Source: Nature: "Cloud's Legacy: The Wild Stallion Returns"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
This video segment from Nature chronicles several years of Cloud’s life documented and narrated by Emmy-winning producer/director, Ginger Kathrens. Cloud, a young colt, moves in a band of wild horses (a group or family of horses that travels together) in the Arrowhead Mountains of southern Montana. In this segment, Kathrens finds helicopters herding the wild horses into a corral. Later, forty-six of the horses are sold at auction, never to be free again. Cloud and his family are allowed to return to the open range. Another colt, Flint, is injured during the experience but survives.
Science, animal behavior
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What is the main idea of a story? How do we determine what the main idea is?
Focus (ELA) Main ideas are supported by other ideas in the story. As you watch the video, note what the supporting ideas are and what you think the main idea is.
Follow Up (ELA) What is the main idea of this story? What ideas support it as the main idea? How do you know that the main idea wasn’t just another one of the supporting ideas? What is the difference? Discuss why it helps us as readers and viewers to be able to determine what the supporting and main ideas of a story are.
Frame (SCI) What do animals need to survive in the wild? In particular, what might a wild horse need to survive?
Focus (SCI) What threatens Flint’s survival in this video?
Follow Up (SS) Discuss the threats Flint faced. How did he overcome them? Discuss the interdependence of humans and animals in the world. What would you like to see happen to improve the relationships between humans and animals?
The Bureau of Land Management is in charge of managing wild horses on public lands. Their objective is to keep the population small.
Along with other bands, Shaman’s family with Little Cloud is captured.
The chopper flies off in search of more horses… while Little Cloud stands exhausted in the corrals. His gallop over rocky trails has left him stiff and foot sore.
Then I see Cloud’s family running in the desert.
Later, I learned that it took the chopper pilot four tries to bring them all the way in. In all, the band must have run over 30 miles, perhaps far more.
Ironically, the band was selected for capture because the new members of Cloud’s family are targeted for sale.
They’re taken from Cloud whose loud protests are ignored.
Every horse captured is run through a chute, including Cloud.
Blood drawn confirms he is Little Cloud’s father. It also establishes the link between the Arrowhead herd and the horses of the Spanish Conquistadors.
Horses not to be auctioned off are released.
Cloud’s brother, Red Raven, his mare, Blue Sioux, and their daughter are released together.
Most of Shaman’s band is released.
Little Cloud’s foot and muscle soreness is nearly gone.
Of the family bands, only Cloud’s little group remains confined because Flint has been seriously injured and can barely walk. Whether he can recover from being run too far, too fast is in doubt.
Weeks later the auction of the wild horses begins with Flint’s future still in limbo.
The sale marks the end of freedom for 46 horses.
A few days later, good news! Flint is improved and the vet believes he can recover.
So that Flint can receive treatment, he, his mother and sister are separated from a frantic Cloud.
LYLE: Sync and OS “There’s where we got the drainage. It came right out the top there—the hole where the abscess broke and drained. And here’s where we found the abscess, there’s a little bit of drainage there.”
GINGER K. (OS): “How long do you figure Lyle that will stay on?”
LYLE: “Probably where he’s out moving a couple of days at the most if that long. Okay, Justin let his foot down now.”
Without excellent care, Flint might have faced euthanasia… now he has a chance to live free.
Cloud’s family is finally released.
It’s a long journey for a lame colt… 18 miles on a rocky trail…through the desert…up the ridges of Sykes…and onto the mountain-top.
The horses freed earlier reclaimed the high meadows weeks before. I watch as Red Raven and Blue Sioux groom each other affectionately.
On a rocky ridge, I spot Shaman’s band. Little Cloud is looking fine.
Nearby, a coyote hunts grasshoppers. I’m thrilled to find Flint. He watches the young coyote warily.
Flint is still so lame I wonder if he will ever race across the wide meadows again. His very survival depends on his parents for he could never outrun a serious predator.
I half expect Cloud to run the coyote off, but he’s wise enough to know that a young coyote poses little threat.
A month later I search again for horses. On a far hillside I spot Cloud’s band.
Flint has lived up to his name. He still limps but the tough little colt has survived!
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