rom runaway boy to trail rider, and from that to top ranch hand and bronco uster, the early life of the title character was lived during the peak of the era of open range cattle ranching. As Monte learns every aspect of a cowboy's role, the etails are spread out for reader satisfaction. When the range is fenced in, Monte's escent from glory begins as he goes from saddle-bumming to, finally, being relusive caretaker at a small lodge in Texas. This is the stuff of all Westerns a ale of the bunkhouse crew who always gave more than a day's work for a day's pay. What Schaefer does is lift all this out of the realm of light entertainment and into life where the rise and fall of ""a good man with a horse"" defines his time nd carries a lesson for ours.