“The Homesman is a devastating story of early pioneers in 1850s Nebraska. 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.
Glendon Swarthout’s novel from 1988 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.”
Having seen a trailer for the recent movie of the same title, starring Hillary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones, I picked up a copy of the book at the airport while my husband and I were traveling this past Christmas. The minute I started reading it, I was completely pulled in ; it was riveting and shocking, all at the same time. I highly recommend this book (and movie) about frontier Nebraska.