This is mostly the story of a boy growing up in the West just before the Civil War, of his embittered, seemingly rejecting father and the gentle mother who it turns out only married Peter's father for the baby's sake after his real mother died of cholera. Then there's also the old Irishman who passes through, mending Peter's ribs and his ego. The horse is less central than in other of the author's works, but smoothly integrated into the interpersonal developments: his father sells the ""Indian gentled"" San Domingo when Peter, its real owner, is off on an errand, but boy and horse meet up again when Peter is a Pony Express rider rushing to California with an urgent message from President Lincoln, and San Domingo dies saving the boy's life. Peter meanwhile earns his father's grudging respect by killing (in self defense) the man who had mistreated the father. Lougheed's pulp western color illustrations merely underline the familiarity of Henry's formula, but she manages once again to keep it alive for all her readers.