Upcoming PBS Documentary ‘American Horses’ Is Narrated by Bill Pullman

by Matthew Memrick
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Actor and Montana rancher Bill Pullman will narrate a PBS documentary called “American Horses” this week, featuring four top breeds.

The veteran actor, who played the president in “Independence Day,” will take us through these horses’ history on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Cowboys and Indians previewed the documentary, which takes a look at the Mustang, Appaloosa, Morgan, and Quarter Horse breeds.

These horses had a hand in American history, bringing settlers across the country and cultivating their fields. Each breed’s unique story has a good bit of history behind it. Experts and lifelong ranchers help tell the tale of these animals and their roles in the country’s development.

The series goes back to the origin story of these animals in Polecat Bench, Wyoming fossil beds. The horse spread around the globe but went extinct in North America. According to KPBS, Spanish explorers brought the horses back after a 10,000-year absence.

Today, there are more than 100 American horse breeds. They come from a combination of natural selection, breeding choices, and chance. 

Four Breeds Highlight Bill Pullman’s PBS Documentary

Producer Eric Bendick told Provo Daily Herald that the documentary went with four breeds because they “are representative of this span and celebration of American history, kind of at the signature moments through history.”

Bendick also added the horse names evoke “strong emotions,” and they “have really strong ties to natural history and natural history that we could showcase.”

How many horses are there in the United States? By the last count from the American Horse Council in 2016, there are 7.2 million. According to Data Paddock, that’s a decrease of about 2 million since 2003.

When Pullman’s not acting, he’s helping his brother at their 1,000-acre Montana ranch. The Beachwood Canyon ranch is near Whitehall. That city’s between Bozeman and Butte.

For the documentary, he talked about his need for horses.

“We need our horses because we have BLM (Bureau of Land Management) permits up in the mountains,” Pullman told the Daily Herald.

The actor said his ranch makes “some pretty challenging moves that we have to make in the course of the summer, moving them up there, for one thing, and moving them between pastures.”

Pullman Narrated Another Amazing Documentary

After years of great movies, Bill Pullman lent his voice to a 2019 documentary.

“Epic Yellowstone” aired on the Smithsonian Channel. If you have Paramount+, check it out.

Pullman’s narration adds to the stellar camera angles. The actor tells of animal struggles and triumphs in the famous park. The four episodes make you feel like you’re walking through the park while coming oh-so-close to the wildlife. Plus, it’s so short you can watch it over again when you’re done. 

According to Real Screen, the series used state-of-the-art 8K cameras, FLIR thermal imagery, drone timelapse, Cineflex aerials, and miniature nest cameras.

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