The author of The Big Sky makes another significant contribution to the field of novels of the frontiers, in a book that gives enormous vitality to the stereotyped literature of the ""way west"". His story opens in Independence, with the organization of a wagon train; and it follows that train to Oregon and the break up. Familiar pattern here, but as Guthrie handles it, the reader feels himself a part of the agonies of the trail, the areas of boredom, the fears, the tensions, the passions of daily life. There are tragedies and joys, there is birth and death, there is romance and frustration. Each human contact engenders its own train of development, and yet Guthrie holds the threads lightly so that the stories mount to a climax and the interest holds from first page to last. Just as in The Big Sky he gave new significance to the saga of the mountain men, so in The Way West, he gives freshness and vigor to the drama of westward passage. The stark realism, the often unnecessary crudities of the earlier book are absent here, while the strength of the writer is evident in both.