Veteran Western romance writer Bittner's hardcover debut—a historical saga set against the American frontier. Wealthy Chicago shipping magnate Bo Landers dreams of building the first transcontinental railroad; to that end, he organizes a surveying expedition across the plains that includes his beautiful daughter Sunny, 15, and Colt Travis, a handsome young drifter hired as a scout. There is an immediate attraction between the two, but Bo nips blossoming romance in the bud by pointing out the differences in their social stations: Sunny, the heiress to a vast fortune; Colt, the penniless half-Indian nomad. When the scouting party reaches Fort Laramie—somewhat the worse for their brush with a buffalo stampede and a band of ruthless buffalo hunters—Colt regretfully bids Sunny goodbye. Years pass; Colt marries and settles down, only to lose wife and son in a brutal Indian raid. Bo Landers dies, and Sunny continues her father's work on the railroad. Seeing her name in the newspaper fills Colt with nostalgia, and he writes to her. Thus the romance begins afresh, this time impeded by a series of highly contrived obstacles, including Sunny's evil older brother Vince, and Blaine O'Brien, the rich, socially appropriate man she ought to marry. But Sunny and Colt do have a passionate night together; nine months later she gives birth to a boy with Colt's dark hair and hazel eyes. Sunny's husband confronts her with the infidelity, savagely beats her, and then departs for a hunting trip to Africa. En route, he dies in a shipwreck; Sunny is now free to reveal her son's true patrimony. Eventually, Colt and Sunny are reunited, and the great transcontinental railroad is completed. Despite the apparent care taken with historical detail, a tired romance filled with long, expository passages posing as dialogue, and flimsy, two-dimensional characters.
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