I’ve been reading and re-reading this wonderful Charles Portis novel since I was a teenager. Mattie Ross is a hell of a protagonist. She’s strong, determined, relentless and, above all, frugal.
Here are 10 things you could learn from her story, courtesy of Mr. Portis and the Coen brothers. And without a single song by Glen Campbell!
1. Negotiate. Mattie convinces Stonehill the stock trader to buy back the four ponies he’d sold to her now-dead father for $25 apiece. (Whether it’s the price of a car or a shirt, you might be able to strike a deal. Doesn’t hurt to ask.)
2. Stand up for your rights. Since her father’s horse was stolen from the stock barn, Mattie asks Stonehill to accept responsibility. He refuses, she persists. (If you think you’re being hosed, say so.)