A Bi-Annual Equine Auction was hosted in Cannon City. The auction was held at the end of the town's main street, with an auctioneer presiding, and several helpers, including Jumbo, bringing horses before a gathered crowd to be sold one by one. The auction started with a "beautiful red Sunday hoss". Picked out by her ranch helper Hester, Ms. McDonnell, a wealthy widow from Silverlode, won Spirit at the auction with a bid of $1,000. Lucky Prescott and her father traveled to Cannon City to attend the auction, but arrived late when the train they were traveling on had a malfunction with a reach rod. Yelling futilely from the back of the crowd, the Prescotts tried to bid $1,050, but their bid went unheard and the gavel came down in favor of Ms. McDonnell. When Jumbo untied Spirit from the hitching post, Spirit bucked free and caused a commotion, scattering the crowd and disrupting the auction. The Prescotts were unable to persuade the auctioneer to unwind the sale or reveal the identity of the winning bidder. Instead, the auctioneer merely told Lucky that she could bid on the next horse, a Morgan filly from Sawtooth City.