Nishko is a chief’s son in the Great Plains, before Europeans arrive. During his rite of passage, he’s determined to tame a painted pony. He approaches manhood while his peaceful clan is set upon by a nearby tribe willing to break a treaty. He must also contend with the kidnapping of three young women from his village, his pony’s illness behind enemy lines, his mother’s coma after a rattlesnake bite, the medicine man’s urging that he sacrifice what he loves best, the attack of a cougar and of wolves, and his own injury while alone in the woods. His kindness, bravery, and quick thinking serve him well, but rescue come from an unexpected source.
User Reviews: I have many reasons for liking this film. First, I will admit I heard of it while growing up in a small town in Texas. The filming locations for Indian Paint state that it was filmed in Grand Prairie, Texas and in "Texas" (which, for me, means that there were too many locations to name, but that’s just my opinion). But I know specifically of a town where scenes were filmed nearby and that town is Cleburne, Texas.
My older sister (by 10 years) was a young teeny-bopper at the time and knew all about Johnny Crawford and even his brother Robert (Bobby) Crawford Jr. In my small town, even in the pre-internet days, it was no secret that a Johnny Crawford film was being made the next town over. Due to my sister’s urging, no doubt, my Dad took her and some of her friends to Cleburne to see if they could find the hotel where the Crawfords were staying.
As there were only so many hotels in town, it wasn’t hard to track down and my sister told me of how Bobby Crawford (who was a heartthrob himself for teen girls at the time) saw girls gathering and was playing peek-a-boo with them in and out of the hotel, much to their squealing delight. Meanwhile, my Dad, who could talk his way into many an opportunistic situation, asked a man who was getting into a jeep with a production logo on the side if he could give him a lift to the set. The guy said, "sure," and off my Dad set off towards the filming site. They talked along the way and soon my Dad had to confess that he wasn’t part of the film crew. The guy promptly let him out and took off. Back in those days, it wasn’t hard to catch a ride (at least in our part of Texas), so Dad got back to Cleburne and met up with my Mom, sister, and her friends. For small-town Texas folk, this was a fun time.
I’d heard that story several times as a kid. Coincidentally, I grew up loving The Rifleman (in reruns) as my favorite TV Western. I didn’t really think of Johnny Crawford in the years to come as the same kid that had filmed Indian Paint.
Cut to 1979, and my younger sister got engaged to a guy who was/and is a brilliant Western painter locally. I tagged along with them to visit his family home south of Cleburne and found out that Indian Paint had been partially filmed on their land. My sister’s fiancé and his brother even had a small part in the film, but it’s one of those "blink and you’ll miss it" moments. He showed it to us on VHS and I was just reminded what a small world it is.
As for the film itself, I remember liking it very much for what it was. Not perfect by any means but a gentle, likable family film. Someday I’ll try to pick it up on DVD and revel in the memories. Sorry this wasn’t as much a review as it was a trip down memory lane for a middle-aged guy.