The Stallion

© 1998 Michelle Denson

Early morning before the sun has risen, Rob is saddling his horse.

Rob: (To his horse) Well get him this year boy.

Matt walking in

Matt: Get who?

Rob: That stallion dad, I know I'm going to get him this year.

Matt: Oh Rob, this is the fifth year. Why is it so important that you catch that stallion?

Rob tightens the girth sharply

Rob: It just is

Turns towards Matt

Rob: I'll be back in a few days.

Matt: Rob you know don't have to prove anything to me or anyone else. This is foolishness. Your gonna get hurt.

Rob turns and grabs the reins of his horse and the lead of the pack horse

Rob: Dad I'm going and I'll be fine. I caught a glimpse of him the other day by the creek.

Matt: At the creek? Why were you out that way? Don't you know that is a dangerous part son?

Rob turns and starts to mount his horse, but Matt grasps his shoulder and pulls Rob towards him.

Matt: I can't let you go Rob, it's too dangerous

Rob shrugs his shoulder loose and continues to mount his horse.

Rob: Thanks dad, thanks for believing in me.

Matt: Rob..

Rob rides off ignoring his fathers pleas. Matt heads back into the barn and starts to saddle his horse. Colin walks in.

Colin: Morning dad, where's Rob heading off to?

Matt: To get himself killed.

Colin: What? Get himself killed how?

Matt: He's going after that stallion.

Colin: Again. Oh dad he'll be all right, you know he goes out there every year and always comes back without him. That old stallion is just too smart and wild to be caught. Besides dad, his old horse couldn't catch him on his best day. He'll be back in a few days with a great story of how he almost caught that stallion. You need to let him go dad, he's not a boy anymore.

Matt: I know that son, but he took that bay gelding. You know that gelding is fast enough to catch the stallion.

Colin: Trust him dad. He'll be okay. Let's go eat breakfast.

The scene changes to a beautiful landscape, the snow capped mountains are seen clearly and the meadow is covered with dark green grass and an array of flowers. Rob stops the horses and dismounts.

Rob: Well boys we should be there shortly. To bad I couldn't tell dad where I really saw the stallion, but I know him he should be out looking for me soon enough. I figure once he does figure where we've gone, we will have had plenty enough time to catch that stallion. Well we best be off if I want to get started today.

Rob remounts his old horse and trots off towards the mountains. Later in the barn at Lanagra, Matt and Colin are brushing their horses. Colin looks at Matt and can see he is concerned.

Colin: Dad, what's wrong? Is it Rob? You know he can take care of himself.

Matt: I know he can take care of himself, but when he gets a fool notion in his head, he just doesn't think.

Colin: Well maybe he does need to do this.

Matt: What?

Colin: Yes, maybe he does need to prove something. To prove to you that he is capable of catching that stallion.

Matt: But he's going to get himself killed.

Colin: Dad that's a little extreme don't you think. Rob has grown up in these woods. He's your son, the son of the man from snowy river. That's a hefty title to stack up to. You know Rob, he needs to prove himself. Not to everyone else, but to you and more than you, to himself.

Matt puts the brush down and walks over to the saddles. He picks his up and starts to saddle his horse.

Colin: Dad

Matt interrupts before Colin can finish.

Matt: I've got to talk some sense into that boy. He said he was heading out to the creek.

Colin: The creek? That's strange, I thought the stallion stayed more towards the mountains?

Matt and Colin stop and look at each other. Colin puts down his brush and grabs his saddle.

Matt: I don't know how I could have overlooked that. He's headed up to the mountains. Oh Rob please don't do anything stupid.

Colin and Matt mount their horses and head off towards the mountains. Rob has stopped and dismounted his horse and ties the two horses to the tree.

Rob: Well I must say we made good time.

The wind is stronger here and a crash of thunder is heard.

Rob: Okay boy(talking to the bay gelding) let's get you ready. We can do some looking around before the storm hits.

Rob pulls the pack off the gelding and moves it to an area where it will stay dry. He then changes the saddle over to the gelding. He mounts and starts to head off.

Rob: Don't worry old boy I'll be back shortly.

His old horse stands still and relaxes. Rob gives a little click and they head off deeper into the mountains. Matt and Colin have reached the meadow by dusk and decided to make camp for the night. A loud crash of thunder catches their attention.

Colin: Seems a storm is brewing. We could be in for some rough weather.

Matt: I know, I just hope Rob isn't out trying to find that stallion in this weather. Those mountains are dangerous enough in good weather.

Colin: Don't worry dad, we'll find him in the morning.

Back in the mountains, Rob has stopped at the bottom of the mountain, at the edge of the woods before a clearing down below. It is quiet and no sign of the stallion or the rest of the brumbies herd. Another crash of thunder hits and the gelding is a bit unsettled.

Rob: Whoa, easy boy. It's okay, let's head back in. We'll try again tomorrow.

Rob turns the gelding around and heads back up the mountain. Again another crash of thunder, accompanied with a bolt of lightning hitting a tree behind them. The gelding rears up but Rob settles him with more soft words. He stops and pats the gelding on the neck and gives a click, they continue up the mountain. Heavy rain starts pouring down.

Rob: Okay boy we're almost there, just a little farther and we will be back at camp.

They reach the top of the mountain and head back through the woods towards the camp. A crash of lightning hits a tree infront of them, the gelding rears and breaks from Robs control. He turns around and heads back towards the mountain. Rob desperately tries to gain control of the gelding. As they reach the mountain slope, Rob gains control of him and they turn around and head back towards the camp once more. There is a sound of thunder, but it is rolling and is getting much louder. The gelding again is uneasy, he starts to get jumpy and rears at the sight of a herd of horses coming straight for them. Rob, being distracted by the sight of the brumbies loses his grip of the gelding and is tossed onto the ground. Rob reaches for the reins of the gelding, but the gelding kicks him on the side of the head and knocks him unconscious. The gelding takes off after the other horses. Moments later the dust settles and nothing is heard, Rob lies unconscious on the ground.

Hours have passed by and the rain has stopped. Matt and Colin are saddling their horses. Matt stops and looks to the sky.

Matt: We better get a move on, looks like more rough weather tonight.

Colin: Your right dad, let's get going.

Colin starts to mount his horse, but stops as he sees a group of horses running there way.

Colin: Dad, brumbies.

Matt turns and looks at the horses in the distant.

Matt: There's the stallion.

Colin: I guess he didn't catch him yesterday.

Matt: Oh no!

Colin: What is it dad?

Matt: The gelding.

They mount their horses and ride hard towards the brumbies. As they catch up, they single out the gelding breaking him from the herd. They settle him down and get off their horses.

Matt: ROB...(a long pause)...ROB!

There is no answer. Colin looks over the gelding.

Colin: Dad I don't think Rob has been on the gelding in quite awhile.

Matt: Why's that? Again he calls out ROB!

Colin: Dad the saddle is all torn up.

Matt: Hmm...ROB...let's go.

They mount and head towards the mountains riding hard. Each alternately calling for Rob. As the sun rises in the mountains, Rob starts to open his eyes. In obvious pain he winces as he tries to sit up. He takes his hand to check his head. He feels a large knot and brings his hand down and looks at the blood dripping. He works his way to his feet and steadies himself against a nearby tree. He takes a few moments to gain his strength and figure out which direction the camp is. He finds his direction and starts back. Weakened from blood loss, he struggles through the woods for about an hour, when he catches sight of the camp. He sees his old horse and head for him.

Rob: (struggling with his words) Easy boy, let's get home.

Rob attempts to mount the horse, but he is too week. He leans up against the horse, staining his coat with blood. Rob realizing he is unable to ride, looks around for some wood to start a fire. He gathers as much as he can around him, but it is not enough, so he ventures farther away from the camp. As he goes deeper into the woods, he gets weaker and weaker until he has passed out.

Almost an hour later Matt and Colin reach the mountains. Matt calls for Rob, but there is no answer. Colin looks around and sees the camp.

Colin: Dad, the camp.

They head off to the camp, finding it empty, except for the old horse.

Matt: His horse is still here, he must be out in the woods,

Colin: ROB

Matt: Looks like he was gather wood.

Matt squatting near the wood pile looks up and sees the blood on the horse. He gets up and goes to the old horse.

Matt: Colin

Colin comes over and sees the blood. Matt takes and touches it with his finger, than smears it between his finger and thumb.

Matt: This is fresh.

Colin looks to the ground.

Colin: Dad tracks.

They both head off following the tracks through the woods. They stop just yards from where Rob lies unconscious.

Matt: We better split off.

Colin: Okay

They continue going and calling for Rob. Colin catches sight of blood on a nearby tree.

Colin: Dad...(he calls for Rob)

Matt comes running over

Matt: What is it?

Colin: More blood.

Matt: ROB

Rob stirs and moans before he has fallen into unconscious once more.

Colin: Dad, did you hear that?

Matt: Yes, over there.

They head towards the area where the sound came from. Calling for Rob, but there is no answer. Than Matt catches sight of him

Matt: There

He points to the ground where Rob lies motionless. They rush over and drop to his side.

Matt: Rob. Rob can you hear me? Rob.

Rob doesn't answer. Matt looks to Colin.

Colin: He's alive, but we need to get him off this mountain.

Matt: Grab his feet.

Colin grabs Rob's feet, while Matt grabs his upper body. They carry his limp body back to the camp.

Matt: We better put him on his old horse. That gelding is just too flighty.

Colin: Okay

Colin changes the saddle to Rob's old horse while Matt tries to get Rob up.

Matt: Rob, come on son can you hear me? Rob

Rob stirs, and winces in pain. His eyes open a little.

Rob: (with a lot of effort) Dad

Matt: Rob, you'll be okay son. We're taking you home. Colin some water.

Rob looks around and sees Colin. He draws his attention back to Matt. Matt gives him some water, but Rob doesn't drink a lot.

Rob: Dad, I'm...

But winces in pain and passes out before he can finish his sentence.

Matt: Rob. Rob. Colin help me getting him on my horse.

Colin: Wouldn't it be faster for him to ride on the other horse?

Matt: He would never be able to hold on Colin. He can barely keep consciousness as it is.

Colin helps Matt get Rob onto his horse. Matt than gets on his horse. Colin grabs the other two horses and mount is.

Matt: Colin, we are going to have to ride fast.

Colin: Okay dad, lets go.

They head back towards Langara as fast as they can. Hours later they reach the edge of Lanagara. Their horses exhausted and covered with sweat. Matt looks to Colin, both breathing heavy. Rob is still unconscious.

Colin: How is he dad?

Matt: He's hanging in there.

Colin: Good, we better keep going than.

Matt: Colin you ride ahead and send for the doctor. I need you to have everything ready. You horse is still capable of moving fast, mine carries two. I have to slow him down a bit. Hurry Colin.

Colin: Dad

Matt: Go Colin, hurry.

Colin rides off. Matt gets going as well, but at a slower pace. Rob is still unconscious. Time has passed and the scene has changed to Langara. Colin is riding in.

Colin: DANNI (He yells)

Danni comes out of the house.

Danni: What is it Colin?

Colin: Rob, he's been hurt.

Danni: Hurt? How?

Colin: I'm not sure, but he has a pretty bad bump on the head.

Danni: Is he okay.

Colin: I don't know. I need to send for a doctor. Can you get some water boiled?

Danni: Sure, of course. How far until dad gets here?

Colin: He should be here shortly.

Danni goes back into the house and heats up some water. Colin heads to the barn and puts away the horses. One of the hands are in the barn.

Colin: I need you to ride to town and get the doctor.

Hand: Okay sir.

Colin: Please ride fast

The hand grabs his horse and heads off to town at full speed. Colin finishes putting the horses away and heads back into the house. About a half hour passes as a rider is heard. Matt has reached Langara.

Matt: Colin..Danni

Colin and Danni rush out of the house to help Matt with Rob.

Danni: Oh Rob. Dad is he..

Matt: No he's alive, just hasn't regained consciousness. Colin, help me get him inside.

Colin helps Matt with Rob and they head to the house.

Matt: Danni the door.

Danni rushes infront of them and opens the door.

Matt: Danni, put the horse away please. Make sure he gets some water.

Danni: Okay dad

Matt and Colin continue inside the house and into Rob's bedroom. There they lie him on the bed. Matt takes a closer look at his head.

Matt: Colin can you get me some hot water? I want to clean this up a bit.

Colin: All right dad.

Colin leaves for the water that Danni had boiled earlier. Danni enters the house and heads into the kitchen.

Colin: Danni, can you grab those towels for me?

Danni: Okay Colin

Colin: Thankyou

Danni and Colin head back to Rob's room. When they enter they see Matt kneeled by his bedside.

Colin: Dad?

Matt: It's okay

Colin has a sense of relief as does Danni. Colin puts the bowl of water on the table next to Rob's bed. Matt reaches for a towel and drops it into the bowl. He allows it to soak and then wrings out the excessive water. He starts to clean Rob's head. He changes towels a few times. The clear water now diluted with blood

Danni: I'll get some fresh water

Matt: Thankyou Danni

Colin: Do you need any help?

Danni: No, that's all right I can manage.

Danni leaves the room. Colin walks over and places his hand on Matt's shoulder.

Colin: Dad?

Matt: He'll be all right, I'm sure of it

Matt and Colin look up as riders are heard approaching Langara.

Matt: Colin.

Colin: I'll get him

Colin rushes out of the room and outside to get the doctor.

Colin: Doctor, please hurry, he hasn't regained consciousness.

Doctor: Do you know what happened?

Colin: No, but he has a pretty big bump on his head. When we found him he was unconscious and he was still bleeding. That was hours ago.

Doctor: Okay

The doctor and Colin head back to Rob's room. Matt stops as they enter the room

Matt: Doctor

Doctor: Mr. McGregor, was there anything else besides the bump on the head?

Matt: No

Doctor: Okay let me take a look at him.

The doctor takes a few minutes and goes over Rob. There is a tense atmosphere as the three McGregor's wait for some news. The doctor turns and looks at Matt.

Matt: How is he doctor?

Doctor: Well it seems like he has had a blow to the head. He's hypothermic and has had a lot of blood loss.

Matt: Will he be okay?

Doctor: It's too soon to tell. For right now we need to warm him up and get some fluid into him. Can you help me get these wet clothes off of him? Than I will clean up his wound.

Matt: Danni

Danni leaves the room and heads down to the kitchen to make some coffee for the men, while they get Rob changed. After they finish getting him changed the doctor cleans up Rob's wound.

Doctor: I've done everything I can do for him, now it is up to him. We should know more in a few hours.

Matt: Thankyou doctor

Danni enters with some fresh coffee.

Danni: Coffee?

Matt, Colin, and the doctor take a cup. Several hours have passed by. Danni and Colin have fallen asleep on the chairs they had been sitting in, while Matt sits by the bed waiting for Rob to wake up.

Matt: Come on Rob, please wake up. I just don't understand why you need to keep proving yourself. You should know you don't have to prove yourself to me or anyone else. Rob, I love you son, please don't leave me.

Matt kneels down by Rob's bed and lays his head on the mattress. Rob starts to open his eyes. He looks around the room and sees everyone sleeping. He looks to his side and sees Matt. He reaches his hand over and reaches for Matt.

Rob: Dad

Matt starts to get up, thinking he has dreamt this.

Rob: Dad, I'm sorry

A tear fills Matt's eye.

Matt: Oh Rob, it's not your fault, son.

The family starts to awaken to the sounds of Rob's voice. They come over to Matt's side.

Colin: How are you feeling?

Rob: Like I got kicked in the head

Danni: Well at least he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

The family laughs. The doctor comes over to check Rob out.

Doctor: Well you'll be okay in a few weeks. Make sure you stay in bed and no strenuous activity until you have completely healed. I will be back out in a few days to check on you. If you have any problems please contact me

Matt: Thankyou doctor. Colin will you walk the doctor out.

Colin: Doctor

Colin and the doctor leave the room.

Danni: I'm going to make some food

Matt: Thankyou Danni

Danni leaves the room.

Rob: Don't worry dad, I'll get that stallion next year.

They start to laugh

Matt: We'll next year, if you don't mind I'd like to join you.

Rob: I'd like that. Thanks dad.

Matt and Rob smile at each other

Matt: Now get some sleep Rob, you need to get well.

Rob: Okay dad, night.

Matt: Night son, I love you

Rob: Love you too.

Rob closes his eyes and falls asleep. Matt watches for a few moments, then turns and looks up towards the sky.

Matt: Thankyou

Matt smiles and heads to the kitchen.