Buffalo Trail: A Novel of the American West

Putnam. Oct. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780399165429. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101623244. F
Cash McLendon, a tenderfoot unfamiliar with guns and horses who had headed out West in Glorious, returns a bit more experienced, though he's not yet a crack shot or an accomplished cowboy. Still he joins a buffalo-hunting party heading from Dodge City, KS, to the Texas Panhandle. Unfortunately, this is Indian territory, and the native Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa plan an attack on the whites encroaching on their lands. The two groups collide in the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, fought on June 27, 1874. Full of historical notable figures from the Old West, this second volume in Guinn's trilogy not only provides a buoyant narrative but also several lessons in Western history. This title is so well constructed that it could stand alone (for readers new to the trilogy).
VERDICT Those interested in the conflicts between Native Americans and the frontiersmen will be intrigued with both sides of the story presented here. However, the graphic violence detailed may deter some readers. Guinn skillfully ties his carefully constructed prolog outlining the Massacre at Sand Creek (1864) to a lone female warrior he imagines at the Second Battle at Adobe Walls. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/15.]

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