When The Legends Die Essay Research Paper

When The Legends Die Essay, Research Paper Walz 3 Setting The term setting refers to the time and place of a story or play. There are four different settings in this book. It is like this because the book is divided into four different sections. The four sections are Bessie, The School, The Arena, and The Mountains.

When The Legends Die Essay, Research Paper

Walz 3


The term setting refers to the time and place of a story or play. There are four different settings in this book. It is like this because the book is divided into four different sections. The four sections are Bessie, The School, The Arena, and The Mountains. All of these sections have totally different settings.

First, I will discuss the first section of the book, Bessie. In Bessie, The setting takes place in a town called Pagosa and in the Bald Mountains. The start of the book is in the town. This is where Bessie, George Black Bull, and Thomas Black Bull live. The town is just the ordinary early twentieth century town with the basic stores and work places. There was a store in the town called Thatcher?s General Store. There is a mill in the town also where George Black Bull worked. The second part of Bessie is in the Bald Mountains. The Bald Mountains are full of aspen trees, streams, creeks, low-lying valleys and wild animals. Some of the wild animals include deer, bears, and mountain lions. The Black Bull Family bathes in one of the many small pools in the creek. The Black Bull family live in a small lodge on the edge of a stone mountain. Their lodge is approximately seven to ten miles from the town Pagosa.

Second, I will discuss the second part of the book, The School. The School takes place on an Indian reservation. Thomas Black bull goes to school in the reservation. The reservation is just like a kind of farm. There are chicken coops, horse stalls, livestock pastures, and crop fields where they make some of their food. Thomas lived in the dormitory of the reservation with fellow classmates.

Third, I will discuss the third part of the book, The Arena. The Arena takes place all over the United States but mostly in the southwest. Thomas Black lives in a one-room cabin in the middle of nowhere with Red Dillon and a man named Meo. Here, Thomas is taught how to ride saddle broncs at a small barn with a wooden chute. Thomas rides saddle broncs all over the country including places like New York, Dallas, Denver, and mostly a town called Aztec. He went all over the world riding for the big circuit rodeo. Also, a small part of the setting takes place in a hospital where he ends up after a severe injury from a horse.

Finally, I will discuss the last part of the book, The Mountains. The Mountains takes place in the Horse Mountains. Here, Thomas herds sheep for a living in just one of the huge valleys on Horse Mountain. The valleys there are full of nutritious grass for the sheep. Thomas bathes in a pool of one of the many creeks in the Horse Mountains. He builds a lodge and a drying rack in the Horse Mountains on the first branch of Granite Peak.

Point of View

The term point of view refers to the vantage point from which the writer has chosen to tell the story. The book, When the Legends Die plot refers to the omniscient point of view. The omniscient point of view is when the person telling the story knows everything there is to know about the characters and their problems. This all knowing narrator can tell us about the characters past, present, and future. This narrator can even tell us what the character is thinking. In the omniscient point of view, the narrator is not in the story at all. The narrator is like a god telling the story. Hal Borland, the writer of When the Legends Die, is the all knowing narrator in this novel.


The term plot refers to the series of related events that make up a story. Plot is what happens in a story, whether that story is told in the form of a short story, novel, play, or poem. Most plots are built on the following three bare bones: basic situation which is tells us who the characters are and what their conflict is, climax which is the most exciting moment in the story, and resolution which is when all the story?s problems are solved and the story is closed.

The book starts of on a Ute reservation in southwestern Colorado. This is where George, Bessie, and Thomas Black Bull live. One day this family and some of their friends go and camp on the reservation line to kill deer for the winter. Then a man named Blue Elk came and found them. He said they were in bad trouble and the police would come get them because they didn?t have proper permits to be where they were. Blue Elk made a deal with them. He told George that if he came and lived in the town Piedra and worked at the sawmill he would get everything cleared up with the police. George agreed to work at the sawmill. It was good money. After a while, his wife Bessie got tired of living in the town and wanted to move back to the reservation so George started to save up his money to pay the fees he owed to the store and to other people. Everytime he would save up his money someone would steal it. He finally found out who stole all of his money. It was a man named Frank No Dear. George got tired of him stealing his money so he killed him. After he killed him, his family left to go and live in the Bald Mountains. After staying there in a lodge they built, George was killed in an avalanche while hunting for deer. Not long after that, Thomas changed his name to Bear?s Brother. In the Ute tribe, they let their people chose their own name after a period of time. Then, his mother Bessie died from an illness.

Bear?s Brother was left alone. One day, he saw a hunter kill a bear and on of it?s cubs. The bear had two cubs. One of them was left alone so he took one of them as his pet and before long he called the cub his brother. Some time later, he went into the nearest town to Bald Mountain, Pagosa, with his cub to trade at the general store for supplies. This caused a lot of madness in the town because he had brought a bear. As he was leaving the town, Blue Elk stopped him and asked, ?whom do you live with.? He said he lived with his brother in the mountains. Blue Elk let the boy go. Then, the preacher asked Blue Elk if he would go and get the boy and take him to the reservation for ten dollars. Blue Elk agreed and tracked the boy down to his lodge. Blue Elk stayed with him for a while and eventually talked him in to going with him.

Blue Elk, Bear?s Brother, and his cub were headed toward the reservation. Blue Elk tricked Bear?s Brother into going to the reservation. Blue Elk got his ten dollars from the preacher after taking the boy to the reservation. The people here locked the boy’s? bear up in a horse pin here. A man named Benny Grayback looked over him here and changed his name back to Thomas Black Bull. Thomas got put in the dormitory here with a boy named Luther Spotted Dog. He didn?t like Luther or anything about the reservation. He didn?t like the food here and all the kids laughed at him because of his long braids and his real Indian look. Thomas caused a lot of trouble at the reservation and one day Benny Grayback told him that he was taking him back to his home. Benny lied to him and took Thomas and his bear to Horse Mountain. Here, Benny Grayback made Thomas let loose his bear into the mountains. Thomas hated him for tricking him like that. Then, one night Thomas snuck out of the reservation and went back to his lodge in the Bald Mountains. Finally, he made it to his lodge to discover that it had been burnt down. Thomas knew who had done it. It was Blue Elk. A few days after that some men at the reservation came and found Thomas. After he came back to the reservation, he gave up on getting out of it. He started speaking English, wearing shoes not moccasins, and cut off his braids. Thomas started becoming just a regular kid there. He did many jobs there. One job was to hear the horses. He would herd the horses and he learned how to ride a bucking horse during this time. Neal Swanson was the man in charge of the horses. He got mad after he found out that Thomas was riding his horses so he took him to Albert Left Hand to herd sheep with him. When summer came, they sheared the sheep and went to Bayfield to sell the skins. Then, while Thomas was browsing in a town, a man came to him and offered him a quarter if he could ride his horse. He rode the horse and this made the man mad. The man got on the horse after that and the horse bucked him off. This attraction drew a crowd of people. Then, the man said he would offer him a dollar if he rode the horse again.

Thomas rode the horse and the angry man gave him his dollar. A man named Red Dillon saw Thomas ride this horse and was impressed. He asked Tom if he would like to come and live with him and learn how to ride broncs. Thomas agreed to this and so did Albert Left Hand. Red called Thomas Black Bull Tom Black and that was the name that stayed with him. Then, Red got the permit to take Tom and they were on their way to Red?s home in New Mexico. Tom liked it here and lived with Red and a man named Meo. Within the next month, Tom learned how to ride broncs and was ready for his first rodeo in Aztec. Red used Tom to bet on and make Tom lose sometimes to get more money by tricking the people he betted with. In other words, he would make Tom ride in the first two go-rounds and buck off in the final round to make big money. Red would always go off and get drunk when he did this and go home. When he got home, Meo would rob Red of most of the money he won and leaves only a little left. Then, in a rodeo at Carrizzo, Tom broke his arm and called it quits for rodeo that season. The next spring they worked the early rodeos in Eastern New Mexico and Oklahoma and in the fall worked in little Colorado towns. It was the same thing over and over for Tom. In the winter of that season, Tom broke his leg. Then, Red bought a pickup truck and horse trailer from the winnings they had that season. The following years were pretty much the same old thing of rodeoing from town to town. One time, when Red was drunk, Tom traded in the truck for a used Buick convertible. Then, Red got sick and died. He died from a bad heart, riddled kidneys, and drinking too much. They give him a burial and a funeral and Tom and Meo were the only people living in the house. Then, Tom decided to join the pro rodeo circuit. Tom was so good at this he rode a horse a horse to death in his second year in the circuit. This task led to the name of Killer Tom Black. He broke his arm while doing that too. Then, Meo died. The cause of his death was unknown. The doctor said he was clear as a bell. After that, he went and burned down the barn and home because he said all that was here is painful memories and I don?t belong here now that Meo was gone. Tom was on his own after that. Within the following years, Tom Black became a living legend. Tom had killed six horses by riding them to death in those years.

Then, he went to a rodeo in New York. Here, he ended up getting hurt very badly. He was put in the hospital to take x-rays and the doctor said he would be there for eight weeks. Tom made a close friendship with his nurse Mary Redmond. She helped him recover from his injury and within the next six weeks he was ready to leave the hospital. Finally, he left the hospital and headed toward Pagosa, close to the Indian reservation. Then he met a man named Jim Woodward in town. He asked Tom if he would herd sheep for him in the Horse Mountains. Tom was unsure at first but finally he said he would do it till he got back on his feet in the rodeo. He saw a bear one-day while watching the sheep and it killed a lamb. Then, Tom quit his job of being a sheepherder. Tom was going to start rodeo again but he decided to track down the bear that had killed the lamb and kill it. He searched for over two or three weeks and finally found it. Tom was about to shoot it, but then he wondered why was he was going to shoot. He didn?t know so he didn?t shoot it. Tom decided not to go back to the rodeo. He decided to stay in the Horse Mountains. He built a lodge and lived there from now and on.

Major Characters

George Black Bull. George Black Bull was a father and a husband to Thomas and Bessie Black Bull. He worked at a sawmill in Piedra and killed Frank No Dear. He was killed in an avalanche in the Bald Mountains.

Bessie Black Bull. Bessie was a mother and wife to Thomas and George Black Bull. She had skillful hands and made baskets. She used the baskets to trade for goods at a general store. She died of a bad illness in the Bald Mountains.

Thomas Black Bull. Thomas was the main character in the book. He is a Ute Indian who rodeoed for a living. He lived own his own and at an Indian reservation during his younger years. When he quit rodeo, he lived in the Horse Mountains on his own like he did when he was a kid.

Red Dillon. Red Dillon was a drunk who gambled for a living. He gambled on Tom?s rodeo rides. He died from illnesses related to drinking.

Minor Characters

Frank No Deer. Frank No Deer was a man who worked at a sawmill with George Black Bull. George Black Bull killed him because he stole a lot of his money.

Blue Elk. Blue Elk was like the sheriff of a town called Piedra. He got George Black Bull a job at a sawmill and he took Thomas Black Bull to an Indian reservation for ten dollars.

Luther Spotted Dog. Luther Spotted Dog was Thomas Black Bull?s roommate. Thomas Black Bull didn?t like him because he picked on him.

Benny Grayback. Benny Grayback was a man who worked at the reservation that Thomas Black Bull was took to. He watched over Thomas Black Bull at the reservation.

Neil Swanson. Neil Swanson was a man who tended to the horses at the reservation. Thomas Black Bull worked with him there.

Meo. Meo was a man who lived with Red Dillon in New Mexico. He cooked the food at Red?s house for Red and Tom.

Mary Redmond. Mary Redmond was Tom?s nurse when he got injured very badly. Tom liked her and she helped him recover from his injury.

Jim Woodward. Jim Woodward was a sheepherder. Tom worked for him as a sheepherder after he recovered from his injury.


The theme refers to the central idea of a work of literature. The theme of When the Legends Die is no matter what kind of hardships people go through, if they keep their roots they will always come back to them. Thomas kept his roots deep down inside himself during his exciting life and in the end it all came back to him for the better.


I have a few likes about the book. One is that it is about rodeoing. I like to read about rodeoing and watch rodeo shows too. Another thing I liked about the book is that parts of it are about surviving in the wilderness. Most of the books I read are about surviving in the wilderness. One more thing I liked about the book is that it was easy reading. I am a slow reader and the easy reading helped to speed the process up.


I have a few dislikes about the book. My first dislike about the book is that it was full of vulgar language. I did not like the use of vulgar language in this book. I see no need in having it. Another dislike about the book is that it did not have any pictures. Pictures help people visualize what is happening in a story better.


Although this book had no major affect on me, I learned how a boy can go through traumatic experiences and still have the will power to keep going on. That was the only thing that really affected me in the whole book.


I recommend this book to readers. This is a great book for medium pace readers. I would recommend this book to the teen and older reading age. Also, I would recommend this book to the adventurous class reading styles.


Walz 2

Bibliographic Information

Borland, Hal. When the Legends Die. Bantam Books. Toronto, New York, London,

Sydney, Auckland. 1963. 216 pages.