"... A solid, unassuming prose style perfectly matches the Texas setting to tell a tale about a little-known but fascinating part of American history. Enderle writes with restraint, her research neatly woven into the story, her characters carefully drawn. A small gem of a story. (afterword, bibliography)" --Kirkus Reviews
"... Taut plotting and a modest page count make this a strong
recommendation for reluctant and time-challenged readers." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Most stories of western farming are those of pioneers struggling against nature to survive. What makes this story unique is that it chronicles the struggle to protect a family farm from wire-cutting cattlemen. Young Jesse, the youngest son of a cotton farmer in Texas, is caught in the middle. Jesse s fear of firing a weapon puts him at odds with his father and older brother, Ethan. When Ethan is kicked out of the house because of his gambling, Jesse has to bear the brunt of the work and the horror of the wire-cutters. Jesse has to face his fear of firearms in order to save the life of their hired hand. This well written novel has believable characters in a historically accurate setting. The cattle wars of Texas are often glossed over, but they are full of adventure. Enderle does an excellent job of portraying the time period, the characters, and the wars. An afterword explains the cattle wars and how they were finally halted. Bibliography. Recommended." --Library Media Connection
A firearms accident that killed his dog has left thirteen-year-old Jesse Wade gun shy, and in 1883 Texas, fear of firearms is a sign of cowardice that elicits the scorn of family and neighbors. It doesn't help him one bit that his older brother, Ethan, has stolen money from their parents, lost at the gambling table, and left home after a violent confrontation with their father; now Jesse is saddled with extra chores around the farm and forced to work at close quarters with his perpetually angry father. A severe drought has driven some unscrupulous cattlemen to cut the barbed-wire fences around farms in the region to gain access to water reservoirs, and when farmers such as Mr. Wade attempt to make repairs, the intruders retaliate by mutilating livestock and threatening human lives. This is a predictable set-up for a classic horse opera, and sure as shootin', a stranger rides into town, offers to work around the Wade farm, and makes Jesse mighty suspicious of his possible involvement with the cattlemen. Enderle brings her compact novel to the satisfying conclusion one would expect from an hour-long installment of a TV western, but not before orchestrating an explosive family feud and genuine nail-gnawing tension over the Wades' livelihood and personal safety. Taut plotting and a modest page count make this a strong recommendation for reluctant and time-challenged readers. --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
About the Author
Dotti Enderle is a native Texan, whose keen interest in the history of the Lone Star State grew from the olden-day stories she heard as a child. Now an author of numerous books for children and educators, including Man in the Moon and the award-winning picture book Grandpa for Sale, Dotti happily weaves the state's history into her books. She lives in Houston with her family and an old gray cat named Oliver.