Short summary - All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Summary of the work - Sykalo Eugen 2023

Short summary - All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses" is a novel that follows the journey of a young cowboy named John Grady Cole. The story takes place in the late 1940s, in Texas and Mexico. It is a coming-of-age tale that explores themes such as love, loss, friendship, and the harsh reality of life in the Wild West.

Part One: Journey to Mexico

The novel begins with John Grady Cole's grandfather passing away and his parents selling their ranch in San Angelo, Texas. John, feeling lost and without a home, decides to leave with his best friend, Lacey Rawlins. The two young men embark on a journey to Mexico in search of adventure and a new way of life.

On their way, they meet a young boy named Jimmy Blevins, who joins them in their journey. However, Jimmy's presence becomes a burden when he is accused of horse theft and is hunted down by the Mexican authorities. John and Lacey are forced to leave him behind and continue on their journey.

Part Two: Hacienda de Nuestra Señora

John and Lacey arrive at a hacienda owned by a wealthy Mexican family, where they are hired to work as cowboys. John falls in love with Alejandra, the daughter of the owner, and begins a secret relationship with her. However, their relationship is discovered by her aunt, who disapproves of their love and sends John away.

Part Three: Prison

After leaving the hacienda, John and Lacey are captured by Mexican authorities and are sent to prison. There, they meet a wise old man named Don Hector, who tells them stories of his past and teaches them about life. The two young men are eventually released from prison, but not before John is severely beaten.

Part Four: Return to Texas

John returns to Texas, where he discovers that his mother has died and his father has remarried. Feeling out of place, he decides to leave once again and reunites with Lacey. The two friends return to Mexico to search for Jimmy Blevins, whom they believe to be alive.

Part Five: The Final Showdown

John and Lacey find Jimmy in a small Mexican town, but their reunion is short-lived. They are confronted by a group of armed men, and a shootout ensues. Lacey and Jimmy are killed, while John is severely wounded.


"All the Pretty Horses" is a novel about the search for identity and a place to call home. John Grady Cole's journey takes him through various hardships and challenges, but ultimately leads him to find his true self. The novel is a poignant and beautifully written story that captures the essence of life in the Wild West.