

♪ Hold them high, boys We’re gonna raise some hell tonight ♪ No one’s gonna top this in our posterity, I don’t think.

Maybe, but I doubt it.

You can run a marathon, hike across the Great Wall, do a lot of things, but you can’t do this.

I mean, this is... for crazy people. Really, but--

[helicopter whirring]

[Masters] Well, as long as our wind doesn’t pick up too bad, we should be okay going through these fires.

But we’re cutting it close.

[Fitzsimons] My dad just rolled up with Tamale.

Good to have him back on the trail after three months of having him gone.

[Joseph] Just keep poultices on him.

Poultice him once a day.

-[Fitzsimons] He looks good. -A little back fat.

Tamale!

[Joseph] What, are you testing that poultice, Jon?

-Huh? -You testing the poultice?

-[Masters] How’s Tamale doing? -He’s traveling a little bit better.

See how much heat he has in it.

Earlier, it was pretty hot.

I could actually feel heat through that bandage.

I’ll soak him in the creek for an hour or two and then put him in a poultice.

[Masters] Jonny decided to bring his horse into the largest wilderness complex in the Lower 48 with no exit plan while there’s a bunch of raging fires going on.

I talked to some packers and found out that the pass that we wanted to take is engulfed in flames.

Yeah, that right there is the pass.

Damn. That is new.

Crap.

My route was to go right along through here because you got the entire Chinese Wall blocking it off.

But now this is burning.

And I don’t have a rock face for this six miles.

So theoretically it could jump.

I don’t think it would, but it could.

[Joseph] If it does, you don’t have an escape.

The wall on one side and fire on the other.

So we can go up the south fork to the sun.

Take that trail onto the rez.

I feel more comfortable doing that.

Not much room for error. And I just hope the wind doesn’t pick up.

I mean, I don’t mind dropping out.

Doing what needs to be done.

At each exit we’ll evaluate him, and we’ll err on the side of sending him out.

There is nothing that I could have said that would have made him feel any worse than him listening to his own lecture that he gave me.

What good would it have done if I was like, “Jonny, you idiot.” Fitzy hates having to eat crow on that deal.

We would have made sure to be like, “Oh, yep, told you.” So Masters did a good job of staying humble through that.

I don’t think I would have been able to resist that opportunity.

See you in a couple of days.

[Masters] I started this thing with one mission-- that’s to get my entire crew to that Canadian border and to get all these horses to that Canadian border.

And I failed on getting all the horses there, but I’m gonna get my entire crew there.

And if that means sucking a little pride, I can suck some pride.

[Fitzsimons] I would like to see as many mustangs adopted as possible if it’s done responsibly.

But the fact of the matter is when you adopt one of those horses, more often than not, you’re gonna have to spend 90 to a hundred days working with that animal every day.

And there aren’t very many people that have that kind of time to commit to it.

Adopting mustangs is a big responsibility.

If we took the appropriate management level that’s defined now-- 25-28,000-- and we aggressively use the contraceptive tools that are available, we could reduce the growth rate of that base population to the point that that surplus that we need to take off of the landscape would meet the adoption demand, and that would be totally sustainable.

So there is a solution.

[Goicoechea] We want to coexist.

We strongly believe in the multiple-use concept.

Recreation, wildlife, wild horses, livestock.

Everybody gets to share in these lands, but it is share in these lands.

I think we should look at how many horses we need to have there to have viable wild horse herds.

[chattering]

[Garrott] There will be groups on both sides that will never be happy with anything in the middle.

If there’s no compromise and we throw up our hands and stop managing, then that’s the worst-case scenario for horses, for wildlife, public lands and everybody that cares about them.

We’re almost to Glacier National Park.

And park regulations, we can only take eight horses through.

And so we’re gonna have to leave five of ’em behind in East Glacier and pick ’em up on our way-- on our way home.

So for a lot of these horses, it’s their last day.

Are you ready to be done?

Your duties as protector of the herd are over.

Oh, yeah. That feels good.

Yeah. Shake your tongue.

You get used to this way of life, but it’s a hard way of life.

You know? I don’t care what Masters says. This isn’t easy.

[chuckles] People like to think we’re going for a walk in the park on these horses.

-It’s work. -It’s been fun.

But, you know, I’m over living in the woods.

Thamer, are you feeling all right?

Anybody that says like, “Oh, I wanna be a cowboy and live out in the woods my whole life--” Except Ben Masters. I think he could happily do it.

[Masters] We’re four days from being done, but we’re a long ways from the border.

We have got some brutal days through Glacier National Park.

[Glover] We can smell the finish line.

It’ll take a couple of weeks or months, and then we’ll wish we were right back out here... when we realize how dull and boring normal life is compared to this.


[camera shutter clicks]

[groans]

[exhales, chuckles]

That’s pretty cool.

There’s two big bulls right here.

Just behind camp.

[groaning]

-[Glover] I’m glad we came through here. -[Masters] Yeah.

-[Glover] And not on a stinkin’ highway. -This beats a road any day.

[Masters] That is a view.

Man, that’s got to be Canada.

It’s only ten miles, straight line.

Canada!

-That’s the drainage we’re going up. -[Masters] Yeah, that’s the Belly River.

Yee-hoo!

[Glover] Wow! We can finally see it!

-[Masters] The other guys up yet? -[man] Jonny is. That’s it.

[sighs] That’s all right.

No hurry on the last morning.

We all know it’s the last morning and, you know, looking forward to being done.

But, at least for me, it didn’t really feel like I thought it would.

You know?

I don’t think it in any way compares to the feeling we all had when we were leaving the border.

I’m not getting to the end, I guess, with as strong a sense of accomplishment as I was expecting.

Looking back on the trip so far, I’d probably say things that stick in my mind the most are those times where it was extremely difficult and I was by myself.

We’re there, man.

No, no, we’re not there yet.

-We still have ten miles. -We’re there.

We got sound horses and ten miles. Ten easy miles.

If something goes bad now, it’ll be a freak event.

-Gosh, I should not say stuff-- -I don’t like this talk.

-[Thamer] Let’s blow this taco stand. -Come on, gray horse. You’re almost there.

[indistinct]

Yeah, go ahead. What’s up?

Okay. Everything okay?

Now, how do I get to Lee Ridge?

[woman] Here, I’ve got a map.

Let me look. It’s just down the hill a bit.

[Joseph] Do we know that’s Lee Ridge?


What’s going on?

I’m stopping here.

My dad’s meeting me at the Lee Ridge, uh, Trailhead, just right up the hill.

He’s gonna pick me up, and I’m gonna meet y’all at the border.

Um, it might be a little hard to understand, but a part of me just kind of feels like leaving the last mile undone.

So we’ve come this entire way as a team and you wanna finish by yourself?

Well, I’m finishing a mile from the border.

Why?

I got a million reasons, which we don’t have the time, and y’all probably don’t have the patience to hear me enumerate.

But... this is something I wanna do.

I think sometimes there’s beauty in leaving some things undone.

Jonny!

I don’t-- I just don’t-- I can’t put it together.

In a way it kind of hurts.

It makes you wonder why he would wanna leave us and--

[Thamer] He’s just eccentric, that’s all it is.

[Joseph] There he is.

Howdy, howdy.

[woman] Howdy, howdy, buddy boy.

-Congratulations, man. -Thank you.

Great.

-[woman] Hi, buddy. -[Joseph] Congratulations, buddy.

[Masters] I see it!

[Fitzsimons] Leaving a mile.

-What? -What’s that?

Leaving a mile for good luck.

-You’re gonna leave a mile for good luck. -Leaving a mile for good luck.

Yes!

Whoo!

-Whoo! -Whoo!

-[shouts] -Oh, fuck.

[Masters] I was furious, man.

I know I put on a good show, but, like--

Nice work, Ben! Whoo!

I feel like I failed because I didn’t meet the goal that I had set for myself.

He realized how important it was... for me to finish as a unit.

Like, we had done every single inch, all the way from Mexico to Canada.

And that was the success.

It was us finishing.

In my mind, he stripped me of that success by quitting.


[Masters] I still don’t understand why Jonny quit with just a mile left to go.

But in the end, in spite of everything I believed this journey to be, a mile doesn’t really matter.

Ice water.

[Masters] What matters is the land and these horses that have proven themselves time and time again.

There’s an honesty in their actions that I really admire.

And I’m grateful.

The future of our wild horses, wildlife and us depends on the management choices that we make today.

And I hope to God that in a hundred years, there’s still a backcountry route to ride from Mexico to Canada.

And that’ll require sacrifice... in a society willing to face difficult decisions...

and a really good horse.

[guitar playing]

[Geissler] Yeah, ride, you young cowboys.

Ride on.

[yodeling]

♪ Well, it’s border to border ♪

-♪ From old Mexico ♪ -[announcer, indistinct]

-♪ They ride ♪ -[cheering]

♪ Two Bens, Tom and Jonny ♪

♪ Towards the Canadian sky ♪

♪ Wild horses moving easy ♪

-♪ Young cowboys ridin’ free ♪ -[men laughing]

♪ Yeah, border to border ♪

♪ ’Cause that’s the way they planned it to be ♪

♪ So ride on, ride on ♪

♪ Young cowboys ♪

♪ ’Cause this is your dream ♪

♪ Ride on, young cowboys ♪

♪ Ride on, young cowboys... ♪ This is what you get for filming out in the lake.

A little leech action.

♪ Now you’ve gathered up these mustangs ♪

♪ Broke ’em, for they are the kind ♪

♪ To cross the wide deserts ♪

♪ Deep canyons ♪

♪ Climb mountains high ♪

♪ Through rattlesnakes and cactus ♪

♪ Sparse feed, short water... ♪ I’ve never seen this many flowers in my dreams, much less in my life.

♪ Through the snow-covered mountains ♪

♪ Tall grass and clear-flowing streams ♪

[grunts] Jonny want food!

♪ Now, breaking these mustangs ♪

♪ Hey, it sure tested... ♪

[Masters] Wrong way, Simmie!

♪ But you hung in there ♪

♪ ’Cause you knew they were the kind for this trip ♪

♪ They’ve proven their mettle ♪

-♪ And, boy, you’ve sure proven yours ♪ -[gunshot]

♪ Through scorching hot days... ♪

-How do you feel, Phil? -Whoo!

This is what it’s all about right here!

♪ Now, step down, step down ♪

♪ Young cowboys, you’ve fulfilled your dream ♪

♪ Step down, step down ♪

♪ You’ve made the Canadian line ♪

♪ Step down, step down ♪

♪ You now fulfilled your dream ♪

[yodeling]

[song ends]