Jack Todd, Simon & Schuster, $26, Hardcover.
Jack Todd, Simon & Schuster, $26, Hardcover.

Riverboat captain Ezra Paint founds one of the most memorable ranching families in the West when he leaves the dangerous Mississippi during the Civil War to freight through the Dakotas. He marries a young widow who shares the Bible with the very Sioux who often raids his wagons, and he and his wife raise twin sons.  Different as two sides of the same coin, thoughtful Eli and cheerful Abner are stalwart branches of the family tree. With the passing of their parents, the young but determined Eli trails cattle to Wyoming and takes a half-Sioux wife, while fiddle-footed Abner drifts in and out of their busy lives. Eventually helped by his five Annie Oakley-like daughters, who can outride any cowboy, Eli’s 8T8 range grows despite droughts and blizzards. But with the death of his wife in a deep snow and his favorite daughter’s seduction by a slick bronco-buster, the mournful Eli drives his child from the territory’s richest ranch. Years pass while the man who could handle any problem still struggles with the one he seems unable to solve. Part action adventure, part family history and part romance, this massive book proves the Western Novel can be more than just a gripping story—it can be unforgettable.

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