Born eight days apart, Billy Peal and Josie West were first cousins but a great deal more like siblings. Billy’s mother Mary, whom all the West boys called "Baby Sister," was younger sister to Josie's father, one of a set of twin boys. After the death of his father in the Vietnam War, Billy was taken under the wings of his mother's three brothers and his maternal grandparents who all lived together on the family ranch. Josie and Billy referred to themselves as twins with different parents. The actual twins, Tim and Jim West, were rodeo enthusiasts, the first a steer wrestler and the latter a calf roper. Billy and Josie shared their enthusiasm and Billy participated in bronco riding, steer wrestling and calf roping while Josie became a serious barrel racer. Still, Billy was always a gentleman. Josie, however, could outride, outshoot, and outcuss any of the boys around her and gave her dad a run for his money as well. This was a constant source of contention between her parents, roughshod rodeo rider Tim and Jim the epitome of a perfect lady.
A complication in Billy's life was his parents' history. William Peal and Mary West had married in secret. William was in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M College and not supposed to be married, Soon, though, Mary was pregnant and the relationship was hard to hide. William's conniving stepmother, Alice Peal, saw an opportunity and launched a smear campaign to discredit the couple, casting doubt and shame upon their "secret marriage," and trying to convince Billy’s paternal grandfather, bank president and mayor of the small town of Westerly, Texas, to cut Billy out of any inheritance. Life gets pretty interesting with Alice Peal at the head of anything and everything in Westerley.