GenreFamily SequelGreen Grass of Wyoming CountryUnited States
Release dateMarch 15, 1945 (1945-03-15) WriterMary OHara (novel), Dwight Cummins (screenplay), Dorothy Yost (screenplay) CastRoddy McDowall (Ken McLaughlin), Preston Foster (Rob McLaughlin), Rita Johnson (Nelle McLaughlin), James Bell (Gus), Patti Hale (Hildy), Carleton Young (Major Harris) Similar moviesRelated Louis King movies
TaglineA young boy tries to train Thunderhead, a beautiful white colt and the son of his beloved Flicka, to be a champion race horse.
Thunderhead, Son of Flicka is a 1945 Technicolor family film directed by Louis King. It is a sequel to the 1943 film My Friend Flicka (remade in 2006 as Flicka). This film was adapted to screen by Dwight Cummins and Dorothy Yost from Mary O'Hara's novel, Thunderhead (1943), second in a trilogy with My Friend Flicka (1941) and Green Grass of Wyoming (1946).
The first feature film to be photographed entirely on 35mm Color negative film, in this case Technicolor Color motion picture film (section Monopack color film). Earlier color features used black and white negative film photographed behind color filters, or used Monopack only for certain sequences.
Ken McLaughlin's (Roddy McDowall) mare Flicka gives birth to an all-white colt that, unknown to Ken's dad, Rob (Preston Foster), was actually sired by a neighboring rancher's thoroughbred racehorse, Appalachia, rather than Rob's own stallion, Banner. Ken's mother, Nell (Rita Johnson), names the colt Thunderhead after the billowing white clouds she sees overhead. Ken trains Thunderhead as a race horse, but the colt suffers an injury during his first race, ending his racing career.
Meanwhile, the Albino, a wild stallion that has been raiding local ranchers' herds for years, steals Rob McLaughlin's best mares and kills Banner, putting the family near bankruptcy. The Albino is also Thunderhead's grand-sire. Rob, Ken, and the ranch hands search for the mares, but during the night, Thunderhead gets loose and runs off.
Tracking Thunderhead on foot to a secluded valley, Ken discovers the Albino's herd, including his father's horses. The Albino attacks Ken, but Thunderhead fights and kills the Albino, saving Ken's life.
Rob and the others arrive as Thunderhead rounds up the Albino's herd, heading them to the McLaughlin ranch. But once there, Thunderhead is uneasy. Rob tells Ken that Thunderhead is a king now and wants to roam his realm. Ken removes Thunderhead's halter, freeing him.
Roddy McDowall as Ken McLaughlin
Preston Foster as Rob McLaughlin
Rita Johnson as Nelle McLaughlin
James Bell as Gus
Patti Hale as Hildy (as Diana Hale)
Carleton Young as Maj. Harris
Ralph Sanford as Charlie Sargent
Al Bridge as Dr. Hicks
Robert Filmer as Tim
The film was shot on location at various sites, including the following:
Oregon: Bridal Veil Falls at Oneonta Gorge and the Multnomah County Fairgrounds near Gresham, Oregon
California: Brent's Crags, Hidden Valley, and Hollywood Park Racetrack
Utah: Zion National Park, Kanab, Bryce Canyon National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Navajo Lake, Glendale Gorge, Cedar City, and Cedar Breaks National Monument