A Man Called Horse Background

A Man Called Horse Background

"A Man Called Horse" is a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, published in Collier's magazine in 1950. It was later published again in 1968 in her book called Indian Country. The short story revolves around a Boston aristocrat who is captured by a Native American tribe. He is initially enslaved, but he later comes to respect their culture and gains their respect. He joins the tribe by showing his bravery and, later, gets back his dignity by marrying his owner's daughter and helps in the killing of rival Indians and taking their horses. He dons the native name "Horse" and becomes a respected member of the tribe.

This short story was written by the author to explore how even an aristocrat can change lifestyles and appreciate a radical life change such as joining a Native American tribe. The author wanted to explore how the protagonist comes to terms with his new life and embraces it and learns about culture rather than simply seeking to escape and return back to a life of royalty.

Johnson's narrative was received well by critics and fans. It was featured in Collier's magazine and was reprinted as a result of its success. Also, the short story was turned into a full feature film in 1970 with Richard Harris playing the Boston aristocrat.

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