With cowboys, horses, lassos, and mountains, The Man from Snowy Riveris an Australian western adventure with a little something for everyone. Based on a poem written at the end of the nineteenth century, it tells the story of a brave young frontiersman who has to prove himself after the death of his father. Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) and his father, Henry (Terence Donovan), are short of even a penny as frontiersmen to the mountainous parts of Australia. After the unexpected death of his father, Jim is forced to leave to the low lands to find work. Before leaving, Spur (Kirk Douglas), his father’s good friend, gives him a horse and wishes him well.
While in town, Jim meets the wealthy frontiersman, Harrison (Kirk Douglas), who is Spur’s twin brother, and his beautiful daughter, Jessica (Sigrid Thorton). Harrison decides to hire Jim and once he arrives, he is immediately an outcast among the other workers on Harrison’s estate. Attractive to any middle schooler, Jim becomes the underdog that has the burden of his father’s death, his mysterious future, and the possibility of a life with Jessica on his back.
When Jim warns Harrison about the ruggedness of the high country, he is excluded from their expedition. While alone on the estate, he becomes closer to Jessica, who is determined to rebel against her father’s plan for her to go to college and become a good wife; taking full advantage of her father’s absence, she and Jim work together to tame the new stallion.
Harrison returns asking for Jim’s help to capture and bring back twenty horses that are on top of the mountain. After Jim leaves, Jessica’s father discovers that Jessica and Jim have been trying to tame the colt. In a rage, he tells Jessica he is sending her to the Presbyterian Women’s College and firing Jim.
As the dependable heroine, Jessica runs away from home. In the morning her father and his workers attempt to find her, but there is a storm coming, and they have no luck. When Jessica runs into trouble, Jim sees her horse and is able to save her. To avoid the storm, Jim takes her to Spur’s house, not knowing that Jessica is unaware that she has an uncle.
Jim takes Jessica back home, where he is then ousted by her father. In the meantime, the remaining workers drink too much and accidentally let the colt loose. Jim and Spur set camp on their way back to the highlands where they run into Clancy (Jack Tompson), who asks Jim to help them find the colt. In a dangerous attempt to regain the colt from the wild horses, Jim takes a rugged path that the others think he will die on. They return home prematurely defeated to meet Jessica’s hopeful eyes asking where Jim is. Jim returns home only to impress Harrison and prove his mastery of the rough terrain and prove his place in Jessica’s heart.
A predictable, sweet, and fun adventure, The Man from Snowy River is a classic children’s film. It’s silly and light and has enough juice to entertain adults yet enough simplicity for someone in any age group to follow along. The new HD blu-ray has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and the image quality is solid.