My Heroes Were Cowboys

Movie review by
Sabrina McFarland, Common Sense Media
My Heroes Were Cowboys Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu about horse trainer has positive messages.
  • PG
  • 2021
  • 23 minutes

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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

Follow your passion. Find strength to overcome obstacles. Gain confidence through the support of family and friends.

Positive Role Models

Robin Wiltshire's grandfather is a highly-decorated Australian war hero who rides horseback during combat. Robin's grandmother helps him learn how to read and also encourages her grandson to believe in himself and purse his interest in horses. According to Robin, one of his horses helps change his life by teaching him to be a humble and patient individual. The horse trainer lands a cigarette advertisement audition and a job with help from a colleague.

Diverse Representations

There's a scene from the film Django Unchained starring African American actor Jamie Foxx riding horseback, as well as an image of a teepee in a movie scene.

Violence

There are images of fire burning property, guns, as well as mentions about war and engaging in combat while riding horseback.

Sex
Language

Robin’s grandfather tells him that he'll "amount to nothing"; and as a kid who was a loner and couldn't read and speak well, Robin is referred to as the "runt of the litter" among family members.

Consumerism

References and images include archival footage with signs promoting rodeos; scenes from Western movies featuring actors such as Clint Eastwood, Jamie Foxx, and John Wayne; cigarette and beer TV commercials; and apparel with designs, logos, and messages.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Images include smoking, a pack of cigarettes, and archival footage of cigarette and beer TV ads.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Heroes Were Cowboys is a short documentary about horse trainer Robin Wiltshire. With his passion for cowboys and horses since his childhood days in Australian, Robin goes on to become an expert in Hollywood teaching horses for film and TV roles, including the Clydesdales who starred in a Super Bowl commercial. A grandparent tells Robin that he'll "amount to nothing," and Robin is referred to as the "runt of the litter" among family. Images include smoking, fire burning property, guns, and archival footage of cigarette and beer TV ads. Positive messages include having the drive to follow through on a passion in life while also overcoming obstacles, as well as gaining confidence through the support offered from family and friends.

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What's the story?

MY HEROES WERE COWBOYS is an engaging short documentary about the life of horse trainer Robin Wiltshire. A native of Australian who grows up around horses and later relocates to the United States, Robin is attracted to American Western films. A breakthrough job opportunity leads Robin to a career where he takes centerstage as a horse trainer for movie and TV productions and also operates a ranch for animals in Wyoming.

Is it any good?

My Heroes Were Cowboys is a captivatingly concise, yet comprehensive, documentary short about horse trainer Robin Wiltshire. “I would say I was about 10 or 11,” recalls the Australian native, “I went into this movie theater and I was mesmerized” with American movie Westerns and horses. “Robin is very passionate about re-creating the old wild West,” says his wife Kate about his love. The couple, along with their son Patrick, relocate to live on a Wyoming ranch where Robin trains horses for film and TV roles. "As much love that you can put into them," says Robin about the horses he refers to as his kids, "they're going to give it back to you." My Heroes Were Cowboys is well-worth-the-ride storytelling that can encourage dialogue about the journey it takes to pursue one's passions and the steps to take to get there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the perseverance of Robin Wiltshire in My Heroes Were Cowboys. How does he also demonstrate compassion, courage, and curiosity? Why are these important character strengths?

  • What led Robin to befriend horses and become a trainer? Why does Robin consider horses to be his kids?

  • If you could choose an animal to grow up with, which would it be and why? What kind of bond would you hope for?

  • How have you gained confidence in pursuing a passion? In what ways have others helped in achieving your goal?

  • What can be the possible effects of discouraging comments? If you were ever to experience this type of behavior, how would you manage it?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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