Another efficiently written western by the author of The Last of the Wild Stallions and Tumbleweed takes for its theme a boy and a horse and embroiders it with the boy's making of a new life for himself. An orphan in his mid teens, Dave Yule is boarded out at Three Rivers Ranch for his last months at Idaho Children's Orphanage and as the book opens there are the beginnings of a deep mutual respect between Dave and Big John Benedict, Three Rivers' owner. But there is trouble too, both in the mysterious loss of calves and heifers and in Sandy, Big John's nephew and a mean, irresponsible youth to whom he had hoped to give the ranch someday. Dave and Bobe, the wrangler, teamed up with Fireball, the stallion who learns to love Dave, solve both problems as a statewide ring of rustlers is revealed, with Sandy a member of their ranks. With Big John's esteem now thoroughly his, Dave is adopted as a son and groomed for a future as a rancher himself. Predictable but smooth.