In the late 1960s Lyman Ward, a crippled history professor abandoned by his wife some years before, researches and recreates the life of his grandparents, particularly his grandmother Susan Burling Ward, a commercial artist and writer who came from New England with her engineer husband Oliver in the 1870s and 1880s to live and raise a family in rough mining towns in Colorado, Mexico, Idaho, and California. Her life fills most of the book. Hopes repeatedly spring up and die; marriages founder and are patched together; loyalty, friendship, and trust are severely tested -- and the land colors all. This rich, thoughtful, and wise 1971 novel, authored by the man who taught Kesey, McMurtry, Stone, Abbey, and many other "Western writers," won the Pulitzer.
This report prepared by David Loftus