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Home > Children's Books > Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior

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Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior
told and illustrated by: Paul Goble
foreword by: Joseph Bruchac
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level  / Lexile:

Juvenile Fiction / Native American

4 and up / 4th–5th / Lexile measure: 880L

Format: Size / page count:


7.125" × 10.25" / 44 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now




For the tribes of the American plains in the Buffalo Days of the pre-reservation life, horse raiding was a chance for men to show their courage and bravery in battle. “No man can help another to be brave,” says grandfather to fourteen-year-old Lone Bull, “but through brave deeds you may become a leader one day.” Lone Bull wanted to be a warrior and he knew he could be victorious in a horse raid if only given the chance! But when Lone Bull’s father refuses to let his son and his best friend join the raid, what do the young boys do? They set off to follow the group with the help of grandfather! Will it all end in disaster?

Master storyteller Paul Goble brings to life this exciting and timeless coming-of-age story of Lone Bull, a young Lakota boy eager to join the warriors on a horse raid against the Crow. This newly-revised edition features digitally enhanced artwork, completely revised text, a brand new layout, and a fascinating “Foreword” from world-famous storyteller Joseph Bruchac.


From the “Foreword” by Joseph Bruchac

Few non-Indians have immersed themselves as deeply in the histories and traditions of the Native nations of the Great Plains as Paul Goble. Through his distinguished career as an artist and a storyteller, he’s always paid close attention to the details that often elude those who try to write about or illustrate Native American stories but lack his knowledge and desire for veracity.

That’s one reason why this new edition of Lone Bull’s Horse Raid, first published in 1973, is so welcome.

Another reason is his writing. It is as direct, informative, and clear as a Lakota elder recounting the tale to his grandchildren. The story moves at a pace as rapid and exciting as the horse raid it describes. Here’s a passage about getting ready outside the enemy camp:

I took off my leggings to walk more quietly. Charging Bear cut cottonwood bark and we rubbed the cool sap over our bodies because horses like the sweet smell and would not fear strangers in the dark.

Then there are the illustrations. Goble’s style has always been distinctly his own, including his use of a white “spirit line” around his figures. But it also draws upon and honors the ancient Plains traditions of stylized art that we see on parfleche bags and the tanned buffalo skin “winter counts” where a year’s important events were pictured.

One should note that American Indian traditions of raiding other tribes for horses were viewed as an honorable pursuit by all the native nations of the Great Plains. It was not “stealing” in the European sense, but something done to earn honor amongst one’s people as much as it was to obtain those horses. In fact, it was common for men who were successful in taking horses from another tribe to then give away many of those same horses to one’s own tribal members who needed them.

It’s also interesting to note that the way of life Goble presents so brilliantly only began after Spanish herds escaped and spread across the center of the continent following the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The time of mounted Indians hunting buffalo and raiding for horses lasted less than two centuries and ended abruptly during the last third of the 19th century with the brutal near-extermination of the American bison by white hunters.

This book tells a story of that time as well as anyone has ever told it. Within these pages you’ll experience the bravery, tension, and triumph of a young man on his first raid. It’s a trip worth taking.

Joseph Bruchac, author of such books as: Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (with Michael Caduto), Children of the Longhouse, Eagle Song, Sacajawea, Trail of Tears, and Crazy Horse’s Vision (illustrated by S.D. Nelson).

Videos Related to the Book (hide/show)

The Book Trailer Video for
Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior

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Awards & Honors
  • Finalist in the “Children's Fiction” category of The USA “Best Books 2014” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
  • Finalist in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award for Young Reader: Fiction (8-12 years)
  • Gold Medal in the “Total Book Design” category of the 2014 Midwest Book Awards

Reviews (hide/show)

“Paul Goble's Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior tells of young Lone Bull, who has always dreamed of being a warrior and proving his bravery in battle through being a horse raider. But his father won't let him join the raid: how can he prove himself? His decision to sneak off and follow the warriors results in danger and newfound wisdom. [This, and Jacqueline Jules' Never Say a Mean Word Again] are powerful recommendations for youngsters looking for folktales about bravery, ethics and heroism.”
Children's Bookwatch, a review publication of Midwest Book Review

“Gr 4-6– This new edition of Goble’s Lone Bull’s Horse Raid, first published in 1973, features digitally remastered illustrations as well as revised text. Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior is a coming-of-age story featuring Lone Bull, a ‘typical’ 14-year-old Oglala Sioux Indian who desires to make a name for himself through horse-raiding. Since horses were of great value to Plains Indians because of their uses in chasing buffalo and transporting goods, young men sought the honor and recognition that horse-raiding brought to them and their tribe. Written from Lone Bull’s perspective, this exciting and classic tale takes readers on a young warrior’s adventure as he makes his first attempt to raid horses from the Crow Tribe. Through the long days and nights as Lone Bull prepares to make his attack, readers share in the struggle as well as the triumph of Lone Bull’s success when he becomes a true warrior in the eyes of his family and tribe. Colorful illustrations enhance the exciting sequence of events and have been updated and revised for better clarity. This is a good choice for readers who are transitioning from easier readers to short chapter books. With a new foreword by Joseph Bruchac, as well as an updated reference page and a wealth of historical information, this serves as one option for expanding a collection in the area of Native American culture for children.”
School Library Journal, from a review by Natalie Braham

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