Samson was one particularly unlucky horse when Mitchell Bornstein first met him. By then he had suffered six years of violence at the hands of men who believed the only way to tame him was to beat him down. He had been a six-year-old stallion, part of a large herd in Nevada, when he was captured in a helicopter roundup that decimated his herd and catapulted him into a world of neglect and abuse. His response was to fight first and ask questions later. Samson is truly not one to stand by and take it. For that, Bornstein can't help but admire him. But the horse's intense anger, fear, and hardened spirit turn him into a lethal creature whose destiny seems clearly to be the slaughterhouse.
Bornstein is not only a phenomenal horseman, but a compelling and talented chronicler. His tale of Samson's journey out of the hell he was in and toward redemption is edge-of-your-seat writing. Working with traumatized horses is a specialty of Bornstein's - who is also a lawyer. "Other than the fact that he could send me to my maker," he writes of his first encounter with the wild horse, "Samson was no different from any of my legal clients: threatening, standoffish, and wearing a huge chip on his shoulder." As with anyone who is willing to put his life on the line to achieve success, Bornstein is not lacking in confidence. And it is that confidence that was imperative in dealing with a horse like Samson. His first meeting with the mustang in a dark, dank and dirty stall, demonstrates this. Slowly, the horse allows this potential enemy into his space, and even allows him to touch his shoulder. There is a breakthrough then, but as Bornstein learns, Samson's many demons are always just beneath the surface: