local to local
Guthrie had to say about men at the end of the Oregon Trail faced with a steak dinner rather than fish from the Columbia. “The promise of a mere change in diet lifted all the spirits. Small as it was on any scale, why shouldn’t it? Men lived by the little things, not the big.” The promise of a deep-fat fried meatball, some Indian flat bread, and the whirl of a carnival ride.
Fair Land, Fair Land. He published this book over 30 years after Big Sky and The Way West, inserting it into the middle of his Western sequence. Perhaps he felt he’d left Dick Summers, the mountain man/Oregon trail guide, hanging after reaching the Oregon territory and turning his eyes back to the Great Plains. I was happy at the prospect of knowing what happened to Summers, even though I guessed it wouldn’t end well. Of course it didn’t. He was labeled a “turn-coat” with his squaw wife and half-breed children and that was the end of him. But worse was his experiencing the inch-by-inch loss of the land he loved to an idea of “progress.”