Frontier and Pioneer Life


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Can you imagine life without the comforts of heating or cooling devices, convenience stores, refrigerators and stoves? Here are a few stories that can give you a taste of what it was like to live in the United States during the days of the pioneers.

The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie.
Young Boone Caudill from Kentucky heads west after trying to kill his abusive father. Depicting the brutality and the squalor of life in the American West between 1830 and 1843, Guthrie tells the story of the mountain men who penetrated the wilderness and developed it, spoiling a paradise in the process. American West series, book 1. RC 37502, BR 14920.

Cimarron by Edna Ferber.
Oklahoma during the great land rush of 1889 is the background for the story of Yancey Cravat, dreamer, adventurer, and gunman, and his wife Sabra, who makes herself into a sturdy pioneer woman and eventually a member of Congress. RC 35647.

Frontier Lady by Judith Pella.
Deborah grows up in Virginia, but the Civil War takes a toll on her family and friends, and so she joins the Stoners, distant relatives, in Texas. She is supposed to marry Leonard Stoner, a young man set to inherit a fortune. Deborah ignores the warnings of her friends who advise her to flee Texas at her first chance, and now she stands accused of murder. Lone Star Legacy series, book 1. RC 41788.

Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie by O.E. Rolvaag.
A realistic novel about the American pioneer experience. To Per Hansa, the struggle to tame the Dakota prairie means life and freedom. But for his beloved wife, their isolated existence is a nightmare of loneliness, terror, and despair. RC 22285, BR 6205.

The Kentuckians by Janice Holt Giles.
David Cooper, a spirited young settler on the Kentucky frontier, fights for his life, his land, and the woman he loves. Cooper and Fowler Families series, book 1. RC 12244.

Let the Hurricane Roar by Rose Wilder Lane.
A short novel of frontier life in the Dakotas and the young couple who face the stern realities of crop failure, winter storms, separation, and loneliness with a staunch courage and steadfastness. RC 27780, BR 122.

O Pioneers by Willa Cather.
Hanover, Nebraska. Since her Swedish father’s early death, Alexandra Bergson has been in charge of the homestead as well as her younger brothers. Their fortunes rise and fall with the weather and the crops. Under Alexandra’s guidance, the family eventually prospers. In middle age, when her old flame, Carl Linstrum, returns to Hanover, Alexandra has a chance for personal happiness. RC 47646.

Spring Came on Forever by Bess Streeter Aldrich.
Depicts the lives of two German-American pioneer families who come to Nebraska in covered wagons. RC 26690.

The Trees by Conrad Richter.
Story of the Lucketts, the first family to cross the river into southern Ohio toward the close of the eighteenth century, a time when land west of the Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River was virgin forest. In this first volume of the Awakening Land trilogy, the tall trees of the title shape the various destinies of this frontier family. Awakening Land series, book 1. RC 38653.

The U.P. Trail by Zane Grey.
Depicts the heroic struggle and perseverance involved in the construction and completion of the Union Pacific Railroad. Some strong language. RC 43652.

Western: A Saga of the Great Plains by Frank Yerby.
After the Civil War, Ethan Lovejoy travels to Kansas with his new wife to become a homesteader. After many years he becomes a successful landowner, but the brutal frontier life exacts a horrible payment from him and his loved ones. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 18623.

Winter Harvest by Norah Lofts.
Novel of the American West, inspired by the gruesome ordeal of the Donner party in 1846. Relates the story of two men and two women who for compelling personal reasons seek a new life in California but they become trapped in a high mountain pass where they face slow starvation. RC 21668.