The modern domestic horse and mule were introduced into what is now the United States sometime in the early 1500’s. It occurred on the Florida peninsula, and was followed in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s, by horses and mules introduced in the southwest by Spanish conquest and colonization from Mexico. Horses then appeared in the colonies on the east coast and among the Plains Indian tribes, and by 1750 all the Plains Indians had horses.

The horse and mule became major factors in the development of the new Republic. Consider the mountain men who rode horses and mules as they first moved across the plains and deserts, and into the immense mountains of the west. They were followed by trading caravans, and then the vast migration west, south and north of pioneers, with horses, mules, oxen, and some donkeys and burros. A report from Fort Laramie in 1850 stated more than 60,000 working animals had passed that year, by the end of July.

The mounted troops of the US Army required hundreds of saddle horses and working mules. The Civil War took tens of thousands of horses and mules, many of which were destroyed in battle. When the railroads started building across the young nation, they were constructed by use of the horse, mule and ox.

This historical novel explains and describes how it happened for some and the vision of the future in 1840. First, traveling across the known United States, with the hazards of the times including travel on and around the large rivers then, leaving its boundaries to enter unsettled, untamed land of the frontier on the Santa Fe Trail and into another country while dealing with constant threats from agents of the other country.

Three strong young men, who were cousins, made the trip in 1840. Traveling with their mules and Morgan horses they headed west from the Great Smoky Mountains. They are scouting the best routes to Santa Fe, Mexico, and where they can locate, hold,  feed and shelter animals to supply the western settlement activities. Their escapades and increasing tough reputations take them there and back. When they return they are much wiser, and got several surprises.

This book has international intrigue, family ties, violence, romance, strength, joy and tragedy. It shows how life is when a person lives with the bare necessities and where the horses, mules, donkeys, burros and oxen came from that made all this possible. The story shows the strength and importance of families. It shows the importance of initiative, compassion for the unfortunate, weak, injured or grieving. It shows appreciation for common sense, strength, knowledge and the work of our Creator in our marvelous land.