Pie – The Horse

by Michael Rich5 Comments — Updated February 4, 2024

Pie - The Horse Photo

This story about Jimmy Stewart and his horse named Pie was contributed by Linda Gilliland 

One of James Stewart’s favorite stories of his film career concerned his horse, Pie, a sorrel stallion whom Stewart called, “One of the best co-stars I ever had.” Pie appeared as Stewart’s horse in 17 Westerns, and the actor developed a strong personal bond with the horse.

Pie was very intelligent, Stewart recalled, and would often “act for the cameras when they were rolling. He was a ham of a horse.” When shooting the climax of “The Far Country,” the script called for Stewart’s horse to walk down a dark street alone, with no rider in the saddle, to fool the bad guys who were waiting to ambush Stewart.

Assistant Director John Sherwood asked Stewart if Pie would be able to do the scene. Stewart replied, “I’ll talk to him.” Just before the cameras rolled, Stewart took Pie aside and whispered to the horse for several minutes, giving him instructions for the scene. When Stewart let the horse go, Pie walked perfectly down the middle of the street, to his trainer who was waiting with a sugar cube just out of camera range. He did the scene in one take. When Pie died in 1970, Stewart arranged to have the horse buried at his California ranch.

Pie - The Horse Photo

How old was Jimmy Stewart’s horse, Pie, when he died? you might wonder. Well, it is unclear how old Pie was when he died but we know that Pie retired at the age of 29 after the completion of Bandolero. Stewart’s attempts to purchase the horse were consistently met with refusal by the owner. There existed a remarkable bond between Stewart and Pie, so much so that when the horse passed away, Stewart described their connection as almost human-like, expressing that they genuinely liked each other. He would converse with the horse, believing that Pie understood him. Stewart’s love for Pie was truly profound, as he stated,

I loved him. I loved the horse.

Jimmy was born on May 20, 1908. In 1970, the year Pie passed away, Jimmy Stewart was 62 years old.

For the complete behind the scenes interview, check out this npr interview where Author Petrine Day Mitchum explains to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that horses in the entertainment industry can develop a fondness for the camera and become animated when the director says “action.”

Here is a list of Jimmy Stewart western movies

  • Rose-Marie (1936) – 113 min – An opera singer falls for a policeman tracking her fugitive brother.
  • Of Human Hearts (1938) – 103 min – A minister yearns to nourish the soul while his son wants to heal the body as a doctor.
  • Destry Rides Again (1939) – 95 min – A deputy sheriff tames a wild western town with help from a saloon singer.
  • Winchester ’73 (1950) – 92 min – A cowboy hunts for his stolen rifle across the old west.
  • Broken Arrow (1950) – 93 min – A man tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches in Arizona.
  • Bend of the River (1952) – 91 min – A cowboy risks his life taking supplies to homesteaders when they are stolen by a town boss.
  • The Naked Spur (1953) – 91 min – A bounty hunter is forced to accept help capturing a murderer.
  • The Far Country (1954) – 97 min – A cowboy driving cattle clashes with a crooked lawman in the Yukon.
  • The Man from Laramie (1955) – 103 min – A newcomer defies a cattle baron and his son in a western town.
  • Night Passage (1957) – 90 min – A railroad worker turned outlaw tries to secretly deliver a payroll.
  • Two Rode Together (1961) – 109 min – A marshal negotiates the return of white captives from the Comanches.
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) – 123 min – A senator returns for a funeral and tells the story of facing a brutal outlaw.
  • How the West Was Won (1962) – 164 min – Generations of pioneers settle the American West amid struggles and adventure.
  • Cheyenne Autumn (1964) – 154 min – The Cheyenne leave their reservation to return to ancestral lands.
  • Shenandoah (1965) – 105 min – A farmer is forced into war when his son is taken by Union soldiers.
  • The Rare Breed (1966) – 97 min – An English woman tries breeding her bull with Texas longhorns.
  • Firecreek (1968) – 104 min – A sheriff must stand up to vicious outlaws invading his town.
  • Bandolero! (1968) – 106 min – An outlaw fights Mexican bandits while fleeing the law with his brother.
  • The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) – 103 min – A cowboy inherits a successful brothel from his brother.
  • The Shootist (1976) – 100 min – A dying gunfighter seeks a graceful death with dignity.
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991, cartoon) – 75 min – A family of immigrant mice move west, unaware it’s a trap.

James Stewart & Pie

Pie - The Horse

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5 thoughts on “Pie – The Horse”

    • It would be great but unfortunately, detailed filmographies of horses from older movies are not always well-documented, making it challenging to provide a comprehensive list of Pie’s movies.

      Reply
  1. In the article, it states that Stewart road Pie in 17 of his Western’s. However, for this to be true, he would have had to ride him in 2 of his movies.
    Broken Arrow and the Cheyenne Social Club in which he did not

    Reply
  2. I agree with the 21 total. That said , even to my surprise , there is actually only sixteen of those movies (1950-1970) that Stewart could have rode Pie in with that including Broken Arrow and The Cheyenne Social Club

    Reply

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