An extraordinary historical adventure from a NY Times Bestselling author. “Win Blevins has painted an epic saga of life in the early West on a huge canvas of vivid colors.”–Tony Hillerman “Blevins is a true storyteller in the tradition of Native American people.” Lee Francis, Director, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.
In 1822, Sam Morgan dreams of following in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition. When he steals away on a flatboat headed west, Sam’s epic adventure begins. Along the way, he meets a cast of unforgettable characters, including Capt. William Clark himself and fur traders Jedediah Smith and Irish Tom Fitzpatrick, mountain men well on their way to becoming legends.
In a brigade led by the heroic Smith, Sam crosses the fierce deserts to California—a first. But the land of the Golden Bear confronts him with dazzling perils. He must trek the Sierra Nevada and walk thirsty across the Great Basin Desert to save his comrades.
Sam learns that he can survive, love, live with nature, and thrive, by trusting himself, by pushing himself—and his dreams—to the limit.
“The glory years of frontier life, fresh and rich.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Blevins’ sweeping vision of the American frontier is just plain irresistible.” – Michael and Kathleen Gear, The First Americans series.
“No one writes about the fur trappers’ westering experience better than Blevins. He has a poet’s way with words, and imagery to match the wilderness reality. Win has re-created that long-ago world where the improbable was commonplace, where courage and audacity made anything possible.”—Lucia St. Clair Robson, author of Ride the Wind, member of the Western Writers Hall of Fame.
SO WILD A DREAM
In the Ree villages, Sam faces treachery and death. While among the Crows, he falls in love with a woman named Meadowlark. From the Bois Brulés, Snakes, and Pawnees, he learns native crafts, lore, and mysticism. But Sam’s best teacher is hard-won experience.
On a grueling seven-hundred-mile trek, alone and on foot, across the Great Plains to Fort Atkinson on the Missouri River, he endures a devastating prairie fire and comes to grips with the price of survival.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES
Rich in historical detail, Beauty for Ashes continues Sam Morgan’s epic quest.
Sam yearns for more than wealth—he dreams of Meadowlark, the Crow Indian woman who taught him love. When his companions set a course for the Wind River country and Meadowlark’s village, Sam will have one more chance to win his heart’s desire.
First, however, he must survive the arduous journey, from cruel winter storms to debilitating illnesses. Sam learns to hunt buffalo and track beaver, and battles warriors of the Pawnee, Lakota, and Blackfeet tribes. Held captive by the Sioux, he makes a daring escape, and faces his most difficult challenge yet when Meadowlark’s family demands that he perform a great deed to prove himself worthy of her love.
DANCING WITH THE GOLDEN BEAR
Sam faces his harshest test yet. Jedediah Smith puts together a brigade for a trip into uncharted territory—Mexican California. Sam Morgan eagerly joins up, bringing his Crow wife, Meadowlark, along.
Smith hopes to find the Buenaventura, a mighty river thought to connect the Great Salt Lake to California. The river proves to be a myth; the expedition becomes a test of sheer will. The starving trappers rely on Indians willing to share their food. When Sam and crew reach the San Gabriel Mission, they are turned away by the Mexican government and flee back into the desert.
Meadowlark endures a life-threatening childbirth. Heading for the safety of the Monterey mission, Sam recognizes the truth of what Hannibal McKye said long ago: “Life is like a golden bear. It’s magnificent, it’s beautiful, and it bites.”