I was discussing Lonely Are the Brave with Adrienne on the ride over to Brandon's show, and I realized my disgust at the ending had to do almost exclusively with the horse dying. I reimagined the ending with the horse running away unharmed and all of a sudden I didn't care as much anymore about Kirk biting it. I mean, he took chances living the way he did. Living and dying by the sword and all that. But the horse was innocent.
Ben, this is what I was referring to when *I* referred to myself as watching it too literally in the title of my first response. I let my emotion for a fictional animal completely obfuscate any deeper meaning the film may have held.
I wrote that initial post immediately after watching the film, so it was primarily a visceral reaction. A few days later, calmer now, I can see it all a little more clearly. I still think it would have been a perfectly good movie had he been allowed to ride into the sunset, however. Or escaped via the back of a semi, like I originally hoped. That would have been clever.