WHOLE HOG by David Wagoner


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Effen you don't mind trudgin up hills and down hollows alongsida young fella and his pigs why then you just might find mor'n a smile or two in this here yarn set on the California Trail in 1852. Zeke, his Ma and Pa and their drove of hogs have quit Missouri--the ""land of Muck and Chitlings""--for the Promised Land but they are set upon by marauders who scatter the herd, do away with Ma and Pa and leave Zeke and a few hogs he's grown kinda close to, to fend for theirselves. Zeke is more or less adopted by a wisecracking, insult-trading whiskey-maker named Casper and together they take their exercise eluding the evil Buckskin Man (a three-quarters loco, self-appointed territorial vigilante), and outwitting the confidence gang in these parts. There's a run-in with the Sioux, a romance of sorts for Zeke with a well-worn local gal, and eventually the freedom to ""find his own trouble instead of using somebody else's."" Zeke's observations are delivered kinda sideways. That seems about the best way if you're going to read a story that pokes along about pigs.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1976
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown