"One thing you gotta learn ‘bout cowboys right now is they don’t cry. No way. No how. Ever!"

To call this a coming-of-age novel would be to give it far less justice than it deserves. While adolescents are present, and they do, in fact, come of age, it's really about adults who achieve personal growth themselves when it comes to understanding others who live in different circumstances than their own. One could think of it as a coming-to-enlightenment novel.

David Epstein is a writer and editor for the New York Times in 1934. He winds up taking his family on a grand vacation adventure to the wilds of South Dakota and Wyoming. They meet with and are accompanied by friends and family who are immigrants that have assimilated to frontier living. On their journey, they will be challenged not just by uncommon people and lifestyles but also by flash floods, raging wildfires, cattle stampedes, unscrupulous con artists, and more. Before the novel's end, this Jewish family from the Big Apple will have had their assumptions changed about numerous things and done an awful lot of mind-changing themselves.

This is the fourth novel in author Dann's saga of familial relationships. She's an imaginative storyteller who fills her tales of family dramas with comedy, tragedy, failure, triumph, pride, pathos, and exhilaration. In this book, she shows herself to be an authentic interpreter of the rigors of ranch life, as well as the calamities, chaos, and codes that cowboys live by. But what emerges most from this tale of daunting times and derring-do is the infinite capacity for understanding and acceptance shown by the characters she so lovingly depicts from chapter to chapter. Enthusiasts of history, as well as good old-fashioned storytelling, will find much to like in this tale.

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