"Wyoming" is Book 3 in Dana Fuller Ross' magnificent "Wagons West" series and every bit as exciting and well written as the first two books, "Independence" and "Nebraska." If you are a fan of historical fiction and/or the frontier days in the Wild West, then you will thoroughly enjoy this series of 24 books. (This is a review for the Unabridged version of "Wyoming").
The first wagon train to cross the American continent and forge the Oregon Train reached the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the autumn of 1938. Over 500 weary pioneers considered themselves lucky if they traveled more than 10 miles per day. They found a safe valley in the Wyoming country where they could spend their second winter together before attempting the last leg of their journey to Oregon Territory. They had survived Indian attacks, floods, sabotage, illness and accidents and now had to build temporary housing and forage, prepare and store food for the bitter cold months ahead. If all went well, they would reach their new home by late summer 1839.
This group of farmers, artisans, professional men, merchants, adventure seekers, and their women and children were led by skilled veteran mountainman Whip Holt, and his blood brother, Cherokee warrior Stalking Horse. They were joined in Independence, Missouri by Lieutenant Colonel Lee Blake, the US Army's leading counterintelligence expert. He had been sent by President Martin Van Buren to help protect the wagon train from the British and Russian saboteurs who were determined to destroy it. Both Russia and Great Britain were vying with the US for possession of the Oregon Territory and all its riches.
The group had long since accustomed itself to communal living and almost everyone worked easily together for the benefit of all. They had also been joined by La-Ena, a beautiful Indian woman, half-sister of Stalking Horse who Holt had spent several winters with before leading the wagon train. Dolores, a half Mexican, half Indian woman and seer joined them as did Ginny Dobbs, a woman who had been badly hurt by life. Their stories, mingled with those of characters from the earlier books, greatly enrich the novel. An epidemic of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever struck and many died from this dreaded disease, so some characters are lost also.
The author vividly brings history to life in "Wyoming," as in the other books in the series. And the politics behind the settling of the West are fascinating. As one would expect, the novel is chock-full of adventure, hardship, courage, love, loss, tragedy and triumph. Many details have been taken from actual diaries and journals of early pioneers. Once you start this book you won't be able to stop until you have read all 24 novels. The next one is "Oregon," and deals with the last leg of the trip - reaching Oregon, building new lives and the confrontation between three great powers - the United States, Imperial Russia and Great Britain. Very highly recommended!