A vital backdrop, complete with cast of characters, but not fully realised as a novel. Nonetheless, a real contribution of the saga of our southwest, in a story of a Spanish land grant, known in history as the Maxwell Land Grant, fictionized here under the Ballard Land Grant. The story of the romance between the romantic drifter, Jean Ballard, mountain man and trader, and the lovely, guarded Mexican beauty, Consuelo de Coronel, of the trick by which they forced the family's consent to marriage, of the achievement of a dream in the vast wilderness of the grant. Then the story jumps the gap to the end of Ballard's reign -- his death and the little civil war that split the valley asunder, and of the men who emerged as prime factors:- Major Blore who manoeuvred the deal. Clay Tighe, who brought peace to the land, Daniel Laird who tried- and failed- and found himself again on the other side of the mountains. Several stories are here- but one feels, somehow, cheated of the integration into a whole.