Growing up Tiflin is not easy. But just like everyone else on this rock, Jody can't choose his parents. In The Red Pony, he's got a hardworking dad, a dutiful mom, and a skilled ranch hand to look up to. But they're all far from perfect. Carl can be tough-minded and cruel; Ruth wavers between strong homemaker and weak daughter. And Billy makes a mistake that alters the course of Jody's life forever. Family, Jody learns, is fallible.
If Carl had been a better dad to the boy, Jody would have taken Gabilan's death a lot better than he did.
The only person who comes remotely close to giving Jody a comfortable sense of family is Billy Buck.