The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier

Synopsis

Originally published in 1941, The Last Frontier is the story of the Cheyenne Indians in the 1870s, and their bitter struggle to flee from the Indian Territory in Oklahoma back to their home in Wyoming and Montana. Some 300 Indians, led by Little Wolf, fought against General Crook and 10,000 troops, with only 60 finally making it through to freedom. Fast extensively researched this book in the late 1930s, visiting and speaking with Cheyenne experts in Norman, Oklahoma. This was the first of Fast's many books to gain a wide popular audience; it was eventually made by John Ford into the classic film Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

Excerpt

It seems an eternity ago, and I suppose it is, a small eternity, when my wife and I went out west to seek out the facts about the Cheyennes' flight north from their reservation in Oklahoma to their old hunting grounds in the Black Hills. I had read a paragraph or two about this incredible trek in Struthers Burt's book on the Powder River Country. That was in 1939. We had been married two years -- both of us kids in our early twenties.

We had never been to the West before. I suppose you could say we had never been anywhere much before. I was making a bare living as a writer -- very bare in those depression days. We owned a 1931 Ford that we had bought for forty dollars, but it did not seem capable of a long trip, so we traded it in for twenty dollars and bought a 1933 Pontiac for seventy-five dollars. It was a great car, and we drove it some five thousand miles through the West. We covered the territory the Cheyennes did, the story I tell in this book. We spoke with some old Cheyennes who had taken part in the flight. At the University of Oklahoma, in Norman, where we lived for a while, we spoke to young Cheyenne and Arapaho students who had . . .

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