Almost-twelve Janey lives in a Montana railroad depot, the first sign that this is a horse story plus. The second is her overage stationmaster father, who can be an embarrassment--e.g., in his ancient baggy pants at the annual student-parent baseball game--but is also a boon companion. The tipoff, though, may be his ""Dammit, Lenore,"" to Janey's mother when she asks him not to reproach her father for his fecklessness. The family is en route to the ranch owned by Dad and worked by Grandpa, a veteran cowhand who's too old to get another job and never was much good at keeping one--but thinks he's doing Dad a favor. Their hostility tears at Janey, who loves them both. And, staying at the ranch for the summer, she finds Grandpa a hard man too. He's confident, despite her qualms, that she's up to helping him separate the wild stallion from its mares and drive it into the corral; but the experience--her abject terror, her dismay at the horse's misery--sends her to her room spent and sobbing. And worse is to come before the stallion, a stud for a rodeo breeder, is broken to dull obedience. ""Who taught you your place?"" she once wants to taunt Grandpa. The issues remain in the air at the book's end, with only Janey's resolve to acquire the stallion's colt ""to be certain he had a place"" as a bow to fictional convention. The writing is less than fluent--but neither is there a facile sentiment anywhere.