Sixteen stories, ten edited from previously unpublished manuscripts, provide unromantic views of the American West, observations of urban sophistication and prejudice, and insight into the life and creative work of author/political leader McNickle (1904-77), perhaps the most influential Native American of his era. Editor Hans provides valuable background: McNickle (Wind from an Enemy Sky, 1978) was born of white and Cree Indian descent, adopted into the Salish (Flathead) tribe, and educated to assimilate into white society. After studies at Oxford and travels in Europe, he settled in N.Y.C. by 1927, worked as a professional writer and, reevaluating his Indian identity, began to assert it through his writing, as scholar and as government administrator. These well-crafted stories show white government agents frustrated by Indians who calmly insist on seeing things their own way and people--Indian and white--affected by the movement toward modernity. In ""Meat for God"" (originally published in Esquire), the culturally ambiguous protagonist has lived among Indians for so long that though he's ""all French--he had been a long time forgetting it."" For Montana's white settlers, frontier dreams are crushed by hard realities. The stories set in New York and Paris are least successful but of interest, revealing McNickle's awareness of different prejudices: social snobbery, anti-Semitism, a Yankee publisher's stereotyped notions of the South, etc. Some pieces, related to or drawn from early unpublished drafts of McNickle's classic novel, The Surrounded, reflect the assimilationist vision he later dropped. Sometimes old-fashioned in tone but right in line with the multicultural and debunking thrust of today's New Western History.