Buckskinner

R. C. House, Author M. Evans and Company $19.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-87131-783-4
Historical events of the Old West inform this authentically rendered but disappointing sequel to Warhawk. In that novel, Jake Lyman found love with his common-law wife, Rachel, after she escaped from Indian captivity; he also rescued Rachel's son, Daniel, from the clutches of evil whites. Now Jake and Rachel want to make things legal, but opportunities for formal marriage are rare on the frontier. The pair seemingly have their chance when they come upon a Wyoming-bound wagon train that's stalled because of an epidemic. The train's morally rigid minister, however, the Rev. Samuel Parker, views their relationship as irredeemably sinful. Also on the wagon train is Dr. Marcus Whitman, who earns the respect of the tough trappers he's traveling with by nursing many of them back from the brink of death; his star rises further when he removes an arrow from the back of famed mountain man Jim Bridger. Parker continues on to Oregon to preach to the Indians, but Whitman returns east to collect his bride before traveling to Oregon himself. Back out west, Whitman reunites with Jake and Rachel, who finally get hitched, but tragedy taints the final pages here as smallpox and other diseases ravage the Indians. Ample period detail and many real-life characters (including Whitman, Parker and Bridger) can't quite save this novel from its tin-eared dialogue and stiff prose. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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