Boy traps a wolf and decides to take it to Mexico (where it came from) and release it in the mountains. Wolf is stolen from him by people who make the wolf fight dogs. Boy shoots the wolf to put it out of misery, trades the rifle for the corpse, discards to corpse in the wilderness to keep the bad men from collecting bounty. No rifle, no wolf. Barely survives.
Finally gets home to New Mexico. Finds that his mother and father have been killed and all the horses have been stolen. Locates his brother and they ride off into Mexico to find the horses. Finds the horses and herds them north. His brother gets shot, he loses all the horses but the one he is riding. Finds brother, who is clinging to life with a good family. Boy goes home, though he has no home.
Goes back to Mexico to find brother. Learns brother was killed in gunfight. Finds brother’s grave, digs him up, wants to return him to New Mexico. Bad guys desecrate brother’s body and stab horse.
Three missions. Three crossings. Three failures. No feel goods. Lots of real life.