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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
Rayona has been given a special "hard-luck buckle" for her performance in the rodeo. More importantly, the revelation of her identity serves to bring around the people who know her. Foxy is angry as if he has been taken advantage of but can't do anything about it. Father Tom tries to pretend they are long-term friends. Sky and Evelyn are proud of her; in fact Sky wants his program autographed by her.
Rayona meets Dayton for the first time that she remembers and introduces Sky and Evelyn. They also meet Annabelle and Father Tom who acts the picture of guilt once he knows that the Dials "know" about his behavior with Rayona.. Before the Dials leave, Rayona gives Evelyn the blanket she has been saving.
Dayton collects Babe and heads back to his ranch with Rayona riding beside him. They talk briefly about the school days’ friendship between Dayton, Christine and Lee. Upon arriving at the ranch, Christine and Rayona begin to quarrel over Rayona’s lack of consideration in just taking off from Aunt Ida’s house. Dayton tries to smooth things over, pointing out Ray’s daring rodeo ride and the instant stardom. Christine is disbelieving at first, then concerned about Rayona’s physical state following the ride. Christine seems overwhelmed and allows Dayton to help her off to bed.
The next morning, Rayona wakes aching and bruised, but goes out to the corral to see the horse. There she attempts to mount Babe, but the horse throws her. She remains lying on the ground until her mother comes out. Christine doesn’t ask what Rayona is doing on the ground; she just sits on the grass beside her and begins talking "as if they have never been apart." Christine explains that she has thought about going back to the church, but that she lost her faith over a "Letter" that was supposed to contain information about either the conversion of Russia or the ending of the world. When nothing happened, the only explanation the nun had given was that it was a "mystery." After that, Christine had stopped believing in the Catholic religion.
Rayona is not a deceitful person, nor was her falsehood with intent to hurt anyone else, but rather a way to get a job and make enough money so she could be independent. When caught with the deception, she is willing to face up to the truth and explain the reasons for it. In spite of her actions and the life she has had, Rayona is still quite innocent as indicated by her attraction to the flamboyent and boy crazy Ellen.
We also see some depth in Evelyn here who helps Rayona save face in front of Sky by reminding him that Ray was "always going to be leaving in a month." Sky knows better than to question his wife's crazy notions and is not opposed to spur of the moment escapades himself anyway. We also see the sensitivity and protective nature of Evelyn when she approaches Rayona with reproaching her and when she takes a protective stance against the approach of Father Tom and Foxy at the rodeo.
Foxy's worthlessness is revealed. Dayton is counting on him to ride the mare Babe but Foxy gets too drunk to do it. He finds no shame in dumping the task onto Rayona, although he probably thinks Rayona will make a fool of herself and reveal that she is a girl, giving him additional grounds for ridiculing her. Rayona probably would not have tried the ride, but she needs to see Annabelle Stiffarm knocked down a peg or two. Ray exhibits here a strength, determination and persistence that neither Annabelle nor Foxy can lay claim to. We see that Rayona's determination and persistence is not dependent upon an audience. In the morning, she goes alone to the corral to try to ride Babe again. Christine knows what Rayona was doing, but chooses to ignore it, instead talking about religion. It is her way of apologizing or at least dismissing their angry words of the previous day.