Movie Clip Discussions

Hidalgo (salvation)

(Touchstone 2004)

Main Point: Because Christ has paid our debt in full, we have been set free.

The Video Clip: Paid in Full
This movie tells the story of Pony Express courier Frank T. Hopkins and his famous horse, Hidalgo, from which the movie gets its name. Set in 1890, Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) travels to Arabia with Hidalgo, his mustang, to compete in the centuries-old 3,000 mile long race known as the Ocean of Fire against the finest full-blooded Arabian horses ever bred. Instead of merely competing for the prize, Hopkins finds himself locked in a fight for his life against Arabian sheiks who cannot stand the thought of a foreigner winning their race. Hidalgo has everything from sword fights to races to sand storms to romance. The movie includes some breathtaking scenery and has a little bit for everyone. The flick is rated PG-13 for adventure, violence and some mild innuendo.

Introducing the Video Clip:
Frank T. Hopkins was believed to be the best horseman in America during the late 19th Century and he had a soft spot in his heart for the American mustang. No, not the Ford sports car, the actual animal from which that sports car got its name. The movie Hidalgo, also his horse’s name, tells the story of his adventure to the Middle East to compete in a 3,000 mile long race known as the Ocean of Fire. After the race is over, Hopkins turns his attention to a corral of wild mustangs that is set to be shot by members of the United States cavalry. Let’s see what he does.

Scene script:

BEGIN CLIP AT 2 hours 3 minutes and 45 seconds (in Chapter 18).

(The scene opens with cavalry men in line getting rifles with which to shoot the horses.)

    Rancher: Assemble on the rim. 30 paces to a stand. Make every shot count.

    Lt. McNulty: What’s this buck doing? Bringin’ em one at a time?

    Hopkins: Lt. McNulty?

    Lt. McNulty: Who are you?

    Hopkins: Hopkins. Frank Hopkins.

    Rancher: Hopkins? You bring a dispatch?

    Hopkins: Yessir. (He reaches into his coat pocket, pulls out some documents, and hands them to Lt. McNulty.)

    Rancher: Paid in full? (Hopkins rides off to speak with a small group of Native Americans.)

    Hopkins: Is it true that the chief named Eagle Horn has returned to the reservation?

    Native American: He has taken the journey. But he knew you won, Far Rider, in the faraway sand.

    Hopkins: Good. Will you help me with something?

    (The Native American nods his head that he will help Hopkins. Hopkins rides out in front of the corral and signals to the Native American to open the gate and free the horses. The wild mustangs break out of the corral and flood into the valley surrounding the corral.)

END CLIP AT 2 hours 6 minutes and 20 seconds

Transitional Statement:
Frank Hopkins loved mustangs and he simply could not bear to see them penned up, let alone killed. So, he took drastic action – action that cost him much – to free the horses. What’s amazing is that he didn’t just buy them so he could use them or sell them; no, he purchased the mustangs simply to set them free. In case you don’t know it, Jesus has done the exact same thing for you. He loves each and every one of us and has paid a high price so that we might be free.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not we’ve ever ridden a horse.
  2. ASK SOMEONE: What did Hopkins do for the horses in the video clip?
  3. ASK A FEW: Did it surprise you at all that Hopkins simply purchased the horses to set them free?
  4. ASK A FEW: The paperwork that Hopkins showed the men read “paid in full,” meaning that the entire amount of money necessary to buy the horses had been met. What do you think would have happened to the mustangs if Hopkins didn’t “pay in full?”
  5. ASK A FEW: Do you think we are like those horses in any way? Explain.
  6. Read the following passage:

      Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
      13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

  7. ASK SOMEONE: What did God do for us EVEN though we were dead in our sin? (Leaders – made us alive in Christ.)
  8. ASK A FEW: What is sin?
  9. ASK A FEW: Very specifically, what does this passage say God did with our sins? (Leaders – God forgave us of them and canceled them along with their regulations that opposed us by nailing it to the cross.)
  10. ASK A FEW: How is this passage like the clip from the movie we just saw?
  11. ASK A FEW: Why can’t we just do away with our own sin?
  12. ASK A FEW: Why do you think God did this for us through Jesus?
  13. Read the following passage:

      Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
      1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

  14. ASK SOMEONE: According to this passage, why did Christ set us free?
  15. ASK A FEW: What does that mean?
  16. ASK SOMEONE: If a person is set free by Jesus Christ, what does this passage command that person to do?
  17. ASK A FEW: What are some examples of a “yoke of slavery” these days?
  18. AROUND THE CIRCLE: If you knew that Jesus was willing to cancel your debt, pay the price of your sin in full, and set you free right now, would you take Him up on the offer?

Wrap Up:
So, tonight we watched a stirring scene of a man who loved mustang horses enough to pay a HUGE price for them. He couldn’t stand to see them penned up, let alone, shot. So he took action on their behalf. Because of his action and his sacrifice, the mustangs were set free to live.

That scene actually paints a fairly accurate picture of the biblical passage that we read. Like those horses, we find ourselves penned up in sin, unable to free ourselves. There is nothing we can do to free ourselves; we are totally dependent on someone else to set us free from sin and impending death.

And that’s exactly what the Bible says Jesus did for us. He gave His life on the cross for our sin so that we might be set free to live.

Make no mistake, we cannot do this for ourselves. A sinner cannot save another sinner. They are trapped in the same “pen.” I cannot save you, and you cannot save me. A sinner can only be saved by someone who has never sinned. That’s Jesus.

Tonight, I want you to know that Jesus is offering you freedom and life. He wants you to be set free from sin and the yoke of slavery. He wants us to experience the life those horses had when they rushed out of the corral into the valley, freedom.

He knew our lives would be taken from us if we stay corralled up in the pen, so He took action that cost Him His life so that we might gain our lives.

The choice is yours. You can allow Jesus to set you free tonight and give you life, right where you sit. Just ask Him to forgive you and take away your sin so that you can live freely for Him.

If you want to talk about this more, please come talk to us after we close up shop tonight. There is nothing more important in life than that conversation.

Close in Prayer


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Edwin
    April 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    If Hopkins is like Jesus, then who is like Lt. McNulty?

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