The author of Prairie Songs (1985) tells the true story of one of its prominently featured characters--the photographer whose work provided a context for the book's often tragic events. Inspired by Butcher's photos, Conrad relates the history of this wandering soul whose life work, a photographic history of Nebraska's Custer County, was almost lost by accident. Stories that Butcher collected are interspersed throughout the text. The well-reproduced photos are the best feature here; Conrad's chatty prose is uneven, and her retellings of Butcher's stories are often stiff, while the book as a whole seems disorganized, driven by the photos with the historical background tucked in. Still, the portrait of a man who succeeded in spite of himself is amusing. Useful as historical and literary background.