"GOODBYE, BUFFALO SKY" by John Loveday


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A beautiful Mandan slave married to a white painter is widowed, harassed, and driven out of town in this crude, overstuffed, stunningly insensitive western. After Long Shadow, a menacing former suitor, tracks her to the small pioneer town of Buffalo Sky and kills her husband, Two Songs moves into Mama Eldo's boarding house and then escapes to her Sioux encampment following Long Shadow's sporadic fire-arrow attacks, local residents' open hostility, and an attempted rape. Her young companions, Cappy and Alice, narrate in alternating passages, which are fortunately labeled, since there is no perceptible difference in their voices. While watching such rustic amusements as a man who bites off rat tails, Alice and Two Songs are kidnapped by Long Shadow, but escape when he is, quite by chance, killed. When the travelers arrive at the camp, the chief feeds them his favorite dog, offers them whiskey, and, conveniently, invites the former slave to stay as his wives' guest. Cappy and Alice make their way back to Buffalo Sky, only to find it burned by raiders, its survivors fled--an abrupt ending that leaves the main story and several subplots dangling. Loveday wavers between a serious and a comic tone in his loosely plotted tale, thereby trivializing much of Two Songs' experience with farcical elements.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 165pp
Publisher: McElderry