Jim Fergus is a journalist and the author of A Hunter's Road, a memoir and One Thousand White Women, a novel and word-of-mouth bestseller in America. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines and newspapers in America. He lives in Montana and South Arizona.
Photograph Â© copyright Mari Tudisco
In 1930s Mexico a wealthy Mexican rancher's child has been captured by a rogue Apache Indian troop. Passions run high when a hastily formed 'Great Apache Expedition' sets off to retrieve the child and is delivered a captured Apache girl. Although wild and close to death, the girl is seen as an ideal ransom to demand the release of the Mexican boy and so the motley collection of American adventures and war veterans, Mexican soldiers and westernized Apache scouts sets off into the Mexican wilderness. We follow the story from the perspective of photographer to the expedition, Ned Giles, who unwittingly stumbles into a harrowing adventure deep into Apache country.
9 March 1876 - My name is Meggie Kelly and I take up this pencil with my twin sister, Susie. We have nothing left, less than nothing. The village of our People has been destroyed. Empty of human feeling, half dead ourselves, all that remains of us intact are hearts turned to stone. We curse the U.S. government, we curse the Army, we curse the savagery of mankind, white and Indian alike. We curse God in his heaven. Do not underestimate the power of a mother's vengeance... So begins the journal of Margaret Kelly, a woman who participated in the government's 'Brides for Indians' program in 1873, a program whose conceit was that the way to peace between the United States and the Cheyenne Nation was for One Thousand White Women to be given as brides in exchange for three hundred horses. Mostly fallen women, the brides themselves thought it was simply a chance at freedom. But many fell in love with the Cheyennes spouses and had children with them...and became Cheyenne themselves. THE VENGEANCE OF MOTHERS explores what happens to the bonds between wives and husbands, children and mothers, when society sees them as 'unspeakable.' Jim Fergus brings to light a time and place and fills it with unforgettable characters who live and breathe with a passion we can relate to even today.
One Thousand White Women begins with May Dodd's journey west into the unknown. A government program in which women are brought west as brides for the Cheyenne, is her vehicle. What follows is the story of May's adventures: her marriage to Little Wolf, chief of the Cheyenne nation, and her conflict of being caught between two worlds, loving two men, living two lives. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
When Ned Giles is orphaned as a teenager, he heads West, hoping to leave his troubles behind by joining the 1932 Great Apache Expedition on their search for the young son of a wealthy Mexican landowner who was kidnapped by wild Apaches. But the expedition's goal becomes compromised when they encounter a wild Apache girl in a Mexican jail cell, victim of a Mexican massacre of her tribe that has left her orphaned and unwilling to eat or speak. Ned's growing feelings for the troubled girl soon force him to choose allegiances and make a decision that will haunt him forever. Based on historical fact, Jim Fergus takes listeners on a journey of magnificent sweep and heartbreaking consequence.
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the US government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial Brides for Indians program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Author Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
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