There may be too much outspoken nex in this for Haycox' wide audience but those who admire his capable handling of personality conflicts against a noteworthy period, regional and historical background may not cavil at his realism in male and female relations. From the last hardships of the trail to Oregon, his handful of pioneers make their way to their goal and their lives and interlocking interests make up the story. Surnett, torn between Edsa and Kathy, Lockyea, untamable and bringing disaster by his uncontrolled passions, Dr. Whitcomb who in able to turn an affaire into a happy marriage, Lot White whose religion is too small for the larger needs of his neighbors, Old Daniel, Old Daniel, grasping even to his son's sons, Nillard and his wife at odds and yet at one -- all these, and more, are each separate and still united for the good of the community. Through their combined efforts the roof poles are raised, the houses built, the lands plowed, threats of Indian attack repulsed, even U.S. government agents are refused aid, and individual crises are met for the communal good. It is Lockyear's turbulent passion, turned to murder, which makes Burnett his nemesis and which resolves Burnett's choice of women. An earthy pinpointing of the grim venture of existence, the hazards of a small, divergent group against the hard won land, give this guts and virility -- perhaps not for the conservative.