One day, a man named Ted Narracott buys a young horse named Joey. Ted's son, Albert Narracott, grows to love Joey, protecting the young horse from Ted when Ted is drunk and caring for Joey. While with the Narracotts, Joey also meets a horse named Zoey. Soon, after World War 1 begins, Ted secretly sells Joey to the army in return for money before Albert can stop him. Joey is trained for the army by Corporal Perkins, and Captain James Nicholls is his original rider, leading a unit of mounted infantry. Joey soon befriends Topthorn, a horse ridden by James Stewart. However, during a charge against a group of Germans, Nicholls is killed. Stewart assigns Trooper Warren to ride Joey. During another charge, Topthorn and Joey carry Warren and Stewart into the enemy lines, but they are captured by the Germans. The Germans use Joey and Topthorn to pull an ambulance cart for the hospital. The Germans allow Emilie and her grandfather, who live in a farm near the front lines, to care for Joey and Topthorn. Emilie grows to love Joey and Topthorn like Albert loved Joey, caring for their every injury and feeding them every night. Soon, the Germans move their hospital somewhere else because there was a battle there, and Emilie and her grandfather are allowed to keep Joey and Topthorn, who they use for their farm. Soon, however, a group of German artillerymen pass by their farm, and they take away Joey and Topthorn to pull their artillery wagon. The two horses meet Friedrich, who befriends them and tries to care for them as much as he can, growing to love Topthorn and telling them that he didn't want to be a soldier. One day, after drinking water with Joey, Topthorn dies from heart failure. The Allied artillery starts shelling right after the Germans and Friedrich is killed. After seeing an Allied tank for the first time, Joey runs in terror and is wounded by barbed wire before breaking free. Both the Allied soldiers and Central Power soldiers see the wounded Joey in no-man's-land, and an Allied soldier wins possession of Joey by flipping a coin with a Central Power soldier and winning. While being cared for by the Allies' veterinary hospital, Joey happens to be cared for by Albert, who is working for the hospital and has a friend named David. Albert realizes that Joey is his old horse after seeing what he looks like and how he responds to Albert's whistle. Albert starts caring for Joey again like he used to. Near the end of the war, David and two horses from the veterinary hospital are killed by a stray shell, putting Albert in a state of depression, as David had cared for him like a father. At the end of the war, Major Martin announces that they are going to auction off all of the horses, despite the protests of Sergeant Thunder and the rest of the soldiers. During the auction, Sergeant Thunder loses to a butcher for Joey, but an old man outbids the butcher and reveals that he is Emilie's grandfather, who was looking for Joey. Emilie's grandfather tells Albert about how Joey and Topthorn came to their farm, and that Emilie had lost the will to live after Joey and Topthorn were taken from their farm, with Emilie fading away and dying at just 15 years old. Emilie's grandfather sells Joey to Albert for a cheap price, in return for telling people about Emilie, or else "she will just be a name on a gravestone nobody will read". Albert and Joey return to England, where they live in peace and Joey meets Albert's girlfriend, Maisie.
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