Mr. Tiflin, who is Jody's father, and Bill, who is Mr. Tiflin's only farmhand, ride their horses to Salinas, where Mr. Tiflin purchases a beautiful red pony and brings him back for Jody. Jody is overjoyed at having his very own pony and names the red pony "Gablian." Jody is devoted to caring for and training Gablian. He works with the red pony every day after school, washing him, brushing him, and preparing him to be ridden. However, disaster strikes, and the red pony falls severely ill. While Jody works hard to save Gablian, the poor little pony ends up dying after he is found to have broken through the fencing of the ranch. Jody must then face the hard, and sometimes heartbreaking, realities of caring for a farm animal.