Immediately following the Civil War, Billy, a fifteen-year-old runaway, sets out for the gold fields of Virginia City in treacherous Montana Territory. Good fortune for Billy is not so much about finding gold, though, as it is about finding his father. Finding the truth. Before crossing the Missouri River to embark on his journey, two cunning travelers commandeer Billy's life savings of twenty-nine dollars and two bits and convince him to join them as ox-drivers on a team headed with supply wagons for Montana. At first, being paid to make the trip doesn't sound half bad to Billy -- but he quickly discovers that truth never comes cheaply.
The arduous journey tests him for all he's worth. Across miles of arid plains, wild rivers, and steep mountains, Billy struggles to tame his unruly oxen and his own dangerous passions. He must find his place among unlikely traveling companions on a trek through hostile country that conceals Chief Red Cloud's warriors as well as armed highwaymen. Billy's rite of passage challenges everything he knows about survival and loss, reconciliation and discovery.
In this vivid historical novel inspired by the real diaries of photographer William Henry Jackson, award-winning author Laurie Lawlor takes readers on a sweeping quest through the perilous old West.
Laurie Lawlor has published more than thirty books for children and young adults. Magnificent Voyage: An American Adventurer on Captain James Cook's Final Expedition was a VOYA Nonfiction Honor Book called "fascinating" by the New York Times. Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit was named an American Library Association Notable Book and a Best Book for Young Adults. Shadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis won a Golden Kite Honor Award and the Carl Sandburg Award. Ms. Lawlor lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 6, 2012)