The Pinto Horse: And, The Phantom Bull

The Pinto Horse: And, The Phantom Bull

The Pinto Horse: And, The Phantom Bull

The Pinto Horse: And, The Phantom Bull

Synopsis

In 1927 Owen Wister called The Pinto Horse "the best western story about a horse that I have ever read." The pinto roamed the Montana range in the late 1880s, surviving wolves and blizzards and earning the respect of the herd but never blending in, always standing out in vulnerable perfection. After years of trusting to human kindness, he falls into the hands of fools.

The Phantom Bull, first published in 1932, is also marked by authenticity and controlled beauty of style. Old Man Ennis, who ranched on the upper Madison in Montana, grudgingly admired the slate-colored Zebu cow, whose wild cunning was passed on to her calf. The calf grows into a monster bull, not personified but endowed with the suggestion of a definite point of view. A phantom glimpsed against the horizon -- that is the image he leaves.

Excerpt

On a late afternoon in August in the summer of '88, Old Man Ennis rode down the Jack Creek Trail and across the meadows toward the grove of cottonwoods which marked his ranch. He was not really an old man; you could tell that by the set of his shoulders and by the erect spare figure which swayed a little to the quick-stepping Spanish walk of his buckskin horse. But as Old Man Ennis he was known and thought of for fifty miles up and down the Madison, for he had come to Montana when it was a new country, and he was old in the sense that he had helped to make its annals. Born in eastern Texas fifty years before, he had worked his way north up the Mississippi, had had a taste of border warfare on the fringe of the Civil War, and had finally been carried to Montana on the wave of adventure that swept so many bold spirits to the gold strike at Alder Gulch. After a couple of seasons as a freighter between Silver City and the new camp, he married the daughter of a Missouri emigrant, who, like himself, had been lured to Montana by the talisman of gold. Ennis and his father-in-law were stockmen by taste and by training, and they soon moved to the Upper Madison and took up the homesteads which now formed the nucleus of Old Man Ennis's large holdings.

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