This lacks both the dignity and hopelessness of Alan Fry's How a People Die (1970) although this is perhaps the more commercially potent book, forcefed as it is not only by violence but the filthy, whiskey sodden facts of life on an Indian reservation in Montana. Presided over by Everett Sorenson, a Presbyterian minister, a man of good if weak will and (at first only) loved distantly by Jeannie Low Dog, daughter of the Sioux and his unpaid secretary. But then Everett has a wife of his own and two Indian children he has adopted prefatory to the arrival of a child of his own. Then there's Charles, who left an arm behind in Vietnam, drinking steadily until he quits and shows something of the strength of his heritage -- while on the other hand Sammy Knife and Tony, two other degenerate no-good Indians, are certainly better off dead. And after the fire which destroys the minister's family -- Sorenson is seen defeated by the past and an inalienable coalition of the people and the land which leaves some future hope for Jeannie Low and Charles. Mr. Allen is an unexceptional writer but his story is forward-going along with its message -- a concession? -- to outsiders who know nothing about today's newer casualties of ""Sugar Sam.