An Illustrated History of Trigger: The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers' Palomino
By: Leo Pando
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Publication Date: November 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Trigger, the golden palomino that helped propel Roy Rogers to national stardom, was known and loved by children around the world. In An Illustrated History of Trigger, author Leo Pando takes a look at all aspects of Trigger's life, from his origins, to the movies, and the several horses that played the famous horse.
Divided into eighteen chapters, An Illustrated History of Trigger examines all aspects of the mythos of Trigger, from the horse's breeding, original owner, sale to Rogers, the story behind Little Trigger and Trigger Jr., as well as Trigger collectibles and memorabilia. As a horse person, I found the section on Glenn Randall, the trainer behind the horses, quite interesting, as well as the chapter on Roy Rogers and his equine abilities. The author, also a horse person (he was the assistant manager for an Arabian breeding facility), shows his knowledge of equines in his writing and this makes the book more enjoyable for horse lovers.
Researching a book where the various horses who played the role of Trigger have long been dead, is not an easy task. Add in the fact that those closest to the horses in question have also passed away, and you have a difficult job. Leo Pando did an excellent job of finding original documentation and speaking to/finding letters, interviews, etc. with the children of those involved in Trigger's career. Combine those factors and you have the makings for an informative book. Pando wades through all the literature and helps separate myth from fact, and explains how he came to those conclusions. The book is called an "illustrated history" and it is, indeed, chock full of great photos of Trigger, Trigger Jr., Little Trigger as well as the many stunt horses that played Trigger, Buttermilk (Dale Evans' gelding) and the many other horses that appeared with Rogers on television and in the movies. All photos, with the exception of the cover image, are in black and white and these images are truly the highlight of the book. My only quibble, and it's a minor one, is that there are a fair number of typos in the book and it would be nice to have these fixed.
Quill says: For fans of Trigger, this book is an excellent resource and is worth purchasing just for all the great "Trigger" photographs.