I rarely see Patrick excited about reading material made out of actual trees, so I will attempt to paraphrase what he told me. Be forewarned. He actually did say "eff" and other things while narrating the story to me, however Brave Buffalo Fighter does not actually have any bad language in it.
Here's how I heard it:
The hen-pecked father (Mr. Parker) has always wanted to go "out west" but the mother (Mrs. Parker) fancies herself as High Society, which they're not. One day, the father says, "Eff this. We've saved up enough money, we're moving out west." The mother says, "No, we're not." The father says, "Fine, go live with your parents." Her parents says, "What the heck are you doing? Go be with your husband!" Then the wife says, "Oh, I've changed my mind. Let's go out west."
The wagon train they join is quite large and every family is required to buy a certain amount of supplies. When a poor family's wagon tips over, it is discovered that they filled their barrels with dirt and sprinkled flour on top. The wagon train men and the captain then vote whether or not to kick this family out of the group.
The family was only short about $50 of supplies, so the men start pitching in money to get them through. The poor father says he can't except charity. Then one member of the party says, "I have 200 acres and am planning to have orchards in Washington. I need someone to work for me. Consider this $50 an advance on your salary and after 2 years of employment, I will give you 50 acres of my land." The family stays.
Throughout the book, Mrs. Parker is still a snob, considering most of the other wagon train women as white trash and beneath. Mrs. Parker comes down with pneumonia. Her illness rages for weeks, and she is on the verge of death when one of the "white trash" women offers to take a look at her. Using turpentine and other ingredients, this woman and the other low-class ladies of the wagon train make hot compresses for Mrs. Parker, heating them and changing them around the clock for four days. One of the lower class men goes out hunting every day just to catch one prairie hen to make chicken broth for Mrs. Parker.
She survives but is unaware of who saved her life for awhile.
This book is really sad. Tonight, I read that they are getting attacked by Indians.
They got attacked and survived the attack with only 11 men, women, and children dead. One woman ran out of the wagon circle to get her six year old, but she got killed. It's very sad.
The wagon train captain says that they will get attacked tomorrow. The men want to know why. It's because Mr. Parker's son, Jerry, shot a buffalo that was attacking someone, with a pistol and killed it. The Indians saw this happen and now the chief wants Jerry to be his own son, as his son died and he only has daughters.
That's where I'm going to stop. The rest of what I was told is all spoilers. I probably shouldn't even have told you that Mrs. Parker survives.
Edmund and Patrick loved this book, despite the scary and tragic parts.
Jill and I have been reading and loving Charlotte Zolotow's Over and Over which Mary Kate reviewed recently. Everything she said about it is true. Over and Over is a longish book, but so pleasant to read that I can read it over and over.
I just finished The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice ), which was everything I hoped for in the last of this series.
Now, I am now reading Tolkien's Letters From Father Christmas to Edmund and Jill in the evenings. Charlotte reviewed this earlier this year.
If ever anyone needed an argument as to why you should celebrate Santa Claus aka Father Nicholas Christmas aka Sinterklaus with young ones, I can think of hundreds of reasons.
But my favorite reason of all is that if the brilliant and Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien felt the need to celebrate Father Christmas with a sackful of toys and elves and reindeer and sleigh with his children, why wouldn't I?
Next Wednesday is Christmas, so I'm taking the day off. (But I may feel the overwhelming desire to blog books anyway.)
Happy Christmas from Housewifespice to You and Yours! I hope your Christmas looks a lot like this: