Movie Article

Point/Counterpoint

EW discovers the truth to some pondering questions. We ask the experts to find out what's fantasy and what's fact

TOPIC Does Disney's Hidalgo really tell the ''true story'' of cowboy Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen, left) and his scrappy steed's 3,000-mile race across the Arabian Desert in 1890? Or is the legend a load of hay?

CuChillaine O'Reilly, cofounder of the Long Riders' Guild: ''It is fantasy, pure and simple. Hopkins plundered history on an extraordinary scale. The hostile terrain was not crossed until 1931, and then only by the use of camels.''

John Fusco, Hidalgo screenwriter: ''Extreme endurance racing at that time was so extreme that it was illegal. Even Hopkins said in one of his essays that these races were done on the q.t. I mean, races like these were more Fight Club than Kentucky Derby.''

Originally posted Mar 12, 2004 Published in issue #755 Mar 12, 2004 Order article reprints