“Pinto”: A Review

Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

-A Review by Ley Bouchard –

Pinto is the story of the Overland Westerners told through the voice of a pinto coated Morab, the only horse to have successfully made the cross-country journey to every state capital in the continguous USA.

Pinto, along with his owner, George Beck, made this journey from May 1912 to June 1915 to arrive at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.

Pinto front cover

The Pinto story is compelling and believable for those of us who believe in the sentience of animals. For disbelievers it is a well-written truthful story that may have more accuracy than fiction.

Like Black Beauty, the story is told through the eyes of the horse so named for her coat color. Though the book is fictionalized by Pinto’s voice, the author’s telling is based on live accounts and research of the journals of George Beck and Raymond “Fat”  Rayne.

Four men journeyed on foot and horseback to meet each state governor and sell items or perform along the way to earn their board and forward movement.  Their success was more literal in that they accomplished the mission. However, turmoil and disappointment haunted their voyage and conclusion.

I enjoyed learning more about the men, horses  and journey. They replaced the pack horses when necessary but Pinto stayed for the duration of the mission.

It is a nice combination of fiction and non-fiction with the fiction being quite believable and in fact, one really cannot discern the difference between what is imagined and true.  It is entirely acceptable to think the journey through the USA could have occurred just as laid out on these pages. 

Below, as listed in the book, Pinto, are all the state capitals and dates the Overland Westerners visited:


The Capitals:

Order and dates taken from their journals and photographs.

Olympia Washington May 1, 1912

Salem, Oregon May 11, 1912

Boise, Idaho June 18, 1912

Helena, Montana July 21, 1912

Bismarck, North Dakota September 12, 1912

Pierre, South Dakota September 26, 1912

St. Paul, Minnesota October 27, 1912

Madison, Wisconsin November 25, 1912

Springfield, Illinois December 13, 1912

Nashville, Tennessee January 17, 1913

Montgomery, Alabama April 22, 1913

Tallahassee, Florida May 15, 1913

Atlanta, Georgia June 5, 1913

Columbia, South Carolina June 24, 1913

Raleigh, North Carolina July 7, 1913

Richmond, Virginia July 28, 1913

Washington D.C. August 1913

Annapolis, Maryland August 18, 1913

Dover, Delaware Summer 1913

Trenton, New Jersey August 28, 1913

Hartford, Connecticut September 10, 1913

Providence, Rhode Island September 14, 1913

Boston, Massachusetts September 20, 1913

Concord, New Hampshire September 26, 1913

Augusta, Maine August 18, 1913

Montpelier, Vermont October 1913

Albany, New York November 12, 1913

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania December, 1913

Charleston, West Virginia December 29, 1913

Cincinnati, Ohio Winter 1914

Lansing, Michigan February 24, 1914

Indianapolis, Indiana Spring 1914

Frankfort, Kentucky March 16, 1914

Jackson, Mississippi April 27, 1914

Baton Rouge, Louisiana May 8, 1914

Austin, Texas June 18, 1914

Little Rock, Arkansas Summer 1914

Jefferson City, Missouri Summer 1914

Des Moines, Iowa September 18, 1914

Lincoln, Nebraska Fall 1914

Topeka, Kansas October 15, 1914

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma November 13, 1914

Cheyenne, Wyoming December 23, 1914


Denver, Colorado December 29, 1914

Albuquerque, New Mexico January 25, 1915

Phoenix, Arizona March 3, 1915

Salt Lake City, Utah Spring 1915

Carson City, Nevada Spring 1915

Sacramento, California May 24, 1915

Arrived at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco on June 1, 1915 Right on Schedule