Based upon the true story of the only horse to complete a twenty thousand mile journey.

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
272 Pages
Reviewed on 10/15/2019
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Author Biography

M.J. Evans is the multi-award-winning author of twelve fiction books and three nonfiction books. Most of her books are about horses or horse-fantasy creatures. She is a graduate of Oregon State University, a former teacher of middle school and high school students, and a life-long equestrian.

She is the proud mother of five and the even prouder grandmother of twelve. She and her husband live in Colorado where she loves riding on the beautiful mountain trails and making up stories in her head as she rides along.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

George, Slim, Fats, and Jay decide to ride to every state capital, get their picture with each governor and become rich and famous. The trip starts in 1912 and they aim to finish in 1915 at the Panama Pacific Expo in San Francisco, making 50 stops and traveling 1,127 days and 20,352 miles. Pinto starts out as the pack horse carrying as much gear as they can load on his back but soon George is riding him every day. Pinto’s thoughts are described in great detail, explaining the difficulties of crossing rivers, fighting their way through snowstorms, having to keep making new horse friends, meeting and greeting and having people take his picture with their children on his back, and so much more. It is impossible not to root for the little horse to reach San Francisco and be welcomed as a hero.

Pinto by Margi (M.J.) Evans is a true historical story, but it is told only by Pinto the horse, a Morab – half Morgan and half Arabian, who was there for the entire journey. It was really a very refreshing and different viewpoint of a very long and perilous ride. I enjoyed reading Pinto a lot. It was from such a different perspective than most historical fiction books I read. Margi (M.J.) Evans took a real event that few people have ever heard of and wove it into a very special story. I believe that Pinto is a book everyone can enjoy; horse lovers, history lovers, storytelling fans, and all readers in fact of all ages. It is a story of joy, tragedy, heartache, and dedication by a group of men and their horses and the people that they meet along the way. If you read Pinto, I know you will not be disappointed.

Astrid Iustulin

Margi Evans’s PINTO! is an unusual piece of historical fiction, but a delightful one for those who like to discover little known events. It recalls a twenty-thousand-mile journey made between 1912 and 1915 by a group of human and animal travelers known as the Overland Westerners. The odd thing is that the account is not written from the human viewpoint. It is Pinto, a beautiful Morab horse, who tells us about the Overland Westerners’ adventures. Their aim was to visit every capital in the Union to arrive in San Francisco in time for the Panama Pacific International Exposition. During the three-year expedition, the Overland Westerners had to face bad weather, impassable roads, and an almost chronic lack of money. Of all the horses that joined them, only Pinto arrived at the end. But in San Francisco, the group’s hopes of fame and glory were unfulfilled.

As I wrote at the beginning, PINTO! is a delightful book. Evans portrays Pinto as an ambitious, quick-witted horse with a strong personality. He is touchy, seriously proud to be a Morab, and enjoys his fame. Overall, his amusing comments spice up the story. The plot is well-developed. Evans has avoided monotony by describing many different aspects of a journey in stages: disagreements among travelers, dangerous crossings, the different reactions of people in many towns, and even a rattlesnake attack. Variety is served. At last, I have to praise Evans’s extensive research. She has used firsthand accounts and other reliable sources so everyone who reads PINTO! can be sure of the authenticity of the facts.

Edith Wairimu

On May 1, 1912, Messrs J. B. Ransome, George W. Beck, C.C. Beck, and Raymond Rayne, better known as the Overland Westerners, began their journey intending to travel to every state capital in the Union. They began their journey with gusto, eager to acquire fame and fortune and meet the governors of the states. Their initial excitement began to dwindle as they faced challenges they could not have imagined at the beginning. From adverse weather conditions, a case of theft, the devastating loss of their horses to encountering unscrupulous and many times uninterested citizens ignorant of their mission, the Overland Westerners had to hold on to every strand of hope they had and keep forging forward. But would they achieve the recognition and fortune they had imagined from the beginning? Their fascinating and many times disheartening adventures are told in PINTO! by Margi (M.J.) Evans.

The work takes a unique angle as it gives Pinto, George Beck’s horse, a voice through which the story is told. Pinto is at first stubborn and unwilling to embark on the arduous journey but soon his master’s excitement starts to rub off on him and George’s dream becomes Pinto’s dream. The loss of each horse is heartfelt as it is captured through the eyes of another horse. The work also shines a light on details regarding horses including their diet, how they should be treated and what is involved in their care. It also reveals ways in which horses react to human actions including mistreatment. PINTO! by Margi (M.J.) Evans revives an amazing part of history that has lain forgotten for ages. It is written with a unique twist and is both informative and entertaining.