Horsecatcher, The

Horsecatcher, The

by Mari Sandoz
Publisher: Westminster Press
Hardcover, 192 pages
Not in stock

Young Elk, a Cheyenne Indian youth, does not want to kill. Instead of becoming a warrior in the great tradition of both sides of his family, he wants to catch and tame the fine and beautiful horses from the wild herds of mustangs that run as swiftly as cloud shadows over the prairies.

His father warns him that tribal honors and the soft glances of the maidens go to warriors, not to horsecatchers. But young Elk is not easily swayed. Determined to test his skill in horse-catching, he slips away from the camp, and alone walks deep into enemy territory in pursuit of a band of wild mustangs. Although successful, he nearly brings disaster to his people and is openly shamed and rebuked by tribal leaders.

Later, during a Kiowa attack on his tribe, Young Elk is forced to kill an enemy warrior, and although his actions are acclaimed and rewarded, he is sick with guilt. Seeking guidance through fasting and dreams, his determination to be a horsecatcher grows.

Young Elk's search for horses brings him face to face with many dangers—dangers which demand even greater bravery than a warrior must display. He learns, however, that in order to attain this freedom from tribal tradition, he must assume his basic responsibilities to family and village. He must earn the right to live as he wishes.

Mari Sandoz combines fast-moving action with a unique understanding of the Indian world. She portrays the Indian with dignity and shows unusual insights into his way of life, and his astounding knowledge of the world around him. The Horsecatcher is rich with atmosphere and color and is exciting and rewarding reading for young people and adults.

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