Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Buck 2011

Directed by Cindy Meehl

This inspiring encounter with the legendary horse whisperer takes us on the road as he runs clinics and ‘starts’ rogue colts. “There are no problem horses, just horses with people problems.” — Buck Brannaman

USA In English
90 minutes



Julie Goldman


Guy Mossman
Luke Geissbühler


Toby Shimin


David Robbins


Buck Brannaman
Bibb Frazier
Betty Staley
Shayne Jackson
Robert Redford
Gwynn Turnbull Weaver
Nevada Witt
Reata Brannaman
Mary Brannaman


Sundance, SXSW 2011


Audience Award (US Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2011


“Legendary horse trainer Buck Brannaman… tours the world giving clinics on ‘starting’ colts, using a method of firm but sensitive nonverbal instruction that one rancher admiringly calls ‘voodoo.’ Brannaman’s entire philosophy of how horses mirror the psychology and insecurities of their owners… stems from the merciless brutality that he and his brother experienced in childhood, at the hands of an alcoholic father, an experience that informs his entire ‘feel’ for managing equine fear. It must be admitted: this guy’s instinctively empathic way with animals is uncanny. [Filmmaker Cindy] Meehl tracks Buck (a former child-celebrity trick roper who made numerous TV appearances after he went pro at age six) from Montana to the Carolinas as he calmly tames one unmountable wild thing after another with nothing more than a lead rope and a couple of flags, spinning stories and bracing bits of wisdom for his audiences, while matter-of-factly confiding to Meehl’s camera the gruesome facts of his youth.” — Damon Smith, Reverse Shot

“A quietly captivating portrait of an unlikely character, Buck is as modest as its subject and wins viewers over just as easily… Buck Brannaman, who inspired The Horse Whisperer [and trained horses on the film version], proves as impressively gifted in reality as any fictionalized version could be – and even, though his not-quite-handsome face would never compete with Robert Redford’s, possessed of an undeniable magnetism. A quiet man who almost seems to mind-meld with horses, he makes no secret of the belief that his training helps both horse and owner.” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter