Summary: During a prison transfer, Blevins is shot and killed. After fighting in the new prison yard, both John Grady Cole and Rawlins are both badly injured. After they recover, the boys are mysteriously released and bought their freedom. They come to believe that Alejandra’s great aunt has gotten them out. Rawlins decides to return home to Texas, but John does not want to leave. Against Rawlins advice, he insists on seeing Alejandra again and retrieving the lost horses. He returns to her ranch but her aunt tells him that Alejandra promised never to see John again in exchange for her buying his and Rawlins freedom. She gives him a grulla gelding and sends him on his way but he calls Alejandra from Mexico City. The two meet up, but Alejandra refuses to marry him. Upset, John returns to the town where he was first jailed and retrieves the three horses by holding the wicked captain hostage. He lets the mustang go because he is not up to the long journey. He makes his way back to Texas, badly injured but alive. The once familiar setting seems foreign and lonely. The ranch is gone and Rawlins seems like a stranger.
Evaluation: The book was beautifully written and captured the rugged and dangerous beauty of western culture and the range. If you love horses and the outdoors it is a great read. Exciting, action packed and tragic, it is a great book. The end was depressing, but gorgeous. John leaves because he is dissatisfied because of the changes that have occurred, but his home is even more strange to him after his absence. John seems doomed to drift forever through the world, following odd ranch jobs and living a solitary existence. The loneliness that young John’s story portrays is easy to relate to in some capacity since many people search aimlessly for their destiny just like John.