The mortgage on Tom Colbert's was inextricably tied up with the safe delivery of a to the Elowa Comma Agency at Fort Sill, Texas. Unsure of his ability to undertake such a journey, nineteen year old Tom employs the aid of a neighbor whose 40 steer make up the required number acceptable for sale by the government. Tom has few illusions about the trip. Beside the langers incurred by weather and terrain, there is the prospect of animal stam and the more crucial possibility of a mutinous party. Uncle Eld, more friendly toward the bottle than toward his nephew, is hardly a rock of dependability and neighbor is a man of dubious reputation. To both these men, Tom proves his leadership, and to himself, his manliness. Though Chad and his gunman hijack the entire hert, Tom and his Indian companions redeem it and accomplish the original mission. No commonplace western, the rhythmic prose, the dialogue and the relentless picture of herd comes through with extraordinary effectiveness.