Disney is developing a new film based on the popular book, “Aloha Rodeo” for Disney+, which tells the untold true story of three paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) who travelled from Hawaii to Wyoming in 1908 to compete in the Frontier Days Championship Roping Competition. What started off as a novelty quickly turned into a one-sided competition as the paniolos performed feats that the mainlanders had never dreamed of before.

Walt Disney Studios live action team is developing the film and Chris Kekaniokalani Bright has joined the project to adapt the book for Disney+.   The upcoming film will be produced by Jeremy Latcham.

Here is the official description for the book:


In August 1908, three unknown riders arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, their hats adorned with wildflowers, to compete in the world’s greatest rodeo. Steer-roping virtuoso Ikua Purdy and his cousins Jack Low and Archie Ka’au’a had travelled 4,200 miles from Hawaii, of all places, to test themselves against the toughest riders in the West. Dismissed by whites, who considered themselves the only true cowboys, the native Hawaiians would astonish the country, returning home champions—and American legends.

An unforgettable human drama set against the rough-knuckled frontier, David Wolman and Julian Smith’s Aloha Rodeo unspools the fascinating and little-known true story of the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, whose 1908 adventure upended the conventional history of the American West.


What few understood when the three paniolo rode into Cheyenne is that the Hawaiians were no underdogs. They were the product of a deeply engrained cattle culture that was twice as old as that of the Great Plains, for Hawaiians had been chasing cattle over the islands’ rugged volcanic slopes and through thick tropical forests since the late 1700s.

Tracing the life story of Purdy and his cousins, Wolman and Smith delve into the dual histories of ranching and cowboys in the islands, and the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Cheyenne, “Holy City of the Cow.” At the turn of the twentieth century, larger-than-life personalities like “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Theodore Roosevelt capitalized on a national obsession with the Wild West and helped transform Cheyenne’s annual Frontier Days celebration into an unparalleled rodeo spectacle, the “Daddy of ‘em All.”

The hopes of all Hawaii rode on the three riders’ shoulders during those dusty days in August 1908. The U.S. had forcibly annexed the islands just a decade earlier. The young Hawaiians brought the pride of a people struggling to preserve their cultural identity and anxious about their future under the rule of overlords an ocean away. In Cheyenne, they didn’t just astound the locals; they also overturned simplistic thinking about cattle country, the binary narrative of “cowboys versus Indians,” and the very concept of the Wild West. Blending sport and history, while exploring questions of identity, imperialism, and race, Aloha Rodeo spotlights an overlooked and riveting chapter in the saga of the American West.


What do you think of “Aloha Rodeo” coming to Disney+

Source – Deadline








Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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3 Comments

  1. Mary March 17, 2021

    It's so sadly ironic for a movie to be depicting how a group countered their oppressors by oppressing and abusing another group. Rodeo isn't sport, the animals are victims not willing participants. It's a brutal assault on terrified, sentient beings. Society's perception of nonhuman animals is improving, and cruelly exploitative activities like rodeo are increasingly being recognized as the animal abuse they are. This movie seeks to glorify rodeo but it is a throwback to Dark Age mentality. Two thumbs down, shame on Disney!

  2. Lisa March 24, 2021

    This is a terrible idea! I can't believe it's true. Calf roping and rodeo is cruel to animals. How could they even portray such a thing in a way acceptable to children? Some stories should stay in books. This is not Disney material.

  3. Diana March 30, 2021

    Horrible idea. It’s time to let go this kind of Animal abuse based movies... we dont live in the 1600 anymore.... Boycot Disney if they release this trash.