By: Morris FenrisTwo damaged souls are driving the McCain schooner: Oliver, who has contracted tuberculosis; and his daughter, Janetta, who has contracted a pregnancy. In late January she had been attacked and assaulted. Now, four months later, she has managed to conceal her condition and has concocted a story about it. A widow, making a fresh start, will be more acceptable to rigid moralists.
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Book DescriptionIf you're given the choice between taking a swift and easy route from East to West in 1869 via transcontinental railroad, or one much lengthier, more difficult, and fraught with peril, you would choose the easier one, correct?
Wrong. If you're Cole Yancey, you go for the challenge, the adventure, the chance to test your might, your mettle, and your muscles.
Especially if you're requested to serve as wagon train scout by your childhood friend, Jordan Butler.
Emigrants are gathering in St. Louis with their wagons, their teams, six months' worth of provisions, and pocketfuls of high hopes and gilded dreams. Everyone has their own reason to trek all the way to that distant land of California. For some, it's a better life; for others, it's to seek fortune; for others, yet, it's to join relatives already arrived and settled.
For one, in particular, it's an escape.
Two damaged souls are driving the McCain schooner: Oliver, who has contracted tuberculosis; and his daughter, Janetta, who has contracted a pregnancy. In late January she had been attacked and assaulted. Now, four months later, she has managed to conceal her condition and has concocted a story about it. A widow, making a fresh start, will be more acceptable to rigid moralists.
Especially the Reverend Ross, who, they discover, has decided to join the train. The former pastor at the McCains' former church, his appearance completely trashes the idea of any background cover-up.
Now, Janetta must face the consequences, as the sanctimonious Ross reviles her and threatens her with harm.
Cole Yancey provides a buffer. He has stumbled upon the fact that Janetta's cooking is far superior to the camp cook. Also, he enjoys Oliver's company. As often as he returns from far-ranging trips to the daily camp site, he joins the McCains for supper.
Eventually, however, after a mob action incited by the most un-reverend Reverend, Jordy Butler urges the McCains to separate themselves from the main caravan, out of danger's way.
And he asks Cole to accompany them.
As Oliver's frail health declines even more, as Janetta's pregnancy advances in clumsiness and bulk, Cole is burdened by worrisome responsibility. Chief of which is to get this little band safely to California, which will demand every ounce of expertise and courage.
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