At what point does a group of strangers become a community? When young Bendigo Shafter and a ragtag bunch of travelers settle in the rugged Wyoming mountains, they quickly come to depend on a toughness and wisdom many of them never knew they possessed. Led by the beautiful and resourceful widow Ruth Macken, the settlers battle harsh winters, renegade opportunists, and the destructive lure of gold. Through these brutally demanding experiences, young Bendigo is forged into a man. But when he travels to New York to reclaim the love of Ninon, his childhood sweetheart, Bendigo is faced with new challenges. Will hard-edged instincts, honed from years in the mountains, serve him in the big city? Does Ninon’s heart belong to the lights and glamour of the theater? And if his destiny deems it so, will he be willing to leave the community he toiled so long and hard to build?
From the Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Bendigo Shafter|
|Release Date: 03-30-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Bendigo Shafter|
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Chapter OneWHERE THE WAGONS stopped we built our homes, making the cabins tight against the winter's coming. Here in this place we would build our town, here we would create something new.
We would space our buildings, lay out our streets and dig wells to provide water for our people. The idea of it filled me with a heartwarming excitement such as I had not known before.
Was it this feeling of creating something new that held my brother Cain to his forge throughout the long hours? He knew the steel he turned in his hands, knew the weight of the hammer and where to strike, knew by the glow of the iron what its temperature would be; even the leap of the sparks had a message for his experience.
He knew when to heat and when to strike and when to dip the iron into the water; yet when is the point at which a group of strangers becomes a community? What it is that forges the will of a people?
This I did not know, nor had I books to advise me, nor any experience to judge a matter of this kind. We who now were alien, strangers drawn together by wagons moving westward, must learn to work together, to fuse our interests, and to become as one. This we must do if we were to survive and become a town.
No settlement lay nearer than Fort Bridger, more than a hundred miles to the southwest ... or so we had heard.
All about us was Indian country and we were few.
There were seven men to do the building, two boys to guard our stock, and thirteen women and children to gather wood and buffalo chips for the fires of the nights to come, and kindling against a time of snow.
Only now did we realize that we were strangers, and...