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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
On the way home, Red is in a wonderful mood. He laughs and boasts of how he fooled the Aztec crowd. In contrast, Tom feels miserable about throwing the final round. Then as he thinks about riding the bronco to its death, he grows even more miserable, to the point of feeling queasy.
When they stop for drinks at Blanco, Tom, to alleviate his misery, has too much to drink and gets inebriated. As they travel on towards Redís cabin, he cannot even stay awake. As Tom sleeps on the horse, Red leads it. When they finally reach the cabin at midnight, they wake Meo. When the cook asks Tom whether he won, he explains what Red made him do. Meo points at Red and says, "Ah-h-h. He won."
The young Tom is very disillusioned about what has happened at Aztec. He hates that he felt forced into intentionally losing the competition. He also feels terrible about having ridden the horse to death. In contrast, Red is delighted over the results of Aztec, for he has won a lot of money.
When Red stops for drinks, the inexperienced Tom has too much and becomes totally drunk. He falls asleep on his horse as they ride on towards Redís cabin. Upon arriving, Meo asks what has happened at the competition. When Tom tells how Red has cheated the people, Meo exclaims that someday Red is going to get killed for swindling people.
Tom and Meo work together in the field to harvest beans while Red is inside sleeping off a drunken stupor. Neither of them complains, for they accept that Red is the boss.
As they work, Tom and Meo talk and get to know each other better. Tom explains that Red is planning to teach him how to lose a round of competition without actually being thrown from the horse. Tom admits he does not like the idea, but explains that he feels he must do what Red tells him to do. After all, Red has threatened to break Tomís neck if he ever tries to double cross him.
This chapter clearly points out that minorities, both Mexican and Indian, were at the mercy of their white bosses. Red makes it clear to his workers that he holds the power and his orders are to be carefully followed. He even threatens to break Tomís neck if he ever tries to double cross him. Meo, the voice of age and wisdom, accepts his lowly status as a minority worker. Tom, however, is the voice of youth and questioning. He has not accepted his minority status and inwardly rebels against it, even though he knows better than to break Redís rules.
Red and Tom travel to Bernalillo for the next rodeo. Before the competition begins, Red instructs Tom on how he is to perform. In the first round of competition, Tom makes an awkward ride, as requested by Red. He actually fouls up in the second go- round, just as planned. On the final ride, however, he performs in expert fashion, as dictated by the boss. Once again, Red wins money by betting on Tom.
During the next two months, Red and Tom tour the state, entering seven rodeos. Red makes money at five of them. At Carrizozo, Tom has been instructed by Red to lose the first round. In trying to foul up, Tom falls and lands heavily on his left shoulder. Since he is injured, he is unable to ride in the final round. As a result, Red loses a thousand dollars in bets. He is very upset and drinks too much. He gets into a brawl and lands in jail, where he must stay for several days. When he is finally out of jail, he arranges another ride for Tom, on which he bets. Tom is told he must win the first two rounds and then lose the third and final round. Even though Tom has difficulty keeping pressure on the rein during his first two rides, he manages to win. He then loses the final round as dictated by Red, who manages to win back the money he has previously lost. The people grow suspicious that they have been set up and pick a fight with Red. He and Tom barely manage to escape and head towards home. In Socorro, Red stops at a saloon. After drinking too much, he loses all the money he has won at the rodeo in a poker game.
Tom is very dissatisfied with his rodeo performances. He hates to lose intentionally, but he knows he must follow Redís directions. Every loss, however, seems to take something out of him.
This chapter is filled with rodeos and wild bronc rides. Although Tom is an excellent bronc rider, he is totally manipulated; he wins or loses the competitions as Red directs him to do. Each loss, however, seems to break his spirit a little more. On the other hand, Red grows more excited, as his wealth from betting increases at each rodeo.
At Carrizzo, Red has a close call. When Tom injures his shoulder and cannot ride in the final round, Red loses a thousand dollars in bets. He is so upset over the loss that he drinks too much and gets in a brawl. As a result, he is arrested and must spend time in jail. After being freed, Red arranges another private competition in which he wins back the lost money by betting again. The people, however, begin to sense that there has been fowl play and attack Red. He and Tom barely manage to escape. Ironically, Red loses all the money from the rodeos at a poker game at Socorro. As he and Tom head towards home, they are penniless.