Diving Into Faith Through a True Story

I watched ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ years ago, and it captivated me. In this Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken Christian Review, I give you the information you need before viewing this film with your family.

This film unfolds during the Great Depression and tells a story that resonates deep within anyone who has faced adversity. The narrative focuses on Sonora Webster, a young orphan with a dream that seemed out of reach. She wanted to become a ‘diving girl’ for a traveling stunt show. Her journey, fraught with challenges, highlights a spirit of resilience and unwavering belief.

These themes align closely with Christian values. They remind us of the importance of faith and perseverance in the face of obstacles. Watching Sonora push beyond her limits, I felt a deep connection with my own faith journey. Her story encourages us to never give up, no matter how insurmountable the odds may seem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tale of resilience: Sonora’s journey epitomizes the struggle and ultimate triumph over adversity. 
  • Themes of faith: The narrative aligns with Christian teachings about perseverance and unwavering belief. 
  • Inspirational: Encourages viewers to confront challenges with faith and determination. 
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken Movie Poster

Synopsis of Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

In the beginning of the film, the year is 1932. A young Sonora Webster lives with her sister Arnette and her mean Aunt Helen. Since the Great Depression is in full swing, money is scarce, and Sonora can only dream of a better life. She sees a magazine picture of a beautiful girl and yearns to be like her. She cuts off her long hair, and after a series of other incidents where Sonora and her Aunt butt heads, Aunt Helen sells Sonora’s horse and tells her she will be placed in an orphanage. 

Sonora’s gutsy resolve to be like the diving girls she has seen in magazines propels her to become a runaway orphan. She becomes infatuated with becoming a diving girl when she arrives at a county fair and sees the diving girl in action. In fact, she takes a menial job as a stable hand until she is old enough to be a diving girl. 

Eventually, Sonora does become a diving girl, but in a cruel twist of fate she loses her eyesight. While Sonora learn to adjust to her new life?

What Parents Want to Know:


There is one use of h-ll in this film. Otherwise, this is a very clean film.


​There is verbal and physical abuse depicted in this film. 

First, Sonora (in the film) is an orphan. She and her sister live with an aunt who clearly doesn’t know how to handle Sonora and doesn’t want her. Additionally, other children bully Sonora and make fun of her hair. In retaliation for the bullying, Sonora hits a girl. She is suspended for her actions. Later, she is slapped in the face. Furthermore, she is told she is a burden by her aunt. Finally, the aunt decides to turn Sonora over to be a ward of the State, and Sonora runs away. 

Additionally, one man is very harsh with his adult son. He yells at him to “shut your gate.” Later, the father punches the son, knocking him into a fence. When the fence breaks, the son picks up a board and is going to hit his father with it. However, he before he hits him, he is stopped. The son ends up leaving home.

​When Sonora is trying to learn to become a diving girl, she repeatedly tries to mount a horse while it is running. She falls off repeatedly. At one point, her nose is bleeding. In another scene, she dives, but the horse “trips,” and she is injured, leading to blindness. 

Another female injures her shoulder when she is bucked off a horse and falls to the ground. She is in the house with a doctor, and outside, you can hear her screaming and crying. Later, you see the woman with her arm in a sling.

Adult Content:

​A couple kisses several times. The development of the relationship between Sonora and Al is slow and very sweet. 

When Sonora goes to apply for a job as a diving girl, W.F. Carver says, “you go to have more” and the implication is a larger chest area. A diving girl takes off her clothes revealing her 1930’s bathing suit and a man watches her. His wife elbows him.


This is the biggest area of concern. Sonora lies to get a job. Later, Sonora catches a man hiding cards from people to win money. She covers for him. Additionally, a man throws out or burns daily letters addressed to someone else. When asked if any mail has come, he lies and says no. Later he regrets what he has done and tries to apologize for his actions.

Other Content:

Sonora’s aunt sells her horse. It is during the Great Depression, but it appears as if her aunt has sold the horse because of Sonora when, in reality, it is most likely because she cannot afford the horse.

Sonora sees a picture of a “glamourous girl” in a magazine and cuts her hair to try to become more like the photo.

A person dies off-screen, but through the expert use of music and imagery, you know exactly what will happen. The next scene shows a cemetery with a minister.

Educational Value and Role Models

‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ transported me back to the Great Depression era. It painted a vivid picture of those tough times. Sonora Webster emerged as an emblem of determination. Her journey showcased the value of hard work and belief. She courageously faced each obstacle, teaching us the importance of not giving up. 

From a Christian standpoint, Sonora’s story aligns with biblical teachings about enduring trials. Faith played a critical role in her success. Her story can teach one to hold onto hope, even when challenges seem insurmountable. As a young girl, Sonora, was determined to fulfill her dream. Furthermore, she is a role model for young and old alike. Her story encourages us to keep the faith, no matter how hard the path becomes. 

Reflections on the Great Depression

I watched Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken and needed to know more about the real people. The scenes are packed with detail, showing the harsh realities of the Great Depression. The characters made me feel the desperation people faced. With each challenge Sonora encountered, her determination shone. It reminded me that, amidst adversity, belief remains a beacon. 

To teach your children about the Great Depression, compare facts with the movie’s scenes. Allow this film to spark deep conversations about faith’s role in overcoming life’s hurdles. These discussions can enrich your experience significantly. Additionally, many children living in the United States have more than enough and do not know poverty. One book that I like to show the differences in 

Carnival Life and Moral Lessons

I found myself captivated by the portrayal of life within a traveling carnival. It was a world where every member depended on each other, mirroring a community bound by faith. Members faced adversities together, showing compassion and mutual support. These values echo Christian beliefs about community life. The carnival became more than a backdrop for Sonora’s journey; it was a lesson in unity and resilience. Struggles were faced head-on, serving as a testament to the strength found in togetherness. In witnessing their lives, I was reminded of the importance of supporting one another, a core Christian principle. This setting, rich with trials and triumphs, offered invaluable moral lessons about the power of community and faith during hardship. 

It also reminds me of another great carnival film, The Greatest Showman. These types of movies enable you to teach your children life in other time periods within the United States.

Engaging with the Film as a Christian Audience

I watched ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ and thought deeply about its message. Sonora Webster’s journey captivated me. This is the true inspirational story of a stunt rider at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier. She faced adversities head-on, a testament to her unyielding spirit. This story, set during the harsh times of the Great Depression, mirrored the Biblical teachings of running a good race in the face of adversity. One couldn’t help but draw parallels between Sonora’s struggles and those of Job. 

As Christians, we can delve into discussions about this film’s portrayal of faith and endurance. Let us ask ourselves, how do we remain faithful in the face of insurmountable challenges? Sonora’s story prompts us to reflect on our path and the obstacles we’ve overcome through faith. Parents and teens could explore how the protagonist’s journey aligns with Proverbs 3:5-6, encouraging trust in the Lord with all our heart. 

Initiating a conversation about the values depicted in ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ could prove fruitful. It offers a moment to discuss the importance of never losing faith, even when the road ahead seems uncertain. The film, rich with Christian values, becomes a bridge for deeper understanding and connection with one’s beliefs. 

Is Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken Suitable for Children?

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken has been one of my favorite movies for decades. First, I love films based on true events. I also love researching real-life stories of people who overcome trials when tragedy strikes. This film has all of the key components that pull me into the plot. Additionally, the acting is also spot-on, and it is a G-rated film suitable for the entire family.

Disney’s family film Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken allows you to experience an amazing love story and a horse movie with a sprinkling of high dives and action. Out of all the Disney horse films, this is my favorite! This is a film that the whole family will enjoy. 

Final Thoughts: Embracing Challenges with Faith

Reflection had brought me to a poignant realization after I watched ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’. This film, set in the rugged canvas of the Great Depression, unfolded a tale of hope. It dared to assert that faith could indeed move mountains. Sonora Webster became a beacon of unwavering belief for us all. She taught us a lesson that, no matter how steep the climb, persistence would lead us to the summit. 

In our journey of faith, challenges will always loom large. ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ served as a vivid reminder of this truth. Faith had been Sonora’s compass. It directed her through tempests of despair and valleys of doubt. For us, her story stands as a testament to the power of holding onto our beliefs. It guides us to forge ahead, even when the path seems obscured. 

For a Christian audience, the film transcends mere entertainment. It becomes a discourse on the values we hold dear. 

  • Perseverance and faith are the cornerstones on which this narrative is built. In fact, Sonora Webster, emulates a resilience that mirrors biblical teachings. 
  • Inspiration flows generously from the movie, urging us to navigate our own trials with a steadfast heart. 
  • Role models like Sonora encourage us to embody these virtues in our everyday lives. 

About the Movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

Rating: G

Release Date: May 24, 1991

Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Genre: Family/Biographical

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Director: Steve Miner

Written by: Matt Williams, Oley Sassone

Based on the Autobiography of Sonora Webster Carver entitled A Girl and Five Brave Horses. This film is based on the true story of Sonora Webster.

Edited by: Jon Poll

Music by: Mason Daring

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Box Office totals: $7.3 million

The Cast of Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

Sonora Webster played by Gabrielle Anwar

Al Carver played by Michael Schoeffling

Doc Carver played by Cliff Robertson

Clifford Henderson played by Dylan Kussman

Marie played by Kathleen York

Mr. Slater played by Frank Renzulli

Arnette Webster played Nancy Moore Atchison

Aunt Helen played by Lisa Norman

Clarabelle played by Lorianne Collins

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken Christian Movie Review

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