The partners of the title are 14-year old Billy Bugler, an orphan, and his . So far, so good, but that is as far as we can go. This western is married by character development, situations that defy credulity, and a picture of our that shakes our confidence in them. On the wagon train journey from Independence to Santa Fe in , Billy and his horse save the train from starvation, from thirst, from Indian . Billy's guardian changes from a hardworking blacksmith who has charge to an evil, hot-tempered blackguard, ridden by gold fever. Events and characters are and almost wholly unmotivated. It will appeal only to the for any western, or lover of horses, big, glossy and tricky.