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Free Study Guide-When The Legends Die by Hal Borland- Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 29

Summary

Back at the hotel, Red insists that Tom lose the final round of competition. This time Tom stands up to his boss and refuses to intentionally lose. When Red grows angry, the two of them get into a physical fight. Tom knocks Red down.

Tom leaves the hotel and heads to the final round of competition. He takes out his anger, frustration, and hatred on the bronco, riding it with a vengeance until he brings the animal to a standstill. Red does not turn up at the rodeo; he has stayed behind at the hotel to get drunk.

When Tom returns to the hotel after his victory, he finds Red passed out. He looks through his pockets, finding seven hundred dollars. He takes ten dollars for himself. He goes out and buys some candy and some new clothes; he also gets a haircut. When the prostitutes try to attract his attention, he ignores them. Instead, he goes back to the hotel and sleeps.

Notes

This chapter is very significant, for in it Tom stands up to Red for the very first time. When Red tells him to lose the final round of competition, Tom refuses. They get into a fight, and Tom actually knocks his boss down. Afterwards, he takes out his anger and hatred on the bronco, riding it to a standstill and winning the competition. Red is not there to see the victory, for he has drank himself into a stupor at the hotel. When Tom returns and finds him passed out, he takes ten dollars from his bossí pocket and treats himself to some candy, some new clothes, and a haircut.


When he returns to the hotel, Tom thinks about the events of the day. He is happy about standing up to Red and winning the competition.

CHAPTER 30

Summary

It is morning. Since Red has not returned, Tom goes to the arena alone. He rides a big, mean bronco called "Sleepwalker" in a spectacular ride, which leaves the crowd speechless; they cannot believe Tomís brutality, strength, determination, and skill. Tom feels good about his victory and is relieved that Red was not present to manipulate his ride. That night he hears that Red has been arrested and put in jail.

The next morning Tom trades the old truck for a second hand black Buick convertible. Later at the rodeo, he wins the finals with another spectacular ride. After winning, he loads the trailer and drives to the jail, where he pays Redís fine. When Red is released, Tom realizes he is still drunk. Tom puts him in the car and heads for home. Along the way, Red tells Tom a little about his life.

Notes

Tom masters a bucking bronco through skill, strength, and determination, coupled with pure brutality. It is as if he does not care if he lives or dies; his only desire seems to be to win. When people try to question him about the brutality, they are always silenced by the look in his eye.

With Red in jail, Tom takes control of the situation for the first time. He trades in the old truck on a Buick convertible. Then after winning the championship, he bails Red out of jail and heads toward home. Red is still too drunk to shout or complain to Tom, and Tom shows no anger or malice. Along the way, Red shares some of his past.

CHAPTER 31

Summary

In September, Red wants to go somewhere to amuse himself and wants Tom to go along. When Tom refuses to join him, Red becomes mean and vicious. Tom and Meo simply ignore him.

In October Red rides off and stays at a hotel in Aztec, where he becomes very sick. A stranger informs Meo about Redís illness. Tom goes to find Red and bring him home. He is shocked to see Redís serious condition and learn from the doctor that Red will die soon.

Red is very frightened about dying and eager to go home, so Tom makes arrangements to depart with him. He pays the doctor and the hotel. Just as Tom is about to carry him out to the car, Red dies. Tom takes his body home to bury on the range.

Red has left the house and the property to Meo. The cook is surprised that Tom does not argue about the inheritance, but he does not mind. Tom knows that there are many more broncos to ride and many rodeos for him to win now that he will no longer be manipulated by Red. Eager to begin his new life, he informs Meo that he is going to Odessa, Texas, to enter some of the big competitions.

Notes

In spite of the fact that Red has treated Tom poorly, he treats his boss with respect and kindness. When he learns that Red is very ill at a hotel in Aztec, he immediately goes to find him. When Red pleads to go home, Tom makes arrangements to drive him home. Unfortunately, Red dies before Tom can leave.

Tom takes Redís body back to the range, and he and Meo give him a decent burial. At the funeral, Meo mutters something in Spanish, and Tom whispers part of an old Indian chant in words he has almost forgotten. It is obvious that Tom has largely forgotten his heritage.

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