I realize that one is supposed to suspend a certain amount of credulity while watching a movie. However, I have to say that this is one of the dumbest stories I have ever come across. In fact, this story is so stupid that I couldn't stop watching it because I couldn't resist seeing how much more stupid it was going to become.
The plot begins with a bizarre decision, supposedly taken by the Army during 1934, to have all the horses of a cavalry regiment based somewhere down along the Mexican border to be herded across the border and shot en masse. Apart from the fact that one cannot imagine giving such an order to veteran cavalrymen and expecting them to actually carry it out, the question arises as to why they should be ordered to do such a thing on the other side of the Mexican border? I mean, isn't that somebody else's country? Wouldn't the Mexican authorities be expected to raise some sort of objection to the U.S. Army slaughtering hundreds of horses in their country and then leaving the carcasses to rot there?
Be that as it may, a noble young lieutenant and five noble veteran sergeants rebel and drive the herd away in order to save them from the carnage. That's all very noble, but then they choose to drive them north, towards Montana. So, again one has to wonder, why north? Why not simply drive them further south into Mexico, where the horses already are, and where the U.S. Army clearly would have no jurisdiction over them in the first place? Apparently the plan is to drive the horses onto a Sioux Reservation in Montana, where the Army has no jurisdiction, either, and then turn them over to the Indians. However, again one has to wonder, why there? I mean, Montana is at least a thousand miles from the Mexican Border. One would think that there should be lots of other suitable Indian Reservations throughout the west that would be a lot closer than that.
In any event, these six noble soldiers disappear into the wilderness, driving about 400 horses which apparently leave no tracks that anybody is able to follow. Oh, and these guys begin this journey carrying no equipment whatsoever. They are dressed in shirts and have no warm clothing or bed rolls. They also have no food and there is not a single water canteen between them. Nevertheless they manage to elude the entire U.S. Army which is pursuing them, complete with tanks and artillery.
Exactly how long would it take to drive a herd of horses from the Mexican border to the Canadian border? One would think that it would have to take months at the very least. And yet, at the end of that journey the soldiers' clothes are only slightly rumpled and they have only a little bit of a five-o:clock shadow. Except, that is, for the one soldier who already had a full beard when they started out. There is no explanation, by the way, of exactly how this soldier managed to get away with having a full beard while in the Army.
Incidentally it is interesting to note that, in this movie, apparently there were no other Army units stationed anywhere between the Mexican border and the Canadian border who were in a position to be able to intercept these renegade horse drovers. That is particularly curious in light of the fact that the operation seems to be controlled and coordinated directly from Army Headquarters in Washington.
In addition, the Army did not seem to have possessed any airplanes in 1934, either. At least, none are in evidence anywhere in this movie. If there had been then this whole ridiculous saga would have been over before it began.
What this movie seems to purport to be is a sort of "Cheyanne Autumn", only with horses instead of Indians, and set in the 1930s rather than the late 19th Century. The good guys are just as noble and the bad guys are just as loathsome. At one point one of the pursuing Army officers actually gloats about getting the opportunity to fire on his own troops twice during his career; once against the "Bonus Marchers" in Washington DC in 1932, and then again against these noble soldiers who made off with the horses which the Army had been preparing to shoot. How much more loathsome can you get than that?
So, this is a "feel-good movie" that is guaranteed to make audiences feel all warm and gooey inside. Just so long, that is, as they don't actually think about the story too much. Then the spell will be broken by the realization of just how ridiculous the whole thing is.