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This volume, which presents a "slice-of-life" on the Plains during its early settlement, adds rich detail to our understanding of the struggle for survival in a harsh landscape that tested the hardiest pioneer. Miner concentrates not only on the major economic events of the period—railroad building, Indian raids, the grasshopper invasion of 1874, the blizzard of 1886—but also on the more personal experiences equally important: building sod houses, choosing crops, filing of claims, fighting varmints, and dealing with the deaths of children on the prairie.