Gr 6-9 Suspense builds in this historical adventure set in 1826 Missouri as Jim Matthew's father does not return from Mexico when he is expected, and none of the travelers has a message from him. Jim wants to leave his lonely life as an apprentice at Mr. Hood's store and strike out to search for his father for several reasons. The town bully has been making plans for a fresh attack; his friend Kit Carson has urged him to run away for adventure; he finds the routine in the shop confining; and his continuous worry about his father all combine to pull him toward sneaking off and joining the last wagon train of the year. Good plot development and insight into Jim's personality are strengths of this story. Written in the same style as Beatty's Wait For Me, Watch For Me , Eula Bee (Morrow, 1978), this book also has a strong main character who is stubborn and determined. A historically accurate adventure story that will make a good read-aloud. Gayle W. Berge, Creswell High School Library, Oreg.