Spirit Riding Free

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Spirit Riding Free TV Poster Image
Courage, adventure, and a great role model in sweet series.
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 19 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Kids are introduced to the time and place of the movie's setting and some of the issues that arose from westward settlement.

Positive Messages

Kids see Lucky embrace a big change in her life, despite her initial fears about it. She makes new friends by being true to herself and honest with them, and she's wise to the facade of Maricela's manufactured affection. There's much diversity among the main cast, as Lucky is of Hispanic heritage and Pru is African-American. This story treads lightly on issues related to migration and its impact on existing residents as it relates to the westward settlement in American history, presenting the opposing side only as it affects native stallions like Spirit rather than Native people. Other issues like property and land rights are raised in the context of the story, reflecting uncertainties of the time and place. Lucky reflects on the past loss of her mother. Some characters are shown to be evil outright, but others hide their true intentions to befriend and manipulate Lucky and her friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lucky is confident, courageous, and kindhearted, and she chooses her friends (and dismisses others) based on similar positive qualities. Her father encourages her to be true to herself while still welcoming adventure into her life; her aunt, on the other hand, tries to suppress Lucky's spirit and force her to conform to rigid class mores.

Violence & Scariness

Some moments of peril for characters, as when three girls must outrun explosions in a canyon. Scares involving villains can be upsetting; a shadowy bandit lurches at Lucky in her dreams, a woman ties up and kidnaps Lucky, and a wagon carrying a woman falls over the edge of a cliff. Other plot cliffhangers suggest favorite characters are in danger and don't resolve themselves by an episode's end.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The show follows the 2002 movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but the content doesn't reference the connection.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spirit Riding Free follows Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and tells the story of the original Spirit's offspring and a young girl he befriends. Set during the expansion of the American West, it treads lightly on the factual strife between new settlers and the indigenous population, represented by wild stallions like Spirit. Even so, the content raises issues, such as migration and assimilation, parents and kids can discuss. There are some tense moments and brief scares (lurking, shadowy figures who pose threats to kids, for instance) for young characters, including a storyline in later episodes that introduces a malevolent villain who poses as a victim only to manipulate kids' trust and put them in bodily danger. Plot cliffhangers also can cause worry about favorite characters' destinies as episodes end without resolution. Happily, though, Lucky is an exceptional heroine, showing courage, selflessness, and a tireless sense of adventure.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJoe H. September 11, 2017

Season 2 Final Episode is Not Age Appropriate

Cliffhangers can be fun for adults. It can be exciting not knowing if the main character will be ok and adults can wait for months for powerful emotional resol... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 year old Written byJuliet M. May 8, 2017
Kid, 11 years old May 6, 2017

Good show with good messages

Spirit Riding Free has good messages with times if peril.
Teen, 13 years old Written byPaige Edwards December 3, 2017

WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE IIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's the story?

When her dad's job with the railroad takes Lucky Prescott (voiced by Amber Frank) to the primitive western town of Miradaro, she's none too sure she will fit in. Caught between her Aunt Cora's (Kari Wahlgren) expectations that Lucky be raised a proper young lady and her own adventurous spirit that often stands in contradiction, she finds solace in the company of a headstrong wild stallion she names Spirit and soon befriends classmates Pru (Sydney Park) and Abigail (Bailey Gambertoglio). Together the three girls and their horses share adventures in the as yet untamed land of the American West.

Is it any good?

Elder Spirit's legacy of courage and fortitude is alive and well in his offspring and in eager young Lucky, who together feel emboldened to take on the world. This sweet story of friendship doesn't quite match the original movie's powerful impact, but it presents a strong heroine in Lucky and lively stories that are both humorous and heartwarming. Besides the special connection between Lucky and Spirit, there's also much to like in the girls' relationship and in how they never let the pressure of their uppity classmate influence their own values.

Spirit Riding Free is mostly light on true villains, typically focusing on Lucky and her friends' relationship and adventures together. In cases where the show does introduce bad guys (and gals), it doesn't understate the danger they pose to the protagonists, and some exchanges and the lurking threats may frighten sensitive viewers. That said, the series does have similar themes that reflect the changing atmosphere of the 19th century American West as the railroad opened up the land to settlement, though usually without presenting a direct human impact.. Lucky and Spirit's struggles to adjust to their changing world can inspire discussions about courage and facing adversity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what accounts for Lucky and Spirit's special connection. Which characteristics do they share? How does each one inspire the other even without being able to converse?

  • How do characters in this show demonstrate courage? Which other character strengths are important?

  • Who are Lucky's role models? How is she inspired by the memory of her mom? What is the value of having role models to emulate?

  • Were girls and boys treated differently in Lucky’s time? How does Lucky deal with what's expected of her by her aunt vs. what she wants to do in life? Do you think this is an accurate example of what girlhood was like many years ago?

  • Are Lucky’s adventures are always safe?  She and her friends have a lot of freedom and sometimes get into scary situations. Do you think the consequences they face on the show would be the same in real life? Find more related discussion questions here

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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