The HomesmanLarge Print - 2014
IN PIONEER NEBRASKA, A WOMAN LEADS WHERE NO MAN WILL GO
Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman is a devastating story of early pioneers in 1850s American West. It celebrates the ones we hear nothing of: the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by a life of bitter hardship. A "homesman" must be found to escort a handful of them back East to a sanitarium. When none of the county's men steps up, the job falls to Mary Bee Cuddy--ex-teacher, spinster, indomitable and resourceful. Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she cannot succeed alone. The only companion she can find is the low-life claim jumper George Briggs. Thus begins a trek east, against the tide of colonization, against hardship, Indian attacks, ice storms, and loneliness--a timeless classic told in a series of tough, fast-paced adventures.
In an unprecedented sweep, Glendon Swarthout's novel won both the Western Writers of America's Spur Award and the Western Heritage Wrangler Award. A new afterword by the author's son Miles Swarthout tells of his parents Glendon and Kathryn's discovery of and research into the lives of the oft-forgotten frontier women who make The Homesman as moving and believable as it is unforgettable.
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"Four. What a shame. We'll have to have a homesman."
He put down his cutlery. "That's what I call him." Last year, Dowd said, there were three demented women, wives, on his circuit, and by spring something had to be done with them. Two were actually dangerous, homicidal, and the other one kept running away. "Well, I got the three husbands together - they're responsible after all -- and had them draw lots. The one who lost was the homesman."
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