The story tells of the gambler and townsite promoter who founded Cozad, Nebraska, and of his family, particularly his younger son, [who] became a world-famous artist and teacher known as 'Robert Henri.' This tale is essentially Robert's story, the story of a sensitive talented boy growing up in the midst of frontier violence. But it is also the story of the ambitious promoter and of frontier people fighting hunger, cold, blizzards, drouths, grasshoppers, prairie fires, and ruthless cattlemen. . . .
"The book's characters are all drawn from life and given their actual names; the events can be documented. The factual framework makes this unusual fiction and gives the tale a pattern most novelists would have altered to their purposes. But Miss Sandoz had her own purpose and she has achieved it splendidly by telling the story the way it happened."—Hal Borland, Saturday Review