For the millions of our earth's people who love horses, western history, or just a great read, Sam Morton's epic novel WHERE THE RIVERS RUN NORTH is just the ticket! It is the story of horses, the colorful and widely diverse people who raised, used, and sold them, and the land that shaped them all. Author Sam Morton has taken on a theme which he knows and loves. He is no outsider to the people he depicts. He could fit, easily, as a character in his own book.
WHERE THE RIVERS RUN NORTH skillfully weaves together history of the horse with that of the people, beginning in the mid 1800s with the young Indian boy Curly, who would grow up to be the legendary Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse. Morton takes us from the Indian warriors and the U.S. Cavalry, to the Remount, providing tens of thousands of horses for overseas wars. His characters are warriors, soldiers, cowboys, and ranchers. They also include horse breeders, trainers and traders; polo players, and a myriad of others, as diverse in their origins as an Indian warrior may be from a learned and sophisticated Easterner and even to English nobility, sharing a common bond growing from their love of the animal and the land.
Fortunes were made and lost in the horse business, and ranchers living through tragically hard winters, sometimes losing most of their herds. But the spirit of these horse people reverberates throughout, taking the bad with the good and moving forward. By book's end, Morton is telling of these people's descendants and the thread still holds. They are, through all the generations, a special breed-these people who live in the lands where the rivers run north.
Book Excerpt-Preface, by Sam Morton
In southern Montana and northern Wyoming an area called Absaraka is defined by rivers that run north from the Bighorn Mountains. Inside, the grasslands have produced several horse cultures. For over forty years the Shoshone, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota Sioux evolved into the most effective light cavalry in the world. Hundreds of intertribal battles were fought on horses culminating in the massacre of two entire U.S. Army commands.
When the Indian wars ended, wealthy sons of British nobility weathered range wars, killing winters, and outlaws to raise some of the finest horses on earth. They added spark to the wildest town in the West where soldiers, cowboys, courtesans, politicians and Indians congregated.
As the frontier settled, Ivy League horsemen built lavish estates in one of the most picturesque canyons in the world, drawing visitors from American presidents to the Queen of England. With the advent of dude ranches, thousands of wealthy families came west for the summer to ride horses and enjoy the country. Some bought ranches, some young men hired on as cowboys, and dozens of young women fell in love and married cowboys.
The common thread through the generations was the area's horses. As horses elevate the human spirit, there is no place on earth where the human spirit has burned brighter than in the warriors, cowboys, and horsemen from Absaraka. The warriors were fiercer, the cowboys wilder, and the wealthy horsemen had more spark. Epic battles were fought, fortunes were made, and fortunes were lost. Marriages and friendships that crossed socioeconomic barriers all tied together through a passion for one animal---the horse. From the earliest horse to the present day, the area and people have distinguished themselves through their relationship with horses.
The heart of it all is the grassland with its broken contour, bracing climates, and plenty of water. It is a haven for hoofed animals that has hosted millions of buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, and hundreds of thousands of horses. The horses raised here are tougher; they are fed from the land their ancestors grazed, and watered from the melted snow that flows from the mountains where the rivers run north.
About the Author:
Sam Morton, a native of Southern Pines, North Carolina, has worked as a horse trainer in northern Wyoming and southern Florida for over thirty years. He received a BA in history from Guilford College in 1981 and has written for several publications, including American Cowboy, Polo Players Edition, Sidelines, and Pine Straw Magazine. He resides in Big Horn, Wyoming, during the summer and Wellington, Florida, during the winter.
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