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Red Men and White

Owen Wister

Book Overview: 

These eight stories are made from our Western Frontier as it was in a past as near as yesterday and almost as by-gone as the Revolution; so swiftly do we proceed. They belong to each other in a kinship of life and manners, and a little through the nearer tie of having here and there a character in common. Thus they resemble faintly the separate parts of a whole, and gain, perhaps, something of the invaluable weight of length; and they have been received by my closest friends with suspicion. ...When our national life, our own soil, is so rich in adventures to record, what need is there for one to call upon his invention save to draw, if he can, characters who shall fit these strange and dramatic scenes? One cannot improve upon such realities. If this fiction is at all faithful to the truth from which it springs, let the thanks be given to the patience and boundless hospitality of the Army friends and other friends across the Missouri who have housed my body and instructed my mind. And if the stories entertain the ignorant without grieving the judicious I am content. (Summary from Author's Preface)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Specimen Jones.

“Whose spurs?” said he.

“Mine.” This from Mr. Adams.

“How long have they been yourn?”

“Since I got ’em, I guess.”

“Well, you’ve enjoyed them spurs long enough.” The voice of Specimen Jones now altered in quality. “And you’ll give ’em back to that kid.”

Muttering followed that the boy could not catch. “You’ll give ’em back,” repeated Jones. “I seen y’u lift ’em from under that chair when I was in the corner.”

“That’s straight, Mr. Adams,” said Ephraim. “I noticed it myself, though I had no objections, of course. But Mr. Jones has pointed out—”

“Since when have you growed so honest, Jones?” cackled Mr. Adams, seeing that he must lose his little booty. “And why didn’t you raise yer object. . . Read More