When a landslide and an unprecedented snowstorm co-operate in blocking up the main exit from a small, sparsely inhabited, Western valley, and a band of Shoshone Indians go on the warpath at the same time, something is bound to happen. If you add to this a beautiful young Eastern girl who has strayed into the valley in search of a missing uncle, and her feud with “Laughing Lew” Wheeler, known to the Indians as “Black Thunder”, you have all the ingredients of a first-class story.
There is action from the moment Arlea Owen is saved by the residents of Whiskey Flat, through the timely shooting of Wa-Hi, the Fox, to the end of the siege of the town. When the Shoshones, goaded into desperation on Christmas night by their famine and the sight of the feasting in Whiskey Flat, steal the horses of the W Bar cowboys, and are discovered gorging themselves on the horseflesh, grim, determined war rages until, through a clever ruse, and the Indians’ inherent superstition, they are driven from the valley.
It is a realistic, gripping novel of the early days in Nevada, alternating humor with pathos, and done by one who knows the West through and through.