Almanzo knows how to do many things, but his specialty as a man is taming horses “for broke.” Working patiently with them for months at a time, skillfully using what his father taught him on the farm as a boy (first with teaching two calves to take a yoke and drive, then the colts) to make beautiful new pairs to sell out of untamed horses. As a child, throughout “Farmer Boy,” Alamanzo is focused on the present, in the small chores that he must do every day, and in the simple pleasures of life. As a man, he is attentive to the needs of his family and friends, but always has a focus on what he wants and intends to do, based on his skill set. He does not much speculate about the future or think outside the box, and is particular and careful in what he sets out to do. When he decides to find grain to help the starving people of the community, he does research first and tries to make it there and back in a day. He’s cautious, prudent, and hard-working. He works for cash money and has a financial mindset in all he does, planning to use his “seed” come spring and going so far as to hide it in a false wall at the back of their store, so that no one knows he has it. At first, Alamanzo does not want to be bothered by other people’s hunger – but when he notices Pa’s sunken features for the first time, when Pa takes a few pounds of his seed away to feed his starving family, Almanzo realizes he needs to help feed his starving community. So he sets out to do that—and protect his seeds at the same time! Logic: if they have grain, they won’t eat my crop seed! He’s a man of few words and general kindness, but doesn’t mind Laura’s bluntness and gently persists in courting her, even when she isn’t sure of whether she wants him to or not. Almanzo has a firm conviction about what he wants, and continues to show up and take her home for the weekend, knowing she’s miserable at the new school. He doesn’t really talk about how much he likes her, just… continues to show up and take her out for fun and teach her how to drive the horses.

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Almanzo as a boy once gets so angry, he WANTS to throw things at his calves and kick them and scream… but he doesn’t. He just quietly puts them back in their corral and continues about his day. This deliberate withholding of his temper is characteristic of him. He wants a quiet, peaceful life. He focuses on its simple pleasures, such as the endless food he remembers from his childhood. In the midst of a devastating blizzard, he and Royal are cooking and eating pancakes, a slice of normality amid chaos. He doesn’t seem too ruffled by Laura accidentally insulting him by insinuating she doesn’t want him to court her … and comes to get her as usual the next week. Because by now it’s what he’s used to doing. And because he knows it’s the right thing to do. He can be firm in his convictions, once he knows what he wants.