So continues my reviews of Into the West! I’m excited! 😉 This next episode is called Dreams & Schemes, and I must say that it was just as good as the first two!
The story continues with Jethro and Thunder Heart Woman. Believing that Jacob was dead, these two married and have had a little daughter. The recent discovery that Jacob is alive has been eating at them both. Jethro knows he’s not his brother, but he thinks he can be. This puts a tension in the entire household. To top it off, Thunder Heart Woman and Jacob’s daughter, Margaret Light Shines, has decided that she is going to find her father. She has gone off to San Francisco in the hopes of discovering where her father might be living now.
But there are troubles at home. The California gold rush has reached the ears of Jethro Wheeler. Catching gold fever, he goes off to the river to start panning. With big dreams for his family, he hopes to strike it big and prove to his family that he too can provide like Jacob. What Jethro doesn’t realize, and what Thunder Heart Woman knows, is that Jacob wouldn’t care about such things. Jethro isn’t convinced of that.
In the meantime, Margaret is still looking for her father. When some soldiers come through San Francisco, she decides that that’s her best bet. She goes off looking at the soldier’s camp. When an officer tells her that he knows a Jacob Wheeler, Margaret’s hope is ignited. But then she discovers that it was a trick. Desperate now to escape the man’s evil schemes against her, Margaret tries to run…and is saved by the handsome English photographer, Ethan Biggs.
Jethro’s lust for gold is tearing his family apart. Abraham High Wolf, Thunder Heart Woman and Jacob’s son, despises his Uncle Jethro and, after a night of sudden rage in which Jehtro strikes him, Abe decides that it’s time to leave. With the blessing of his mother, Abe rides off into the sunrise, and never returns.
Meanwhile, at Fort Laramie, a treaty is signed by the white men and Indians. Among the men there are Thunder Heart Woman’s brothers, Dog Star and Running Fox. The treaty is signed, and the hope for peace between the Indian and white men fill their hearts. They didn’t know then that that hope would be shattered.
Jethro has been joined by his cousin, David Wheeler. Together they dig and pan for gold. The fever has infected both of their minds, and they even chase a group of Chinese men away from the river, stealing their claim. Then, it would seem, that all their hard work pays off when David and Jethro uncover a huge nugget of gold. But greed doesn’t have its limits.
Below are spoilers!
David runs off with the nugget when Jethro announces that he will only allow David to have a third of the findings. Jethro wakes in the early hours of the morning to find David and the nugget gone. Taking up his rifle, he runs out of the house, waking Thunder Heart Woman. The two men fight to the death for the nugget and it would seem for a moment that Jethro is the one who loses. But in the end, they both lose, as David too drowns in the river after falling out of his canoe.
Thunder Heart Woman is once again alone in the world, but this time she has a family to support. Taking what she has, she sets up a kitchen in her front yard, feeds the miners and they pay her with gold or cash.
Margaret and Ethan Biggs have fallen in love and married. Working together in Ethan’s shop, Margaret still holds hope that she will find her father. Then, when a friend comes and tells her that a trapper in the mountains fixed a wheel for some settlers. Margaret and Ethan set out to find the trappers camp. Coming upon a small cabin, Margaret is finally reunited with her father.
Jacob finds his way back to the house that Jethro built for Thunder Heart Woman and their family. Jacob is finally restored to his family, something he thought would never happen.
But, in the meantime, things are not so beautiful for Thunder Heart Woman’s people. The treaty of Fort Laramie has been broken, the chief Conquering Bear killed and villages are being destroyed by the white men. Loved by the Buffalo, Thunder Heart Woman’s brother, had had visions of such things from a young age.
These people have already seen so much tragedy…but sadly this was only the beginning of their destruction.
A few years later, we are introduced to another Wheeler family. Samson and Susannah Wheeler moved to Lawrence, Kansas with their two sons and their adopted daughter, Clara. But sadly, Lawrence would prove to be a horrible memory for Clara Wheeler when Quantrill’s Raiders would come in and destroy the town…and almost all the people living there.
This third episode was amazing! Just like the first two. The fate of each and every one of these people, the Lakota tribe and Wheeler’s, intertwine. But the question is…will Thunder Heart Woman’s family survive the terrible massacres yet to come?
Coming Soon: She’s a doctor with faith and hope that acceptance will come her way in this new town. He’s a blacksmith who doesn’t really approve of a woman doctor. Will these two people put aside their differences and discover the values that they each possess? Look for my review of That Certain Spark, by Cathy Marie Hake, soon!!