It was a live-action Disney movie, about a girl, Sonora Webster (played by Gabrielle Anwar who has called Wild Hearts the favorite of her films), who is a runaway during the 1930s. She gets a job as a stable hand for Doc Carver, and his 'diving horses.' She dreams of becoming a diving girl, and eventually gets her break. There is an accident, and it looks like she may never dive again. But hard work and courage pay off, and naturally it ends well. It is Disney, after all.
Throughout the story, Sonora develops a relationship with Doc's son, Al, played by Michael Schoeffling, better known to most children of the 80s as Jake Ryan. This was the first movie I had seen him in (I was 9 - Sixteen Candles was still several years away) and I immediately fell in love. He is the perfect leading man - charming, sensitive, gorgeous, strong, secure. He was probably my first real celebrity crush, and I am still sad that he dropped out of the industry. I would give an arm to see how he looks today - he turns 50 this year and I would bet that he looks amazing still. Sigh. Old crushes die hard.
I think the reason I love this movie so much, still, is that I see a little bit of myself in Sonora. She's a little bit wild, a lot bit stubborn, and she doesn't give up. I like to think that I have those same characteristics. It's an inspiring story without being completely hokey, and there is happiness but also sorrow. This movie, to me, has stood up to time and its classic themes keep me hooked year after year. Recently I discovered Netflix has it on instant movies, so you can bet I'll be watching it incredibly soon.
"I found my destiny, not in far off places but within myself."