movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by arban89.
The story starts off by showing black and white photos of the first car, while a narrator tells about Henry Ford and how he built the first car. The narrator continues saying how he created something much better, the assembly line.
We then see Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) in New York City, 1910, working on a wheel spoke at a factory. His boss comes by and tells him to hurry up. He complains about how the spoke is hard to work with and that someone should build a better spoke.
The camera cuts to a scene of Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) roping cattle in the countryside.
We see Charles again as he is in front of a bike repair shop and it is a very slow day. Finally a man in his car stops in front of the store and says how its broken and asks if Charles can fix it. Charles accepts and dismantles the whole thing. He then rebuilds it for the owner, and when the owner comes back Charles says about how he improved the mans car and it can now go up to 40 miles and hour. The camera zooms out and we see Charles is selling a car to someone telling him that the car can go 50 to 60 miles an hour. He then gets on a stand and tells everyone about how cars are the future.
We see a boy riding on a horse in Canada, he is very skilled at riding and does the jumps with ease. His parents are talking about getting him a horse of his own, but his mother says he should earn the horse. We then see the family eating dinner and the father takes out a book (Dickinson) and starts reading a passage, the boy finishes the passage and the rest of the family applauds.
We see Charles at his house with guests over and he gives another speech about the future. The phone starts to ring and next we see a black and white photograph of thousands of people on the street. The narrator explains how this was the stock market crash where families lost a fortune.
The young rider is watching some horses when his parents join him. The trainer there says Red is a good jockey. His mother says he has a name "Johnny" but Red says that the trainer can call him Red if he wants to. His mother hugs him and his Dad gives him a sack filled with all the old novels. Red is asking his parents what all this is about and his father tells him that the trainer has a good house where he can eat real food. Red realizes that his parents are giving him away. He wants to stay with his family but he eventually is forced to let go of his father.
Its now six years later. We see Charles at his home on the phone and refusing to lay off more workers. He ends the phone call and walks over to where his son is. Charles says how it is such a nice day and that he should be outside instead of reading a book. His son says that hes reading Flash Gordon, which is "about the future, dad." Charles says that hell teach him how to drive the truck, and his son says that hes taught him that already. Charles says how he and his wife are going into town for a few days and if he would like to come, but his son says no. After his parents leave the kid takes out his fishing gear, gets in the truck and starts to drive. Hes doing pretty well until he accidentally smashes another truck head on. When his father gets the call about whats happened to his son, he rushes back, but its too late. His child is dead. We later see that his wife leaves him too.
We then see Johnny "Red" Pollard (Tobey Maguire) in a horserace and loses by a nose. His trainer shoves him into the stable and tells him to clean them all out.
We see Tom again where he watching some people trying to calm down a horse whose gone crazy. A man is about to shoot the horse when Tom says hell take the horse, the man is still about to kill the horse, but Tom says "If youre gonna kill it anyway Ill save you the bullet" the man gives the horse to Tom.
The scene shifts to Tijuana, Mexico where the narrator says about gambling and drinking being illegal in the US at that time. There are a lot of prostitutes, booze, and gambling going around. Red is drinking and smoking in a secluded section of a bar. His friend George Woolfe is a famous race horse jockey and he comes to cheer him up, but does nothing to help him. Red hires a Prostitute and before they start, we see a view from Reds eyes where the right side is hard to see.
Charles has now met and married his second wife Marcela and they are out looking at horses. He sees Tom with the horse he saved around a campfire. They look at some other horses before Charles joins Tom at the campfire, he asks whether the horse can race, Tom says that it cant, but he says, "every horse is good for something. You dont throw a whole life away just because its banged up a little."
We see Tom later when he first sees Seabiscuit. The narrator tells a brief history on Seabiscuit. It was the child of two other famous racehorses, but it didnt grow into the horse its owners had expected it to be because it was very lazy.
Seabiscuit acts like the other horse Tom saves, and when he gets a jockey to ride Seabiscuit, he bites part of his shirt off. The jockey quits immediately. The horse starts to act crazy and Tom is looking around and sees Red fighting off some other kids, acting exactly like Seabiscuit. Tom gets him to ride the horse and when Charles, his wife and Tom clock Seabiscuit his is going everywhere on the track, to the right and to the left. Red then is able to get control of Seabiscuit and when Charles asks about his time, Tom says that he just broke the track record.
Charles has Seabiscuit race at Santa Anita. This is where we meet "Tick Tock" Mclaughlin (William H. Macy) who is the racehorse announcer, providing the humor that the country needed in that time.
Mclaughlin is talking about how they have a new horse racing whose odds are 70 to 1 and Tick Tock says that he probably couldnt race the 6 furlongs anyhow. At the starting gate Red sees George again and they make a bet, 5 bucks that either one of them will win. The race starts and Red starts to follow Toms plan but then one jockey cuts him off, and Red goes nuts. When Tom and Charles asks him what happened, Red screams about how the guy cut him off. When Charles asks what hes screaming about he calms down, realizing that there is nothing to be angry about.
They race again at Santa Anita and Red learns to control his temper, hes about to win when another horse comes on his side and wins when hes not looking. When Tom is yelling at him for not noticing the horse coming on his side he yells that He cant see out there, and that he's blind in one eye. Tom goes out and tells Charles that Red lied to them and how hes blind in one eye. Tom is getting all steamed up, when Charles says, "you dont throw a life away just because its banged up a little.
They start racing the Santa Anita again and Red is able to follow Toms advice and wins. They race again and again, winning each time, until hes become famous in the western U.S.
Charles realizes that the only way to show that Seabiscuit is the best, they need to have a match race against War Admiral, the best racehorse in the east. When they ask War Admirals owner (Eddie Jones) for a race, he flat out refuses. Charles then has an idea that his home course should have a $100,000 stake for the winner hoping it will entice War Admiral to race, but they dont enter the race. Charles finally figures out that they should hop on a train and enter every race that War Admiral does, and if War Admiral scratches the race, theyll win it and enter the next race War Admiral is in. Wars owner finally gives in, and they have a race on his terms, with no starting gate, but a rope instead. Charles agrees.
Tom, Charles, Marcela, and Red watch War Admiral to a trial run, and they realize they have to change their strategy. Seabiscuit could never win against War Admiral by breaking late. They borrow the fire alarm from the station and have him go immediately when the bell rings. They train him everyday, and the day of the race starts to near.
Red sees one of his old bosses with a new horse, he asks if Red could break the horse in. Red happily agrees. As he starts to work on him, some guys are working on their tractor on the track. As the horse comes near the tractor, the guys finally get it working again and it startles the horses. The horse and Red go over the railings and Red cant get his foot out of the saddle. The horse drags him until he is finally slammed into a wall.
Charles, Marcela, and Tom are all at the hospital waiting. The doctor tells Charles that Reds right leg has been shattered and they have to operate immediately, he also says that Red will be able to walk, but he can no longer ride. When the operation is finished Charles, Tom and Marcela are with Red in his room. Charles asks him if he wants the race to go on. Red says not to stop the race. He gets a substitute to fill in for him. Lo and behold its George!
Red talks to George telling him how he should race, telling him that its not about how fast Seabiscuit goes, its about Seabiscuits heart.
When the day of the race comes, George rides him exactly like Red was telling him, To break first, come around the corner straight, to let Seabiscuit see War Admiral in the Final Stretch, and they win easily.
After everyone has celebrated Seabiscuits win, They enter him in another race. Seabiscuit is the favorite to win, but when George is racing him, Seabiscuit gets injured. A vet takes a look at him and says that the horse would never race again.
With Seabiscuit injured so badly, Charles ships him out to where Red is, at Charles old house. Red and Seabiscuit act like theyre retired and taking life in slowly. Red sees another horse like Seabiscuit that when a twig snapped the horse jolted like a racehorse would. This inspires him to race Seabiscuit again. They work everyday getting better and better each day.
Charles is working with George to race the horse that Red saw. Mclaughlin sees them racing a new horse and on his radio show he tells the whole world that theyre racing a different horse and when Red hears about this he gets ticked off. He asks Charles to let him race again. Charles is a big doubter of this, saying that they cant do it, but Red says that people said they couldnt do it before and look where it got them. Charles still has Red checked out by a doctor. The doctor says that Red is still injured and if he races again he could lose his ability to walk forever. Red still wants to race, and after Charles gets some advice from his wife he lets Red race the Santa Anita.
When the big day arrives, Red gets ready and moves up to the starting gate. There he sees George again, racing a different horse. They make a bet that the winner gets $5. The race starts and Seabiscuit is lacking in the end, losing distance with each step. Then George starts to move back and talks to Red, encouraging him. Red gets his confidence back and starts to gain some ground until hes at the front of the pack. As they are in the home stretch Red narrates. Saying how people first thought that those three guys took a horse and fixed it, but in reality that Seabiscuit helped fix them in all of their lives. As Red and Seabiscuit are crossing the finish line, the screen fades to black and the credits starts to roll.