"Wildfire" as written by and Peter/smith Lord....
She comes down yellow mountain
On a dark flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
Whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down his stall
In a blizzard she was lost

She ran calling Wildfire
She ran calling Wildfire
She ran calling Wildfire

By the dark of the moon I planted
But there came an early snow
There's been a hoot owl howlin' by my window now
For six nights in a row
She's coming for me I know
And on Wildfire we're both gonna go

We'll be riding Wildfire
She ran calling Wildfire
She ran calling Wildfire

On Wildfire we're going to ride her
We're gonna leave sod bustin' behind
Get these hard times right on out of our minds
Riding Wildfire

Lyrics submitted by lobo81865

"Wildfire" as written by Martin Murphey Michael Larry Cansler

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Wildfire song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThis is one of the best songs ever written... Wildfire is both a story and a metaphor.

    The story is from the 19th Century, when Nebraska was still the wild, wild west, the settlers lived in homes made of sod, and life was hard.

    She is either the daughter, the wife or the fiance of the singer. He loved watching her ride her pony Wildfire, she was a vision of raging life, and love.

    She died during a 'killing frost' of the kind that blanketed the midwest in the winter of 2007-2008. The horse ran off, being spooked by something, and was never seen again.

    By the dark of the moon refers to the time when the moon is full to when it is new again, and is the time that you plant crops that grow below ground, such as potatoes, beets, turnips, etc. The singer was following the old farmers almanac, but his crops were destroyed by an early snow before he could harvest.

    He lay there in his cold, empty sod house, knowing he would die of starvation that winter, as promised by the hoot owl outside his window, which in native american lore meant death was coming.

    So he waited for her and Wildfire...

    Wildfire is a metaphor for something that takes you away from hard times. The song pays tribute to the bravery and hardships faced by our ancestors.

    It's a masterpiece.
    Cache Kidon April 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI agree with Cache Kid.
    @smarterthanyou2010....you're an idiot.
    Wildfire was a dream Michael had about a magic horse. When he awoke, he wrote it down.
    This is one of the best love songs EVER recorded.
    the1museon November 01, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh how we loved this one growing up! For me, "Wildfire" was about exactly what Michael Martin Murphey is singing it is: it's the story of a young girl, the crush of the young boy protagonist, whose only love is her beloved pony Wildfire. One night during an early, hard winter, Wildfire breaks free from his stall and runs away. The child steals out after it into the night, and an unexpected heavy blizzard rolls into the valley, covering everything under several feet of snow.

    She is never found, nor is the pony.

    The young boy has grown into a young man and still remembers his lost love, most often when autumn comes and the owl calls outside his window, reminding him winter is soon to come. He has never forgotten the young girl he loved, and still hold a torch for her: "She's coming for me, I know. And on Wildfire, we're both gonna go."

    It's a song of desperate longing for a childhood love long dead... about how love never dies and burns forever, eternal, with the memory of the one we cherished.

    Without doubt this was one of the most beautiful, just plain emotionally affecting songs of the 1970's. Between this, the Charlie Brown series and Dan Fogelberg's "Another Auld Lang Syne", my childhood was pretty damned moody. How about yours.
    heatherferon January 18, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningTry and think of the song being sung from the perspective of a pedophile serial killer of the young girl.

    First verse describes how he watches her ride down from her families farm on "Yellow Mountain" (Assumingly like he has many times before) on "Wildfire" to flatland (maybe the his own property, they may even have neighboring land plots; and her mother would like her to become a good rider by mastering flat land first). It is in Wildfire's existence that he gets his inspiration to use the horse breaking out of its stall; to lure the girl to her death. "They say she died one Winter" first when he sings of her, it seems he may know her, now he diminishes his role to that of a person living in another town at the time of her death (which we know he wasnt). 2nd verse "By the light of the moon I planted, but there came an early snow" Was when he was burying her body, but couldnt finish because of the storm...."Theres been a hoot owl outside my window now for six nights in a row" Speaks to the folklore of an owl being a sort of Angel of Death messenger. Then he waxes poetic as he relives the fantasy of them running away together on Wildfire.

    Just a different perspective that always stuck with me .....this is the first time I have shared it.........Sincerely FracturedMind
    FracturedMindon March 21, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUmmm a killing frost doesn't kill people.

    It kills plants. :/
    kmidafternoonon October 05, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentkmidaafternoon you may want to check out the Sadie Rose adventure series, its a series of childrens books from the late 80s and early 90s by the famous author Hilda Stahl, she grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills, her ancestors lived in sod houses on the prairie, the book series is based around the good and bad times faced by eleven year old Sadie Rose and her family who live ina sod house, and the first book begins with desciption of how her father died in the killing frost. the books are completely historically accurate of the early 19th century in the Nebraska sandhills and the characters reside in sod houses. so i think it makes complete sense what Cache Kid spoke of as the meaning of this beautiful song that i like to listen too while reading the great book series.
    Bryonforeverinmyhearton November 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs an Injun, I agree with the owl comment. My Grandmother always talked of owls as messengers of death, though as in this case, not always sorrow. The singer longs to reunite with his lost love, as did she her pony. She has left him on the cold, lonely prarie, his crops have died, and one could imagine how bad he wants to hear her returning for him. In a way, his believing she is calling for him is a way of surrendering to the elements.
    5521ericon February 12, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningper this youtube video, Michael Martin Murphy states that it was about a dream he had about a magical horse

    debbieannon March 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmaybe this is the right group of people to ask, but.....who are what exactly are they riding?

    The song has 3 characters, the man who's narrating (singing), the girl, and the pony (wildfire).

    Wildfire is a male horse, as is evident by the line, "And the pony she named Wildfire Busted down his stall"

    Yet towards the end, he says, "She's coming for me I know
    And on Wildfire we're both gonna go" presumably "she" is referring to the girl who died (lost) in the blizzard. But then he says, "On Wildfire we're going to ride her
    We're gonna leave sod bustin' behind"

    Who's "her?" Is he and wildfire riding the girl? No, he says on wildfire, so he's at least on wildfire, "w're going to ride her", is someone else on wildfire with him? Or is he on wildfire, and wildfire on him?

    Who is this "her?"
    billyzcon October 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionBeing a singer, lyricist, writer, historian, folklore historian I clearly see Michael was spending longs days and short nights putting together an album. Some days run into nights and nights into days. Sometimes a day of rest is lost. Michael stated that this entire song came to him in it's entirety in a dream, a blink of an eye judging the shortness of the song. Laypeople will have complications understanding how a young man with perhaps no intrinsic knowledge 18th or 19th Century Nebraska, though it quite logical through spiritual revelation could write such a song. Just ask the man behind the song. He will tell you. The Lyricist (songwriter) is carried out within Michael the person within the dream. Yellow Mountain is a mountain range that traverses from British Columbia into the state of Montana. From it's south eastern front, it rests some 1500 miles perhaps from where the narrator is also dreaming. From where? This is the magical myth of a story perhaps a dream laden with native american an canadian folklore. It is not humanly possible to traverse that mileage in a single night. Within the story emerges a young woman. Stated is the understanding that this young woman (not necessarily related to the narrator) died during a cold winter when a killing frost came. Killing frost means nothing to a person sitting inside a warm home. The narrator begins to recall folklore from the Mountains of the great northwest. During this cold snap for those who know winds during a cold snap, this horse who was aptly named WILDFIRE became terror stricken and broke through his housing stall and took off. The woman takes off after him and neither are heard from again. A dark moon is a new moon with no light. The root planting season runs normally from mid august to mid September in the area. An early frost would mean early September. Between 1882-1888 the entire planet endured a mini ice age which ended mid Spring 1888 in one of the coldest harshest blizzards ever recorded. Devastating to a lone farmer. Perhaps the horse was the blizzard itself which came down in a whirlwind. The narrator, lyricist, songwriter does not know this for it was a mere dream. One which may have been revealed to him in a bleak moment of sleep in the midst of an album cram. The woman perhaps was not known to the farmer but her folklore was. This song is laden with symbolism that is not immediately understood. The horse, the woman, the hoot owl (which is prehistoric) means eminent death. Being locked inside his home with frighteningly high drifts, this man was dying and he knew it. The folklore in this song was given in the last moments of his life as a testimony that life goes from this world into an unknown existence.
    david11152on July 06, 2015   Link

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