Black Storm Comin'

Black Storm Comin'

by Diane Lee Wilson

Paperback(Reprint)

$7.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25

Overview

WANTED: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.

When Colton Wescott sees this sign for the Pony Express, he thinks he has the solution to his problems. He's stuck with his ma and two younger sisters on the wrong side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with no way to get across. They were on the wagon train heading to California when Pa accidentally shot Colton and then galloped away. Ma is sick, and Colton needs money to pay the doctor. He'd make good money as a Pony rider. he also needs to get to California to deliver freedom papers to Ma's sister, a runaway slave. The Pony Express could get him there too...

Does Colton have what it takes to be a Pony Express rider? And if so, will traveling the dangerous route over the mountains bring him closer to family, freedom, and everything he holds dear?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689871382
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 09/05/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 602,759
Product dimensions: 0.27(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Diane Lee Wilson is the author of Black Storm Comin’ (which won a Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile, was a Booklist Editors’ Choice, a VOYA Top Shelf fiction pick, a Notable Social Studies book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon book, and a Book Links Lasting Connection), Firehorse (which was a Booklist Top Ten Mystery/Suspense pick and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Project pick), Raven Speak, and Tracks. She lives in Escondido, California. Visit her online at DianeLeeWilson.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

On the morning of September 16, 1860, my pa shot me. Maybe that's what set him to running. And, later, me to galloping.

Running, walking, galloping, plodding. Seems like one way or another we were always moving in those days, be it leaving something bad -- like poor luck or general mean-spiritedness -- or chasing after something good, like gold or land or any kinda job that'd keep a bowl of beans on the table.

He didn't mean to do it, of course -- my pa didn't. I know that 'cause, somehow, in the blackness of that morning I caught the look on his face. When I close my eyes, I still see it. With no words at all it said, I'd sooner shoot myself as my son.

It was the last look I ever got from him.

We were somewhere in Utah Territory. God only knows where, 'cause we'd been chewing the same dust for days and still those mountains sitting low on the horizon looked to be no more'n knee high. But we kept moving toward 'em, one foot-achy, boot-heavy step at a time. We and about twenty other families, with all our worldly goods piled onto covered wagons that were hitched to teams that kept inching due west in one meandering line. Like the wobbly needle of a compass. Chasing hope. Or running from hurt. All of us following a dream.

The morning it happened, the sky was still dark. The night sentry -- as usual -- had fired his rifle straight up at 4 A.M. And that -- as usual -- had shot me right outta my blanket. After fifteen weeks on the trail I still wasn't accustomed to being wakened by gunfire.

Shivering, and rubbing my pimply arms to warm myself, I set about my chores. Laid some more wood on the fire. Rolled up the blankets -- mine and Pa's. (He wasalready off gathering up our four oxen.) Pulled the bridle from its hook on the back of the wagon and set off to locate Ned, our one saddle horse.

Most mornings I liked doing that. Gave me time to think. Gave my feet time to uncurl and spread inside my boots, set for another long day. But this morning, as I stepped outside the circle of wagons, I was balancing on my toes cross the crunching sand. Word was we'd camped on the edge of Paiute territory, and I wasn't 'bout to be surprised by some painted stranger crouching behind sagebrush. Dang that Ned, anyway, for wandering off as he had a mind to.

The deep black sky, with only its onion sliver of moon, yawned over the empty land. Made me feel small, awful small. I kept walking, peering into the darkness, my heart thudding uneasily under my wool shirt. As I got beyond hollering distance of the circle of wagons I pulled up and looked over my shoulder, wondering if I should return. With their swooping canopies, the wagons seemed to slumber like pale, swaybacked horses. Here and there I saw cooking fires being coaxed to life. Tents were being struck, livestock gathered. But it was quiet. People didn't talk much at this hour, specially worn-to-the-bone people like us.

Beyond the circle, no more'n pencil-thin shadows under the starlight, were the twin tracks we were all following. They'd been pounded into the desert by hundreds of wheels and thousands of hooves, and they shot straight west toward the mountains called the Sierra Nevada. Those tracks were like a couple of open arms, just begging us to follow 'em. Follow to a better life, they sang, follow to gold and land and easy living. Others have done it, they promised; you could too.

I was only twelve, but I'd spent enough of my days moving from place to place and back again to know that promises of easy living were no more'n words on the wind.

We'd started in Missouri, where I'd been born, then moved to Illinois, even though it was illegal for Ma, being colored, to cross the border into that state. Pa -- who was white -- had heard of work there milking cows, and so, jobs being scarce, we went anyway. He wasn't very good at it. The farmer complained that the cows got twitchy when Pa even looked at 'em, let alone laid a hand on their flanks. Didn't matter, 'cause somehow our cabin got burnt down. So we moved over to Kansas. For a while Pa worked in a dry-goods store there. But then there was some sorta trouble with "border ruffians" and lots of talk 'bout slave states and free states (you had to take a stand). Ma got a bucket of whitewash dumped on her, which wasn't an accident, and we were moving again. It was back to Missouri, where a letter was waiting for Ma. It'd come from a sister I didn't even know she had, a sister living in Sacramento, and Ma suddenly decided -- as womenfolk do, and even though she was expecting a baby -- that it was real important that we get there. Life would be better in California, she promised.

Huh. Promises again. Well, I had eyes, didn't I? I'd been walking this trail, hadn't I? So I knew you couldn't count on any such promises. The slapped-together crosses along its sides told me that plain enough. And all the cast-off furniture and the broke-down wagons and the bleached bones of animals that had given up pulling 'em. No, this trail was only a guide. It wasn't a promise for what would happen when we got there. It wasn't even a promise that we would get there.

I heaved a wearisome sigh. For close to four months we'd been trying, though. One day at a time. Fifteen miles a day. Every day the same. Except when we crossed the Platte River. That had eaten up three days. And when we stopped to bury the little German boy. He was run over one morning by his own wagon and killed flat out. We only made eight miles after stopping to bury him.

So that we could make our miles each day, we had to rise at four every morning for chores and be hitched and ready to move out at six. Then we had to be circled by four in the afternoon so we could drag ourselves through the same chores, eat, and get some sleep before the clock rolled round to four again. Numbers were what this journey was all about, it seemed. Numbers that kept rolling round like the wheels of the wagons. They could crush you, they could.

A horned toad, caught out in the morning cold and sluggish, tried to skitter away from my footfall. I managed to miss him, and he tilted his head to watch me pass, blinking solemnly. There was a sunken, leathery look to him, sorta like the one Ned had been wearing of late. We weren't even riding the ribby horse now, he'd gotten to looking so poorly. At the end of every day we turned him loose with the other livestock to graze the area inside the circled wagons. He must've thought we were funning him, 'cause there hadn't been a blade of grass to whistle on for two hundred miles. Sand and salt and scattered sagebrush were all that constituted this part of the territory. Even the jackrabbits were thin as rails, if you could spot one. So Ned had taken to sneaking out and away from the wagons, leaving me to track him down every morning. He did have a sense of humor.

The cold night wind was still blowing some, busy with its work of shifting the sands from one side of the desert to the other. A devilsome gust picked up a handful and blew it at me, and those little specks hit my cheek with the bite of broken glass. All I could do was turn my collar up and trudge on.

When I finally spotted the dark hump on the flat gray plain, I knew that Ned had heard me coming. His pointy ears said that. But that bold rascal didn't bother getting up. He stayed resting, his legs tucked under nice and neat, making me come to him. As I got closer, he nickered. Good morning.

I shook my head and squatted. "Good morning yourself, you sorry animal. Find anything to eat?" I scratched behind his ears while I spoke with him. The hairs there were stiff with yesterday's sweat and caked with the white dust that covered us all. There was a raised scar there too, where someone's rope had cut into him at some time. When I stopped working my fingers, he shook happily, let out a groan -- like he knew the long day ahead of him, and of course he did -- and climbed to his feet. I slipped the bridle on him and fastened it.

I didn't really need it. He'd have followed me anyway. Horses always did, always had. Don't know why. They just cottoned to me somehow. Made me feel special, and I liked that.

The piece of moon was lower in the sky as we headed back, tipping the sage with a frosty coat of silver. Seemed unreasonable that in just a few hours we'd be burning in a fearsome heat. Just like yesterday. Just like tomorrow.

Pa had gathered our four oxen by the time we got back to the wagon. That's 'bout all he'd managed, though. Those stubborn beasts did next to nothing for him on a good day, and this morning they were hardly budging.

"Give 'em a little inspiration, will ya, son?" Pa fought to make his voice cheery. Over the years I'd learned it took an awful lot to drown his spirits. But the waters were rising. I could see it in his face.

Flicking the ends of the reins, I stung first one ox and then the other. Ned was a no-nonsense animal, and he rushed to help, pinning his ears and raking his teeth cross the nearest flank, and if that didn't get them on their way! They came close to hurrying. While trying to get 'em yoked, Pa got himself stepped on, not once, but twice. Then one of the hickory bows that was already split opened up more. "Hang it all!" he shouted.

"You want me to finish hitching 'em?" I asked. I held some sway with oxen, too, it seemed. Leastways, more than my pa did.

"Sure," he answered. Through the morning's gloom I could see discouragement weighing him down. But Pa being Pa, he shook it off with an effort and replaced it with the confidence of a man holding all aces. "I'll take Ned and throw the saddle on him. Least he can do is carry his own pack." He forced a grin and took the reins. Ned snorted and followed.

I glared at our oxen. They rolled their eyes and licked their wide, wet noses with their wide, wet tongues. Not only were they a scrawny bunch, but if those imps of Satan had ever been broke to a hitch before Pa paid good money for 'em back in St. Joseph, then I'm a natural-born fool.

Shoving my shoulder into the near one, I whooped. "Get up!" I ordered. He wasn't convinced, so I grabbed hold of his ear, threatening to give it a good twist. Sullenly he stepped into place, his teammate moving with him. When I leaned into the second pair, they moved over before I could holler, and in no time at all I had 'em hitched. Sky wasn't even near pink. For once we wouldn't be the lone outfit everyone was waiting on.

Inside our wagon Ma was nudging my sisters through their chores. I knew what was coming and hunched my shoulders. Sure enough, there it was: little Willie's piercing wail. He was only a few days old, I understood that, but the one time he wasn't wailing, it seemed, was when he was sleeping -- and that wasn't near often enough. Since our place was at the end of the line of wagons, Pa had taken to easing up on the oxen, letting 'em travel slow enough to put a little ear space between us and the others. He wasn't 'bout to provide any new excuses for them dropping us off at some two-cabin "settlement."

Folks already had their opinions 'bout our family belonging, mixed as we were and looking different from them. Some of those opinions had been expressed in passing at the creeks or while bent over collecting firewood. Others were held behind tight lips and turned shoulders. That was something I couldn't do anything 'bout. Animals I could manage. People were a whole different matter indeed.

"Here's your soda biscuit, Colton." Althea, the older of my two younger sisters, stuck her arm out over the wagon seat. "And some coffee." A tin cup followed. "It's cold," she warned. "Fire went out before the water could boil." She ruffled her feathers and disappeared back inside the canvas canopy. It was the same as her henhouse now. With Ma so worn and sickly from birthing my brother, and little Willie not giving her any sleep since, Althea had taken charge. She'd "rose to the occasion," as they say, though I don't think it'd stretched her much.

My stomach growled even before the biscuit passed my teeth. It was always growling of late, though you'd think it'd give up hope by now. The sour cake settled on my tongue and started to swell. It tasted like paste. When I twisted my neck and tried to swallow, I dang near choked. A swig of coffee was no help. It was only spit-warm, made with bitter water and more dust than beans. Too late I discovered a grasshopper trying to climb outta the cup by way of my tongue. I spat him -- and the coffee -- out.

"That's all you're getting, Colton," came Althea's voice outta the darkness, like it was spoke from God himself. Bossy for ten.

To my surprise, the man from the next wagon suddenly turned and headed our way. He was marching, like he'd taken orders he was none too happy 'bout having to deliver. "Your pa here?" he asked.

I didn't have to answer 'cause Pa was just coming round the wagon. "Mr. Suttles! Good mornin' to ya."

"Supposed to pass the word that there could be trouble today. Rifles to be at the ready."

Pa reached up to the wagon seat. "Got her right here." He smiled at the man.

Mr. Suttles stayed stone faced. "Try to remember what we told you 'bout using it," he said. "And for God's sake, fire at them and not us." He spun and stalked back to his own wagon.

Pa looked like he'd been whipped. Mr. Suttles was still making references to the first week, back in Kansas, when we'd all been a little jittery. Pa had shot off his rifle at a bear coming toward him in the night. He'd just missed hitting Mr. Suttles's brother. No one let us forget it.

Willie's crying climbed another earsplitting pitch. Pa and I exchanged helpless looks, then walked to the back of the wagon. Wedged in between a pine cupboard and boxes of breakables and three mismatched chairs and an iron kettle and quilts and pillows and Ma's precious tin buckets of rose cuttings was Ma herself. Or a shadow of Ma.

"Willie hasn't nursed all night," Althea announced, somber as a preacher. She was holding Jewel, our four-year-old sister, on her lap, braiding her hair into pigtails. "And there's no more rice and almost no cornmeal."

In a weak voice Ma scolded, "Hush now. We'll make do."

"He needs a doctor," Althea insisted.

No one scolded her for that. It was probably true. But where were you going to find a doctor way out here? Even the last settlement, if you could call a half dozen scattered shanties a settlement, was five days' ride behind us. And they probably hadn't seen a doctor themselves in the past year.

Pa started to go under then. He looked like a packhorse partway cross a river that finds itself loaded too heavy. Losing its footing, it goes tumbling and spinning, helpless against the current. Jewel started whimpering, low and gaspy, like she was going under too.

"Get on with you, now," Ma said. "Sun's coming up. All we can do is keep moving."

Pa nodded and trudged back round the wagon, and I followed. He pulled himself up into the seat. Fumbled with his rifle, a Hawkins .50 caliber. Cocked and eased the hammer, then cocked it again. Reached down to check his ammunition. His movements were jerky. Like he wasn't thinking, just acting. He kept digging for something in the bottom of the wagon, then sat up suddenly and moved the rifle cross his lap.

And that's when the gun went off.

Copyright © 2005 by Diane Lee Wilson

Reading Group Guide

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS
BLACK STORM COMIN'
By Diane Lee Wilson
ABOUT THE BOOK
Colton Wescott, a twelve-year-old boy traveling west in a wagon train with his white father and black mother and two younger sisters, has his inner strength put to the extreme test when the family is separated from his father and his mother becomes very ill after the birth and death of a new baby. Colton needs to figure out a way to ensure the survival of his family and begins a treacherous job as a Pony Express rider traveling through the mountains to California.
THEMES
Family life; Growing up; Multiculturalism; Pony Express; Slavery; Identity; Racially mixed people; Self-acceptance; Frontier and frontier life; West ( U. S.) — History — nineteenth Century; United States — History — 1815-1861; Pre-Civil War
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
• How does Colton's experience as a member of a multiracial family affect his life? How does his repeated use of his ability to "pass" for white affect his self-image?
• While the Pony Express isn't in operation today, there are many other challenges we face while growing up. What do you confront in today's world that you see as parallels to the challenges Colton faced?
• Colton was not the only character in the story to face hardships. How did other family members (Dad, Ma, Althea, Jewel) react to pressures of the outside world?
ACTIVITIES
• Working in groups of two or three, look up Pony Express trails in books or on websites. Have each group work on drawing a map of the route the Pony Express followed.
• Make a Pony Express board game with Pony Express riders as the game pieces, including various hazards encountered on the ride. Be creative, and use other board games as models and for ideas for your game.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Barb Stransky
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

Introduction

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS

BLACK STORM COMIN'

By Diane Lee Wilson

ABOUT THE BOOK

Colton Wescott, a twelve-year-old boy traveling west in a wagon train with his white father and black mother and two younger sisters, has his inner strength put to the extreme test when the family is separated from his father and his mother becomes very ill after the birth and death of a new baby. Colton needs to figure out a way to ensure the survival of his family and begins a treacherous job as a Pony Express rider traveling through the mountains to California.

THEMES

Family life; Growing up; Multiculturalism; Pony Express; Slavery; Identity; Racially mixed people; Self-acceptance; Frontier and frontier life; West ( U. S.) — History — nineteenth Century; United States — History — 1815-1861; Pre-Civil War

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• How does Colton's experience as a member of a multiracial family affect his life? How does his repeated use of his ability to "pass" for white affect his self-image?

• While the Pony Express isn't in operation today, there are many other challenges we face while growing up. What do you confront in today's world that you see as parallels to the challenges Colton faced?

• Colton was not the only character in the story to face hardships. How did other family members (Dad, Ma, Althea, Jewel) react to pressures of the outside world?

ACTIVITIES

• Working in groups of two or three, look up Pony Express trails in books or on websites. Have each group work on drawing a map of the route the Pony Express followed.

• Make a Pony Express board game with Pony Express riders as thegame pieces, including various hazards encountered on the ride. Be creative, and use other board games as models and for ideas for your game.

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Barb Stransky

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

Diane Lee Wilson is the author of  Black Storm Comin', a Booklist Editors' Choice, a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Pick and a Book Links Lasting Connection, and Firehorse, which received a starred review in Booklist, a Booklist Top Ten Mystery/Suspense for Youth, and a winner of the ALA Amelia Bloomer Project. She has always ridden horses and has an extensive collection of horse books in her home in Escondido, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Black Storm Comin' 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black Storm Comin¿ is about a boy named Colton Westcott. Colton was born in a family where the father was white and the mother was black, and that¿s not a good mix when you are in the year of 1860. His family was moving westward to get freedom papers to Colton¿s mother¿s sister, and then after that to move in. They¿re moving from Missouri all the way to Sacramento, California. When Colton¿s dad shockingly shoots Colton¿s leg, his dad runs off and now Colton has to make sure his family gets to Sacramento in one piece alive and healthy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed reading this book, and fell in love with Colton and his struggles in life, trying to take care of his family at such a young age. I have a 12 yr old son, and was able to imagine my son stepping up as valiantly as Colton did. I like the author's style of writing, and look forward to reading more of her books.
lnommay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You can't help but cheer for twelve-year-old Colton, son of an African-American mother and a white father, who finds himself the man of the family in the mid 1800's while he travels with his family to California as part of a wagon train. Add to the story the prejudices of the times, a father that wasn't half the man as young Colton, and thrilling rides for the Pony Express, and you have yourself a great work of historical fiction.Booklist starred (August 2005 (Vol. 101, No. 22))Gr. 7-10. On a wagon train headed to California, Colton is left to care for his family after his father accidentally shoots him and then runs off in horror. His mixed race family (Pa was white; Ma is black) is harassed, ignored, and finally abandoned by their fellow travelers, but Colton still manages to lead his mother and siblings to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas before Ma's illness stops them. Ma entrusts Colton with her sister's freedom papers and begs him to deliver them to Sacramento, their ultimate destination. To meet her request, Colton joins the Pony Express--a job that brings further hardship and danger as Colton braves the coming winter to carry the mail on its final leg into California. Set in 1860, with the pending Civil War as its backdrop, Wilson's novelsubtly exposes the dangers of being mixed race in a volatile society. Wilson masterfully creates a multidimensional character in Colton, who possesses both youthful impetuousness and the wisdom of a man who has seen too much sadness for his young years. Societal barriers, played out larger than life in Colton's heart and mind, are the ultimate strength of this story. Readers will absorb greater lessons as they become engrossed in the excitement, beauty, and terror of Colton's journey to California and manhood. Kirkus Review (June 15, 2005)On the eve of the Civil War, Colton Wescott is 'a boy with a foot in each of two worlds-the black and the white, the slave and the free, the East and the West.' On his way west by wagon train, Colton is shot by his father who disappears, and the family eventually stalls before making it to California. But Colton sees a poster advertising for Pony Express riders and sees a chance to become a man in his father's place. He'll relay freedom papers from his mother to her sister in Sacramento and carry an important message from Washington about a plot to blow up forts and steal ammunition in an attempt to support the South in the coming war. Driving the historic Pony Express route, visiting museums and bookstores and reading journals, letters and obituaries, Wilson has done the research to make the story alive and immediate. An exciting story written with style. (map, author's note) (Fiction. 10-14)
odonnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Black Storm Comin'" by Diane Lee Wilson is an excellent historical fiction book. In this exciting adventure story, readers will not only learn about the history of the Pony Express, but also discover what life may have been like for a mixed race family traveling to California in 1860. Fellow wagon train travelers have scorned, ridiculed, and ignored the Westcott family because the father is white and the mother is black. When the father accidentally shoots main character 12 year-old Colton Westcott, he has a mental breakdown and runs away, almost certainly to die in the desert. Colton is left alone to take care of his three younger siblings and his mother who is suffering from "childbirth fever". Although tricked and abandoned on the trail by the other travelers, Colton and his sisters heroically managed to reach the next town and even found a doctor for the dying mother. However, the family is completely broke. When Colton saw a large poster at the telegraph office with the words "Wiry fellows not over eighteen... Must be expert riders... Willing to risk death daily...Orphans preferred", Colton applied to be a Pony Express rider. Told in the first person, "Black Storm Comin'" is classified as a "young adult" book. However, even though Wilson's details are graphic at times, fourth grade readers should be able to handle the material...a gripping story!
knielsen83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great book about a boy who has some African-American blood in him before the civil war. He just passes for a white boy and ends up riding for the pony express when his family cannot travel fully west.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Riding the Pony Express seems to be the only way 12-year-old Colton Wescott can earn the money to pay for his Ma's doctor. He's more than willing and his soul seems to want to gallop across the deserts and mountains... but it's not as easy as all that. Colton's Pa is white and his Ma is a free black woman. Although Colton's light enough to "pass" for white, he knows he could be hanged if he's caught. And the route they need him to ride is extremely treacherous, over the Sierra Nevada mountains. But Colton's got more than money at stake. His Ma is trusting him to deliver freedom papers to her sister in Sacramento. And there's no time to lose. With a country on the brink of war, every second counts. This wild west adventure story has a very interesting perspective and there's a lot going on. Not only is Colton considering issues of race, but he's also testing himself. Can he "keep it together" and stick to his route? Can he keep his family together? And might he even play a part in keeping the Union together? At this time, the Pony Express was responsible for bringing news of the developing war to the prosperous state of California. I found it to be a really interesting and gripping book (and one I wouldn't have picked up if it hadn't been nominated for a Caudill... hurrah for the Caudills!).
mattlhm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Diane Lee Wilson's Black Storm Comin' tells the story of Colton Westcott, a 14-year-old boy who has to take on the roll of sole breadwinner for a family shunned by a wagon train and left to fend for itself out west in 1860. He does this by applying for the Pony Express, getting the job, and accomplishing what it is that's required of him, only to lose the position through a freak accident involving a inspirationally assertive black woman named Aunt Charlotte. Charlotte helps Colton accept and adjust to his being half-black which serves as an impetus for him sensing more than ever his own self worth and what it is he needs to accomplish for himself and his family. The story is told in the first person which tends to grow aggravating as Colton speaks in a sort of "aw, shucks" mannerism that's over-the-top, colloquially and needed to have been toned down by the author. Also, an all too convenient episode for Colton to rejoin the Pony Express after his dismissal occurs with a heavy-handed speech an Express agent delivers about Lincoln, slavery, and a Southern plot to blow up forts in Sacramento. It comes off more as sappy than as a satisfying plot device. Other than that, the story is a mild enough diversion that moves well when Colton is on the Pony Express trail and away from the problems being sufficiently enough handled by two small sisters and an ailing mother. This book would be a good addition to the multi-cultural section of a middle or high school library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didnt get it someone explain me a summary
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nerd10 More than 1 year ago
This book is really exciting as it takes you back to the days of slavery. Colton must survive without his dad after he shot him in the leg and ran away during a long journey to freedom. The good part is that his dad is white and his mom is black and he looks like his dad so people think he is white so he dosen't face that much discrimination. He has to make money to help his family who is currently living in the doctor's because his mom is really ill so he works for the pony mail express and risks his life doing it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 8 years old. I found it intresting, sad, scary, and happy at parts. I liked it. Advice: Mabye, if you want to get this book, get it from your library first. If you love it, you know what to do! Get the book!