“Zimmer’s great strength is that he doesn’t make his heroine anything other than an ordinary, decent woman who never had any luck…Think of Luke Short for action and Ernest Haycox for his sweeping style. All westerns should be this good.” —Booklist (starred review)
The Poacher’s Daughter is an extraordinary story of betrayal and redemption, set within an uncompromising landscape of raw brutality and unimaginable beauty. It is a novel you won’t soon forget.
In 1885 young Rose Edwards is widowed by Montana vigilantes who hang her husband for an alleged theft, then burn her Yellowstone Valley cabin to the ground as a warning for her and others of her kind to quit the territory. Penniless and illiterate, yet fiercely independent, Rose begins a two-year odyssey to revisit the land of her childhood, a land she once traveled with her father, an itinerant robe trader among the Assiniboines and Blackfeet. But the old ways of the hunter and trapper are disappearing as Europeans flood the ranges with vast herds of cattle.
With an aging roan gelding named Albert as her closest friend, Rose becomes a reluctant hero of an indigenous population, both native and white, as she stubbornly pushes back against the invading aristocracy.
Wil Chama was interviewed in 1938 as a contributor to the American Legends Collection, a part of the Federal Writers’ Project. Speaking into an Edison Dictaphone he narrated the events of his life. His personal narrative included his involvement as a strike breaker in what became known as the Gunnison Affair.
It was as a result of this shameful episode that he gained his reputation as a gunman and sought to bury himself as a driver of a salt wagon in Río Tinto, Texas. What Wil never suspected is that he was engaged to work for the Red Devil Salt Works in Río Tinto not because of his skill as a muleskinner, but precisely because of his reputation as a gunman.
This becomes suddenly clear to Wil when Randall Kellums, the owner of the Red Devil, tells him he wants Wil to give up his job as a wagoner and instead serve notice on Amos Montoya that his company and his people will no longer have access to the salt deposits at Tinto Flats.
J. T. Latham is rotting in prison in the Yuma Territory penitentiary. But then Sheriff Del Buchman offers to commute his sentence if Latham helps execute a prisoner exchange with some dangerous banditos. The only catch is that he must guide the sheriff through the deadly Sonoran Desert.
The story was adapted from surviving transcripts of the American Legends Collection, which were written in 1936 as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration.
Idaho, 1879. When the McCandles gang shoots up a small town, seventeen-year-old Joseph Roper decides to bring them to justice, alone. Decades later in 1938, he tells his story to an interviewer with the Federal Writers Project.
“A lot of people go to those moving-picture shows and think they’re seeing the real McCoy, but that’s not the way it was. You take a guy like William S. Hart, or that kid, John Wayne. They try to come off rough-barked, but they’re nothing but a bunch of lilies compared to men like Ian McCandles.
“I’ll tell you something else about those cowboy pictures. They’re clean, barely a smudge of dirt anywhere, but what happened out there in City of Rocks wasn’t clean. It was grimy and smelly and gut-numbingly cold. Men died, and when they did they didn’t just grab their chests and fall over. They got knocked down hard and the life spilled out of them like blood from a butchered hog. I guess I ought to know since I was there. Since it was me who did most of the killing that day.”