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Saddle up! We're headed for Deadwood. When Prometheus Jones wins a horse with the raffle ticket he got from Pernie and LaRue Boyd, he knows things won't go smoothly. No way are those two rednecks going to let a black man, even a freeman from the day of his birth, keep that horse. So as soon as things get ugly, he jumps on the horse, pulls his friend Omer up behind him, and heads off. They hook up with a cattle drive out of Texas heading for Deadwood, North Dakota. Prometheus is a fine hand with a horse and not so...
Saddle up! We're headed for Deadwood. When Prometheus Jones wins a horse with the raffle ticket he got from Pernie and LaRue Boyd, he knows things won't go smoothly. No way are those two rednecks going to let a black man, even a freeman from the day of his birth, keep that horse. So as soon as things get ugly, he jumps on the horse, pulls his friend Omer up behind him, and heads off. They hook up with a cattle drive out of Texas heading for Deadwood, North Dakota. Prometheus is a fine hand with a horse and not so bad with a gun, and both skills prove useful as the trip north throws every twist and turn imaginable at the young cowpokes. The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, a Voice of Youth Advocates Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers book, revives the famous "dime novels" about "Deadwood Dick" written by Edward L. Wheeler, which, in turn, were loosely based on the autobiography of the African American cowboy Nat Love.
Prometheus Jones, born to a Tennessee slave on the same day Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, has always had good luck, and, at age 13, he wins a horse in a raffle. Before she died, "Mama always told I was the luckiest child on earth. Might ride that horse clear to Texas and never look back." Indeed, Prometheus uses his newly acquired transportation to flee the racist rednecks who accuse him of stealing the raffle ticket. Because of his exceptional skill with horses, he and his sidekick cousin are invited to join a cattle drive to South Dakota. Along the way, they get a taste of the Wild West during the time of Manifest Destiny, Indian wars, and gold rush prospectors. Inspired by the autobiography of African-American cowboy Nat Love, this notable Western shows a side of cowboy life rarely depicted: the diversity found among one of the few groups at the time that valued a man's talents over the color of his skin. Hemphill's convincing vernacular narration and well-researched, hard-bitten details of life in the South and on the western range give this adventure story surprising depth. The fast-paced plot, punctuated by Prometheus's astonishing wins and losses, will lasso readers' interest.-Madeline Walton-Hadlock, San Jose Public Library, CA
Posted October 26, 2008
Prometheus Jones (gotta love his name!) is a young black boy turned cowboy. After the death of his mother and the luck of winning a one-eyed horse, Prometheus heads west along with his eleven-year-old cousin named Omer. Prometheus has headed to Texas to find the father he never knew. <BR/><BR/>THE ADVENTUROUS DEEDS OF DEADWOOD JONES doesn't hesitate to describe the rough and often dangerous life of the cowboy. The two young cowboys get themselves jobs with a cattle driving company and the adventure begins. There is enough cattle roping, gun slinging, and run-ins with Indians to satisfy the wildest western lover. Readers will learn about the dangers of stampeding cattle, swimming rushing rivers, and facing the possibility of being scalped by the Sioux. <BR/><BR/>Author Helen Hemphill offers something a bit different than the usual YA material. Her description of being a black cowboy in a world of mostly white cattle-drivers provides an interesting historical perspective most books don't include. Also, the fact that the hard-working, courageous characters are quite young compared to modern-day working teens provides not only entertainment, but also a heads-up that today's kids don't have it so bad at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.