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The setting is in 1949 when the story starts with a funeral. It was the funeral of Grady’s grandfather, the owner of the ranch that their family was living on. With his grandfather dead, Grady’s mother who is an actress, will have to sell the ranch. Realizing that there was nothing for him in Texas anymore since he loves the ranch and the lifestyle it provides, he leaves Texas for Mexico. He brought along his friend Rawlins with him. Together, they ride to Mexico as idealized cowboys on horseback. On the road, another character by the name of Blevins joins them. Blevins is thirteen years old and he rides a beautiful horse. Rawlins immediately dislikes him but they still continue the journey on together. They reach the Rio Grande and upon crossing the river reaches Mexico.
In Mexico, they encounter a terrible storm. Blevins, being very fearful, strips all his clothes (as a precaution against lightning strikes), and runs off, leaving his horse and all of his belongings. The next day, they find him almost naked. Blevins convinces Grady and Rawlins to find a town and look for his horse and his gun, which were stolen during the height of his panic attack. Soon enough, on the village of Encantada, they find Blevins’ horse but then it was already claimed by someone else. Blevins takes it back and the locals pursue them. In the pursuit, they got separated. Grady and Rawlins eventually moves South where they were able to find jobs as cowboys in a ranch owned by a certain Don Hector. Because of his own experience in their own ranch, Grady soon became famous in Don Hector’s ranch as the new cowboy. He proves himself to be a very good one, as he deeply understands horses. Because of his expertise, he was put in charge of the breeding of the horses. Then, he meets Alejandra, Don Hector’s daughter and he falls for her. Although he was warned by Alejandra’s cynical aunt, Alfonsa, Grady pursues Alejandra and then they began an affair. When Don Hector found out about it, he had the Americans arrested by the corrupt Encantada police. There in Encantada jail cell, they reunite with Blevins again. They soon find that Blevins killed someone when he returned to Encantada to retrieve his stolen gun. Grady and Rawlins were now labeled as co-conspirators in Blevins’ case. Then, because he was tortured, Rawlins owns up to the accusations, and this leads to Blevins’ assassination. Grady and Rawlins remains imprisoned in the town called Saltillo. In prison they experience constant bullying by the prison mafia. It happens that a cuchillero attacks Grady as he refuses the invitation of Perez. Perez is a powerful prisoner who wants Grady to be his ally. John Grady eventually kills his assailant. He and Rawlins get badly wounded in the process. Alfonsa, Alejandra’s aunt, bribes the prison commander to release Grady and Rawlins and they were eventually released. Alfonsa made Grady swear that he should never see Alejandra again. With his newfound liberty, Rawlins goes back to America. Grady, however, was so intent to see and go back to Alejandra. Alfonsa again warns Grady not to pursue Alejandra and sets out a long discussion about the pitfalls of romance and its foolishness. In spite of all the discouragement, he meets Alejandra and they spend the whole day together. Grady proposes marriage to Alejandra but Alejandra declines because she already decided that she couldn’t leave her family, thus leaving Grady with a broken heart. Grady decides to go back to America but not without his horses. So he goes back to the village of Encantada and reclaims the horses, all the while claiming the captain of the town as hostage. The people pursue him but eventually crosses the border heavily wounded. He finds himself back in
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