December Doc Soup: UNBRANDED

Year 2014
Runtime 105 mins

Four university friends embark on a 3,000-mile journey riding wild horses on backcountry though the American West from Mexico to Canada.

Travelling for over five-months, Ben Masters, Jonny Fitzsimons, Thomas Glover and Ben Thamer – all recent Texas A&M University graduates – navigate their way on horseback through a continuous stretch of public lands in the American West.

The harsh, rugged, and strikingly beautiful terrain of Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana become home for these 21st Century cowboys in a of endurance that takes them through desert, canyons, and steep, rocky hillsides, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.

As we ride alongside the four friends, the documentary ties in issues of sustainability and the ethics surrounding wild horses and their future place in the America landscape. The mustangs that the friends adopted and trained for their journey, are only a handful of the 47,925 wild horses and burros currently living in short term pens and long term pastures to avoid overpopulation in the region.

Facts and opposing views by local ranchers, representatives of the US Bureau of Land Management and animal rights advocates are explored, examining the role of wild horses that compete for scarce resources in the fragile ecosystem.

These larger questions about the complexities of how to deal with the wild horses living on the land are parallelled by the difficulties the group faces, including snowpack, wildfire, unrelenting heat, cliffs, injury, and death.

Witness this incredible journey of transformation as the American West tests the endurance, strength and friendship of four men and their horses.


United States
Audience Award, Hot Docs 2015; Audience Award, Mountain Film 2015
Hot Docs 2015
Phillip Baribeau
Executive Producer
Cindy Meehl, Cami & John C. Gof,f Terry & Margaret Hodge, Doug & Anne Marie Bratton
Dennis Aig, Phillip Baribeau, Ben Masters
Phillip Baribeau, Korey Kaczmarek
Scott Chestnut
Noah Sorota
Ben Thamer, Ben Masters, Thomas Glover, Jonny Fitzsimons