....Not as good reading as The Long Rifle and Ranchero, with which titles it belongs, in that it continues the story of Andy Burnett. Californians, familiar with the intricacies of their own checkered history, when the fate of California hung by a thread, will probably find the concentration on the political and social and economic factors determining the situation in the years before the discovery of gold, of vital interest. For other readers, it slows up the plot. But -- as an integral part of the series, it should be read, so your market is readymade. Fremont, bearing the earmarks of a filibuster, Kit Carson, scout, Larkin, worried representative of the government in Washington, stationed in Monterey, Captain Sutter of Sutter's Fort -- these are a few of the characters seen through its pages.