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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
Tom has been riding in rodeos for fourteen years. His life, which he judges to be meaningless, has become a routine system of ride, pack, and go, followed by ride, pack and go.
Although Tom never wins a championship anymore, he has become a living legend. Stories abound about the many broncos he has ridden to their deaths. Even though his admirers talk about his brutality, they also speak about Tom with awe. Sometimes they even compare him to the devil.
Tom rides wild broncos in rodeos for fourteen years, giving one brutal performance after another. Time, however, does not ease his pain. He is a lost, hardened, and reclusive soul, running from his past and hating his present. He moves mechanically from city to city, hotel to hotel, and arena to arena. The crowds, however, cheer his vicious performances and spread stories about him. He becomes a legend, who is often compared to the devil.
Often when Tom wakes up in a hotel, he cannot figure out where he is. He lays in bed until he recognizes the city by its sounds. He then tries to recall the events of the night before.
Even though he continues to try and run from his past, Tom is constantly reminded of it. Everything he sees, hears, or feels seems to remind him of his earlier days. Still, however, he is not yet prepared to come to grips with his heritage. Instead, he tries to hide from his true identity in the rodeo arena.
Tom has traveled from place to place all of his adult life, never setting down roots or living in a home. One city blurs into another to the point that he never even knows where he is when he wakes up in a hotel room.
Outside of the arena, Tom is totally aimless. He has no where to go and no one to be with. As he whiles away his time, waiting for the next rodeo to begin, he finds himself thinking about his past; but he still tries to repress his memories of his Indian heritage.
Tom prepares for the night show at the Garden. The crowd cheers when his name is announced. Tomís heart is not in his performance. After a struggle with the roan, both of them crash to the ground with Tom still on the horseís back. Tom is seriously injured and rushed to the hospital. He is unconscious for hours.
Tom almost loses his life when his horse stumbles and falls to the ground before he can break lose from the roan. In a sea of pain, he loses consciousness and is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. It is obvious that his condition is extremely critical.
Tom is in serious condition, with several broken ribs, a broken pelvis, and a broken thighbone. After several days in the hospital, he finally regains consciousness. In his anger over his condition, he is haunted by dreams and nightmares from his past. Feeling miserable, he is very rude and inconsiderate to Mary Redmond, his nurse.
When Dr. Ferguson examines Tom, he tells him he must stay in bed and rest for six weeks and advises him to give up bronco riding for good. Tom does not agree. He feels he must return to the ring.
After regaining consciousness, Tom is angry over what has happened to him and haunted by nightmares of his past. As a result, he throws temper tantrums. Instead of being appreciative of his nurse, he gives her a hard time and is often mean to her. When the doctor tells Tom he must never return to bronco riding, he refuses to listen and acts like a child. He insists that he will return to the ring. Of course, he really has no where else to go.