Australian Council on Children and the Media

Home on the Range

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Short takes

(Parental guidance for under 8s (Viol.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Home on the Range
  • a review of Home on the Range completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 September 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Children under the age of 8 might need parental guidance to view this film, due to the level of violence and frequent occurrence of negative behaviours.
Children aged 8-13 Some children over the age of 8 may still need parental guidance, depending on their age, levels of understanding and susceptibility to be influenced by violence or imitate inappropriate behaviours.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of 13 would be ok to see this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Home on the Range
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 76 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The vengeful villain Alameda Slim has been ‘settling an old score’ with cattle ranchers by stealing their cattle. This destroys their farms economically and he then purchases them at rock bottom prices. Maggie, an old show cow, the only animal left on Abner’s ranch after Alameda is through, is taken to the Patch of Heaven farm down the road. There Maggie meets Mrs. Calloway an very reserved and proper English cow with a serious disdain for show cows.

Shortly after Maggie’s arrival, a bad harvest forces the bank to foreclose on Pearl, an elderly farmer who has lived on Patch of Heaven all her life and who looks on her animals as family. Her three cows Maggie, Grace and Mrs. Calloway set off to save the day by hatching a plan to capture Alameda Slim and use the reward money to save the farm. They encounter many obstacles along the way including Buck, a delusional horse who thinks he is a hero, a bounty hunter, and some very bad weather. Maggie and Mrs. Calloway eventually learn to appreciate each other’s differences as they work together to bring Slim to justice and save their little Patch of Heaven.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Very little of the violence portrayed in the film had any real life consequence and most of it, being a cartoon, had a comic undertone. Throughout the film there was regular and repeated violence mostly in the form of: slapping, punching, hitting, kicking, throwing, poking, strangling, biting, choking, etc.

Some of the more notable scenes are as follows:

  • Buck repeatedly imagines himself as a hero using martial arts to triumph over villainous gun wielding gangs.
  • Maggie and Mrs. Calloway have an argument and wind up kicking, ramming and pounding each other into the ground. Spectators enthusiastically gather around to watch the two ‘mud-wrestling’.
  • There was a bar fight in a local saloon when the cows first arrived in town. They wandered on stage during a burlesque performance and the three female dancers then attacked the cows, grabbing, kicking pulling, punching, throwing etc., while the patrons, all male, laughed and encouraged them to continue. This scene sent an obvious message that violence is funny, especially when it pits female characters against one another.
  • A shot is fired and we see three cowboys tied up.
  • Slim repeatedly threatens his three nephews by attempting to hit them with a red-hot branding iron. He later strangles one of them.
  • Mrs. Calloway slams her way out of a cattle car and smashes into Slim’s sidekick Rico who is preparing to shoot Buck with his rifle.
  • Shaft dynamite is exploded in an old mine. This creates a fireball that propels the cows out of the shaft and down the side of a canyon where they crash into an on-coming train.
  • On a number of occasions throughout the film, various characters are hit so hard in the face that they wind up spitting out mouthfuls of teeth.
  • Slim is hit numerous times in the face so hard that he sees stars.
  • Slim aims a gun at the cows while three piglets and a goat throw cans at him.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The only scene that might be scary for some young children would be the flash flood that the cows must face while attempting to cross the desert. A huge wave of water comes up unexpectedly, the screen becomes much darker and the scene is accompanied by loud, tense, dramatic music. The cows themselves are very frightened and at one stage it looks like Maggie is going to drown.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children over the age of eight are unlikely to be scared by this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen are unlikely to be scared by this film.

Sexual references

The film has the following sexual references:

  • The first glimpse of Maggie is of her exceptionally large udder and her first words are: “Yeah they’re real. Stop staring.”
  • When the cows encounter a large herd of cattle, after some obvious flirting, one of the bulls says to the cows in a very suggestive manner “Maybe we can help each other, hmmm?”
  • Later Maggie tells two bulls, after they have been flirting with the cows, to “take a cold shower.”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no explicit nudity or sexual activity; however at the saloon there are three burlesque dancers wearing low-cut tops that show some cleavage.

Use of substances

The following scenes show mild substance use:

  • In the saloon, most of the patrons were drinking mugs of a frothy beverage, presumably beer.
  • There is a brief scene in which a couple of men are spitting chewing tobacco.

Coarse language

This film does not contain any coarse language as such, but it does contain a large amount of name-calling, rude language and general putdowns.

  • On the farm a grouchy goat, Jeb, says to three piglets “Get off my case you little cocktail wieners!”
  • “Shut-up!” is heard a lot, especially from Slim.
  • The phrase “dang nabbit” is also often used.
  • Slim calls his nephews “Brainless monotone monkeys.”
  • Mrs. Calloway tells Maggie that she is the “biggest catastrophe to hit Patch of Heaven.”
  • Maggie very sarcastically calls Mrs. Calloway “Duchess.”
  • One of the men from the saloon comes to the door (when the cows have been thrown out after the fight) and says “Come back! That was the best dang show we’ve ever had!”
  • Buck, says of another horse that “He must be taking stupid lessons from that bull.”

In a nutshell

The main take-home message from Home on the Range is that good will triumph over evil and no matter how much you suffer or endure justice will prevail and things will work out for the best in the end.

The following content could be used by parents to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of some actions and attitudes:

  • greed
  • revenge as motivation
  • disrespectful attitudes
  • friendship and what it means to be a true friend
  • violence as a way to solve problems and conflicts

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