Hattie, Chase, and Mattie are almost killed by a stampede of wild horses in either Chapter 13. She removes her petticoats and waves them rapidly in the air, causing the horses to turn from her and her friends.
This heroic deed is an example of the bravery and character that Hattie develops as a result of moving from Iowa to Montana after she inherits a homestead from an uncle and learning to survive. But homesteading to "Hattie Hear and There," as she calls herself because she has been shuffled from relative to relative, becomes a certain challenge. In fact if not for the kindness of her new German neighbor Karl, Hattie's struggles would have come to nought. For example, on her first day, she judges herself as "probably going to be the first homesteader ever to die from extreme stupidity" because her bare hands have frozen to the water pump handle.
Hattie Big Sky is a coming-of-age novel with many adventures and challenges. Hattie perseveres and develops into an independent, but loving young woman, who is the wiser for having both won friends and attaining a clearer version of life.