Study Guide

Gitano in The Red Pony

By John Steinbeck


If Gitano had a mantra, it would be, I will stay here until I die, thank you very much.

See, a very very very long time ago, Gitano was born on the land that the Tiflins now own. And when he shows up on their ranch, it's so he can spend the last few years of his life in the same place he spent the first few years. It's home. Other than that, he's not exactly big on details.

The guy is clearly past his prime, and Carl doesn't see much use in having him around. But for Jody, he's at least a source of curiosity, and for Billy, he's a reminder that those old paisanos are "damn good men."

For much of "The Great Mountains," he's compared to Carl's old horse Easter, who's also past his prime. So it makes sense then, that at the end, he rides off into the sunset on Easter's back. We like to think these two old fogies—man and horse—will live out their days riding the range like they did in the olden days. We wish 'em luck.