full title · When the Legends Die
author · Hal Borland
type of work · Novel
genre · Coming-of-age novel; young adult novel; Native American fiction
language · English
time and place written · Early 1960s; the United States
date of first publication · 1963
publisher · Lippincott
narrator · Anonymous
point of view · This novel is narrated in the third-person omniscient voice.
tone · Young, angry, tragic, desperate
tense · Past
setting (time) · Approximately 1910 onward
setting (place) · Piedra Town; Arboles; Horse Mountain; Pagosa; Bayfield; Aztec; Bernalillo; Carrizozo; Socorro; Eastern New Mexico; Oklahoma; Colorado; El Paso; Fort Stockton; Sonora; Fredericksburg; Uvalde Country; Odessa; Wolf Point; New York
protagonist · Thomas Black Bull
major conflict · Tom attempts to come to terms with his Ute heritage and to define his role in society.
rising action · Tom's abandonment of his life in the wilderness; Tom's visit to Bayfield, during which he meets Red, who will instruct him in bronco riding
climax · Tom dreams of the All-Mother, and she speaks to him, claiming him as her son.
falling action · Tom resumes his life in the traditional Ute way.
themes · The Search to Define Oneself; the sense of homelessness; resentment toward authority
motifs · Comedy and tragedy; songs and chants; the novel's title
symbols · The bear; colors; Tom Black Bull
foreshadowing · Meo's prediction in Chapter 24 that Red's gambling and drinking behavior will result in his eventual death; Jim Woodward's warning to Tom about what to do if a bear should make trouble on the range.