Early Whitcomb comes from the state of Iowa, where he’s never traveled very far from his family’s farm. That all changes during the droughts of 1859, when his father falls behind on the mortgage and the local bank threatens to foreclose on their land. Left with no other choice, Early heads out west to track down his cousin Jesse, who had set off to Colorado in search of gold. Along the way he discovers that Jesse is actually wanted for robbery, and that law and order have a completely different look in the Wild West!
Although Early’s story only concerns his family and friends, it takes place at a very busy time in our country’s history. John Brown’s raid on the town of Harper’s Ferry served to spark a heated discussion about slavery, and southern states were seriously considering secession. I thought that the author did an awesome job of painting these historical events into the background, while still keeping the focus on Early. I also appreciated all the details that were included in this adventure. It’s one thing to know that covered wagons traveled for months at a time, but when you start to think about what these settlers ate and where they slept, you almost start to feel as if you’re right there alongside them!
I love reading about this period in American history since it seems like adventure was around every corner, for better or for worse! It still amazes me to think of how settlers could take such a huge risk in search of a better life with absolutely no guarantee of success. If you had everything you own piled into a covered wagon and were traveling to someplace new, do you think that you might be just a little worried about what lay ahead? What might you do if things didn’t work out?