When the story begins (says Redford), the relationship between mother and daughter is particularly dysfunctional. Yet they are both cut very closely from the same cloth. Parents sometimes get angriest with their kids when they show signs of being just like them. Parents don't want to look at that, so they get mad at the kids like it's their fault.
Grace and her friend go riding one snowy morning. When their horses lose control they have an accident. "Could I but ride indefinite...Or better run away..." (Emily Dickinson)
When Grace wakes up she is emotionally and physically scarred, with one leg gone. Her horse, Pilgrim, was also badly injured.
Grace is a fourteen-year-old with all the confusions of that age. To lose a leg, wear a prosthesis, and walk with a cane is almost too painful to bear.
"Is that your version of a pep talk?" (35K)
"No, Dad, I got it. Got it." (50K)
"Who's ever gonna want me like this?" (170K)
"Daddy, I don't wanna go." (115K)
Mom takes Grace and Pilgrim to Montana to work with Tom Booker, a "horse whisperer". She hopes that if he can heal Pilgrim, Grace will also be healed.
"Mom there's a cowboy here" (39K) Booker says he's not sure he can do anything, but he's willing to try if Grace will help. He then asks her if she has a problem with that.
"Isn't it like obvious?" "Not to me." (80K)
At the ranch, no one minds she's missing a leg. She's treated in a dignified, adult way and given challenges and chores each day. The only way out of despair is action.
"You handled that pretty well. I think it's time you started earning your keep around here. So when we're not working and you're not during your therapy, I'd like you to help out with the horses, rubbin' 'em, cleanin' the stalls. Think you can handle it?" "That's not a question, is it?" "Nope." "Okay." (407K)
Grace has days when things go dark inside and she is not sure she wants to live, but she has a bubbling intelligence. Sometimes it gets in her way, bringing sarcasm and anger, but in the end it helps her.
"Dad, Dad, did you notice? No cane." "I know, it's amazing." (101K)
"Grace, this is Pilgrim's chance, and it's yours too." "Okay." (131K)
(210K) They became part of each other. They're free.
Grace is a very sensitive character (according to Scarlett). She's very smart and fragile. She's from New York and very quick, but you have to be careful not to take her sarcastic humor as being mean. When she gets out West, the difference for her is that it's hard to hide things.
Scarlett's character, Grace, dresses in clothes that reflect the evolution that she goes through. Initially you see her expressing her individuality and her spirit for life, and then she protects and covers herself as she is adjusting. As she gains some confidence, she begins to express herself again.
It's said that true healing means to become truly yourself. And it takes time.
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