On the night of his daughter’s wedding, August 27, 1862, James Quinn crossed the Missouri River to the Nebraska side to replenish the liquor stocks for the celebration. He took with him his brother-in-law and the father of the groom. The two return to the Iowa side and tell how Quinn fell out of the boat and disappeared in the current.
The novel tells the story of Quinn and his family against the historical background of the Irish diaspora, the birth and growth of Omaha, the politics of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the early years of the Civil War. It follows the vision of William D. Brown as he builds Omaha from a ferryboat landing to the jumping off place for the railroad and the western migration. Freighters and riverboat captains, squatters and land grabbers, farm wives and prostitutes, madams and politicians, Claim Club hooligans and gamblers: they all struggle to get what they can and keep it.
The overriding themes have to do with the civilizing effects of women and the often irresponsible behavior of the men as they prey on one another or become the prey or just shirk all problems and responsibilities by "running off." The women bond out of their desire for genuine love, trust, and mutual support. The men bond, generally, from a desire for money, power, and control. The country was filled with people who were drawn west by the lust for gold and free land. They were followed by a second wave of people who made money from the seekers. “I believe,” George Washington wrote in 1796, “scarcely any thing short of a Chinese Wall, or a line of Troops will restrain Land Jobbers and the Incroachment of settlers” as the country moves west.
|Publisher:||Joe B. Slater|
|File size:||273 KB|
About the Author
Joe B. Slater is an Iowa farm boy who moved to California, taught English at Bakersfield High School, and retired to the mountains. He has written one good poem, one good story, and one good novel, and he is working on a song.