The Trail of the Toros –
Bullfighting steers on a long trek

Length: 30 minutes (WDR, 10 July 2003, in the series “Weltweit” [‘Worldwide’])
The focus is on Gerardo, a cowboy, and his employer, Cesar Chico. Cesar owns a herd of steers meant for the bullfighting arena. They spend the winter on their farm in Andalusia, but in the summer when the southern Spanish heat dries everything to a crisp, they hit the trail and migrate to the mountains of central Spain. Each year Cesar hires on a troop of cowboys to drive the steers. Gerardo is their “foreman”. We follow the herd on its trek 600 kilometres across Spain as we experience how old and new Spain collide with each other: For example, Gerardo and his cowboys meet up with major motorways that transect traditional cattle trails. These roads force them to make laborious detours. But Spaniards are delighted by the revival of this old tradition. They give the cowboys a hero’s welcome as they pass through the villages, because Spain’s historic identity is closely linked to the large cattle herds: The origins of what we call cowboy culture lie in Spain and were first brought to the Americas with the arrival of Columbus and his successors. Bullfighting arose on homeland pastures too, back then a way for cowboys to pass the time. The “toros bravos”, as Spaniards call their fighting bulls, are bred to be as aggressive as possible. When they turn 4 the fiercest bulls are sold to bullfighting arenas for up to well over 2500 euros. The breeds of cattle still have the instinct to migrate in their genes. Cowboy Gerardo doesn’t have to show them the route to take. Kilometres away from the next “waterhole” they already pick up the pace: The cattle know exactly where water lies.

Video (approx. 5 min[german])

A documentary feature by Valentin Thurn
Camera: Freddy Waldner
Sound: Bastian Schumacher
Editor: Eva Elsner
Narrator Jochen Kolenda
Production: Christine Neuhalfen
Bettina Kapune
Executive Producer: Hermann Feldhoff

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