The Civil War era finds North Texas caught in the vortex of violent and transforming crosscurrents. Colonizers converge on the Comancheria, slaughter its great bison herds, string barbed wire across its prairies, convert its floodplains into grain fields, and threaten the very existence of nomadic tribes that have dominated the lands west of the Cross Timbers for centuries. Will Potter delivers his wife, four sons, and 2,000 bawling steers into this cauldron of change and quickly pays a terrible price. Potter, his son, Willie, and the freedman, Picklesimer, join the Frontier Regiment to fend off Comanche raids during the war and receive 30,000 acres of prairie tall grass for their service. Until lawful order visits Hardeman County, Will Potter acts as judge and jury...and Picklesimer as executioner...of thieving sodbusters, no-account drifters, and reservation Indians who foolishly rustle Potter beeves. Order eventually comes, and with it, peaceful passage into the twentieth century. Big Man, Willie's son, saves the ranch during the Depression but his only heir dies in a gruesome accident. The distraught rancher faces losing control of his land to oilman "Pump Jack" O'Connell, who accidentally learns of his own Potter heritage on a tree-shaded cemetery knoll overlooking the Pease.
Literature-Fiction, Genre-Fiction, Westerns,