Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 American animated western drama film directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook. The film was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. The film was released on May 24, 2002.
Spirit is a young stallion who leads the Cimarron herd. Though he relishes his freedom, he remembers his responsible to the herd, protecting them from threats. One day, Spirit notices a campfire and goes to investigate, discovering several trapped horses at the campsite. Spirit awakens several men, who pursue and overpower him while the herd flees.
Spirit is taken to an army fort, where the army is fighting in the Indian Wars. Spirit defies the army's attempts to tame him, impressing the other horses. However, the Colonel orders Spirit punished by tying him to a post for three days without food or water. During this time, a native named Little Creek is captured and taken to the fort as well, but his allies give him a dagger at night. Eventually, the Colonel attempts to ride Spirit himself, but he is thrown off. Frustrated, the Colonel attempts to shoot Spirit, but Little Creek frees himself and rescues Spirit. The two escape the fort, along with the other horses, and Spirit meets Little Creek's mare, Rain. Spirit is taken to the Lakota village, where Little Creek attempts to tame him with kindness. Though Spirit is initially defiant, he eventually begins to warm up to Little Creek and Rain.
Little Creek eventually decides to free Spirit, who attempts to convince Rain to join him at his herd. However, a cavalry regiment led by the Colonel raids the village, forcing Spirit and Rain to return. During the battle, Rain is shot by the Colonel, causing her and Little Creek to plummet into a river. Spirit dives into the river and attempts to save Rain, but the two plummet over a waterfall. Spirit finds an injured Rain on the shore and stays by her side until scouts arrive and detain him. Little Creek finds Rain and vows to rescue Spirit.
Spirit and the other horses are used by the railroad to drag a steam engine up a mountain. However, Spirit discovers that the railroad tracks are headed to his homeland and realizes that he must stop them. Feigning unconsciousness, Spirit is freed from his harness and frees the other horses. The steam engine tumbles towards the railroad's base, causing a forest fire. Spirit, while attempting to outrun the fire, becomes trapped when a chain around his neck catches a branch. However, Little Creek arrives and manages to rescue Spirit, and the two escape by diving into a river. The next morning, Spirit and Little Creek encounter the Colonel and his men, forcing the two to flee through a canyon. Spirit and Little Creek eventually manage to escape by jumping over a gorge. Amazed, the Colonel spares Spirit's life and the two exchange glances of respect before the Colonel and his men leave.
Spirit and Little Creek return to the village, where Spirit reunites with Rain, who had been healed from her gunshot wound. Little Creek, realizing Rain belongs with Spirit, bids the two horses farewell as they leave the village. Spirit and Rain then return to the homeland and reunite with Spirit's herd.