Westerns by Cummings ( The Surrogate Gun , Walker, 1990) are nonstop reading to the last page. His characters absorb the reader's attention as they proceed through the dangers he conjures up for them. Jon Seaver, a former Indian fighter, loses his bid for sheriff of Owyhee County, Idaho, in 1892 because of activist Ella Gordon's campaign against government mistreatment of Indians. When she is abducted by an amorous Indian and taken into the wilderness, the sheriff asks Seaver to rescue her. Bank robbers arrive, with a bounty hunter in their wake, and warlike Indians also make an entrance. After wild chases, bloody battles, etc., only two people survive, having learned valuable lessons that should serve them well in their future lives. Cummings's characteristically terse style eminently suits this tale.-- Sister Avila, Acad. of the Holy Angels, Minneapolis
School Library Journal
YA-In 1892, unusual circumstances force Ella, an Indian rights activist; Pandre, her admiring Shoshone captor; Jon, her would-be rescuer; and escaping bank robbers to unite and fight against a hostile tribe in the Idaho Primitive Area. This good old-fashioned cowboys-and-Indians adventure is a quick, easy, and absorbing read, complete with lots of running, hiding, shooting, and narrow escapes. Action-filled events occur with increasing frequency, building to an exciting climax. The story permits glimpses of early feminists, civil rights, and small-town politics. The main characters develop distinct personalities and deep loyalties to one another as their situation becomes increasingly desperate. This is the kind of book that can motivate YAs to read more, but the bland cover means that librarians will have to push it.-Bruce O'Hara, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Former army scout Jon Seaver was an Indian fighter of mythic proportions, but times have changed. It's 1890, the Indians have been subdued, and Seaver, just into his mid-thirties, is unemployed. He runs for sheriff of Owyhee County, Idaho, trying to trade his reputation for a regular income, but he loses, thanks in large part to Indian-rights activist Ella Gordon, a strong-willed and beautiful Easterner. Soon after the election, however, Ella is abducted by a brave who mistakes her concern for ardor. Seaver is hired to rescue her, and after he's done so, the two are forced into an alliance against a band of cutthroat bank robbers. The outlaws also manage to turn the local Indians against Seaver and Gordon. If this were a movie, it would star John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara as fiery adversaries who first learn to understand, then love, each other. As always, veteran western author Cummings invigorates a potentially insipid plot with inspired and believable characters.