On the Great Plains, boys nearing manhood have to grow up tough even if their hearts are tender. In this collection of stories based on true events from his boyhood, Gary Reiswig leads others back to the time when the last homesteaders—like his own family—arrived in the Oklahoma Panhandle to claim their pot of gold in the great land rush, the last westward thrust of Manifest Destiny.
A farm boy learns to drive a tractor when he’s nine, castrate and dehorn calves at twelve. After his father points out old trails, the boy realizes that Native Americans hunted buffalo on the very land his family owns and has fenced, where they now pasture their cattle. 2 A strong-headed boy attends a box supper with his parents, and unwittingly helps a tobacco-chewing neighbor, despised by his mother, recognize her box so he can buy it. 2 A boy, small for his age, discovers unexpected danger when he visits the Grand Canyon and hikes the Bright Angel Trail. 2 A beloved uncle heads to Korea to fight in the war leaving his nephew to care for his two-door hardtop. No one has any idea how drastically this separation will alter their relationship.
The stories in Land Rush provide an unforgettable glimpse into the time and place where only the strongest survived and a handshake sealed the deal.
“Gary Reiswig’s strong, unsentimental voice carries us to a time—the fifties—and a place—the Oklahoma Panhandle—that is at once exotic and home with its hard, wounded, beautifully evoked mothers, fathers, and sons trying to survive one another’s love.”
—Robert Lipsyte, author of The Accidental Sportswriter and The Contender