In When The Legends Die, Thomas Black Bull is the protagonist and a Native American Ute from Colorado. After the death of his parents, he eventually takes up with a man named Red Dillon. Red is impressed with Tom's ability to ride wild horses; the wily con-man soon takes advantage of Tom's riding prowess to engage in unscrupulous betting. With each rodeo the two attend, Red bets other cowboys on whether the young Indian can actually ride a wild horse.
Soon, Red's reputation for drunken brawling and unprincipled betting precedes them wherever they go. Red always bets small sums when Tom purposely falls in early rounds—this way, the loss is small and manageable. As Tom is always instructed to ride his best in the final round, Red's subsequent huge bets always bring him vast earnings in the end. When things go wrong at a rodeo in Felice, both men make a run for it. They head north and finally end up in Socorro. There, Red uses the last of their money at the saloon to play poker. Meanwhile, Tom has to wait out at a shabby hotel room until Red is done with his gambling spree.