Author: Chuck Breuer
ISBN 1-55313-084-7 (hardcover)
Carl Steiger is orphaned at about the age of ten after spending his early life in an isolated ranch in the Big Thicket country of East Texas. His father, Gustav (a German immigrant), and his mother, Little Hands (a member of the dwindling Alabama Indian tribe), are killed by renegades. The raiders burn the Steiger homestead and steal all the stock on the ranch, including Steiger's favorite - a Palomino foal with three white stockings.
The fiercely independent boy takes to the trails as a young Indian might and is later befriended and adopted by Jed Barrette. Steiger learns the horse whisperer's trade from Barrette and the pair sells horses to the US Army. When the Civil War begins, Steiger joins the Union Cavalry. He survives the terrors of war only to return to his home and find his birthright in the form of his father's ranch, has been sold for back taxes to a land grabbing timber company.
Steiger wins back his inheritance with the help of friends and the love of a hardy frontier girl but does so thinking the owners of the timber company are his enemies. During the struggle to regain his ranch, Steiger conceals by omission that he was a veteran of the US Army and not a former Confederate. This fact and a startling series of events involving his adoptive father, Jed Barrette, combine to create a surprise ending which results in a resoundingly satisfactory resolution of all his conflicts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Although he has enjoyed several brief sojourns in Texas, Chuck Breuer (otherwise known as Charles. E. Breuer, Ph.D.) admits to being an "Eastern Cowboy". He did, however, spend several school terms and several summers on the ancestral lands of his Great Grandfather, where a small herd of shorthorns and a large section of tobacco were king.
The fecund smells of cattle, horses and growing plants are still with him today since he now lives in Edgefield County, South Carolina. Edgefield District is the birthplace of another perhaps better-known Eastern Cowboy, Jim Travis, who was originally from South Carolina also! All Texicans will remember him as one of the gallant defenders of...the ALAMO!
Breuer resides in a hundred-year-old farmhouse (that was the last home of a Confederate Veteran) with his wife Ann Williams Breuer and a lop-eared dog named Jacob Pigpen Muddyfoots, the Third, who answers to the foreshortened name of JAKE.
Oddly, the author's maternal great-grandfather was a physician during the War Between the States. But, like Steiger, the protagonist of this piece, Breuer's great grandfather was with Sherman on his march to Atlanta! The elder sire chose to remain in South Carolina after the war. Thus, Chuck Breuer was destined to be born in the Palmetto State. Breuer's great uncle Wilhelm Breuer, however, was a Confederate soldier in the German Artillery of Charleston, SC.
Finally, the brass hilt of the sword seen on the cover was actually brought back from an unknown battlefield by Ann's Grandfather and bore the mark of a Philadelphia cutler.
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