The story in this short novel is episodic but tied together by Texas McCormick’s struggle with the changes in his life. It begins when Tex comes home from school one day and discovers that Mason, his older brother, has sold their horses in order to pay the household bills. Because their father is off riding the rodeo circuit and their mother has been dead for twelve years, Mason has taken responsibility for the household and his brother’s well-being. Tex has never quite realized that the money their father left with them would not last long and that Mason’s discipline in running the house is vital for their survival. The loss of his horse, however, begins to awaken him to these facts.
Tex spends most of his free time with his friend Johnny Collins, who has a motorcycle they ride together, and Jamie, Johnny’s twin sister, with whom he is falling in love. His feelings for Jamie create conflicts with Johnny and, later, with Jamie when she tells him that their relationship will not last.
Mason plans to attend college on a basketball scholarship, but the stress of being the head of a household causes him to develop an ulcer that is diagnosed at a hospital in the city. While in the city, the brothers visit Lem Peters, Mason’s former classmate who lives there with his wife and new baby. Lem is working at a gas station, and they discover that he is dealing drugs for extra money.
On the way home, the brothers pick up a hitchhiker...
(The entire section is 574 words.)