Texas McCormick (Tex) is the narrator of the novel; through his experience the story is developed and told to the reader. He is young, given to pranks, and loves his horse, Negrito, who must be sold in the course of the novel. Mason McCormick (Mace) is Tex's older brother and father substitute when their father is on the rodeo circuit; he is a well-liked basketball star and his schoolmates often model themselves after him. He sees his ability in basketball as a way to get a college scholarship and escape from a lifestyle in which he feels entrapped. Pop is the biological father of Mace and the supposed father of Tex. His early life included a prison term during which his wife had an affair with a rodeo rider which produced Tex. Johnny Collins is a good friend to Tex and sometimes plays pranks with him. Jamie, Johnny's sister, is also a friend to Tex; she becomes the object of his budding desire more as the novel progresses. Cole Collins is the father of Johnny and Jamie; a stern disciplinarian, he does not approve of Tex and Mace and does not want his children to associate with them. He does, however, assist in saving Tex's life when he is wounded. Lem is an older friend of Tex and Mace who is now married and lives in an apartment in "the city." He sells drugs to maintain his lifestyle and allows Tex to accompany him after Tex runs away from home. Tex is wounded during a drug sale with Lem.
(The entire section is 259 words.)