It happened again and again, families torn asunder by the sudden onrush of horseback red raiders.
One such was the Barfields of Arkansas who made the mistake of venturing too far into Texas in search of perfect farmland. A savage raid butchered the husband and wife, and left alive eight-year-old Jeffrey and five-year-old Todd. A Comanche carried away the younger child, trading him to a drunken, white Comanchero for a rifle. Jeffrey, the luckier, was adopted by a rescuing posseman. But the boys were still young Ishmaels long fated to wander the plains of an unforgiving West and cross many a river in search of each other. Elmer Kelton, an author at his wiliest, has spun a story worth the reading for its insight into that elusive belief called hope.