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Justin Morgan does not want the little colt that follows him and Joel home. But Joel raises and trains it, and the two soon realize that the little horse is something very special, not to mention very fast. Years later it becomes the first of a new breed: the Justin Morgan horse.
Sure that the motherless Arabian colt is going to be a great racer, Agba, the Sultan's mute slaveboy, raises the animal and stays with it, even when the horse is sent to France. Times are hard for the two, and they are often treated cruelly, but Agba never gives up his belief in the horse that becomes the ancestor of the great Man o' War.
When Pony Penning Day comes on Chincoteague Island, Maureen and Paul are determined to buy the Phantom and her filly, Misty. They work hard and save $102, and finally the two spirited animals are theirs. Now the children must train the wild ponies to be around people, instead of running wild on Assateague.