(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The novel is told from the point of view of Travis Harris; as he tells the story, his conflicting feelings about family, friends, and himself emerge, but the reader also watches him grow into acceptance of his complex situation. Ken, Travis's uncle, is undergoing a divorce as well as financial troubles, but he gradually makes room in his life for Travis and for their relationship, as he helps Travis gain a new perspective on their family. Teresa, Ken's wife, and their young son Christopher are minor characters but their presence in the book broadens it to include other kinds of life and other points of view besides that of the teenage male.

Casey Kincaide is skilled, tough, demanding, and determined to tame the wild stallion, Star Runner. Travis admires her grit, and eventually confesses to her that he loves her. Although she refuses him, his admiration continues and their friendship deepens. Casey is one of Hinton's best-drawn female characters, suggesting dimensions and depths that are not fully explored in this novel. Eleanor Carmichael, the editor, is also distinctly individual. The richness of these two characters shows that Hinton's skill at depicting women has grown.

Joe, Travis's friend from back home, shows what Travis might have become had he stayed there. Star Runner, the huge and powerful horse, represents the part of Travis that cannot be tamed.

(The entire section is 226 words.)