This long odyssey of one white man in the mid-19th century West focuses on the sinking fortunes of the indigenous Indians; it's all well intentioned but historically out of sync. One hearty pioneer woman who opens her discourse with ""Shoot!"" counsels well beyond her time: ""Now you're feelin' guilty again . . . maybe you and Alec should really talk. . . ."" Blake Westfall, raised by hard-shell grandparents, whose restless search for certainties comes to naught, is rescued from death in Oregon territory by Indians of the Medicine People. He becomes a blood member of the tribe, marries an Indian girl, sires a son. While the West opens up to trappers, traders and missionaries, then homesteaders, prospectors and worst of all, the Army--Blake becomes the careful inhabitant of both white and Indian worlds, bitter and alone after his wife is killed in a raid. He copes and marries again but most of his problems center around facing down the hatreds and injustices accorded Indians by whites. Agreeable enough but the story's overlong and the talk is overmuch.