Savage Country (Hardcover)
With a simple, lyrical writing style that sits somewhere between Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy, Savage Country tells the story of Elizabeth Coughlin, a determined woman left crippled by debt following the unexpected death of her foolhardy husband. In an act of desperation, Elizabeth enlists her husband’s mysterious brother to lead a buffalo hunt – which was a common, and exceedingly dangerous, get-rich-quick scheme in the years following the Civil War. Olmstead is one of the most under-the-radar American authors – if you’ve never read him before, do yourself a favor and start with this big, beautiful, often bloody adventure.— Brian
"Robert Olmstead gets better with every book. If you know all of his previous books, you know how startling this fact is, and how startlingly good this writer is." ─Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
In September 1873, Elizabeth Coughlin, a widow bankrupted by her husband's folly and death, embarks on a buffalo hunt with her estranged and mysterious brother-in-law, Michael. With no money, no family, no job or security, she hopes to salvage something of her former life and the lives of the hired men and their families who depend on her. The buffalo hunt that her husband had planned, she now realizes, was his last hope for saving their land.
Elizabeth and Michael plunge south across the aptly named Deadline demarcating Indian Territory from their home state, Kansas. Nothing could have prepared them for the dangers: rattlesnakes, rabies, wildfire, lightning strikes, blue northers, flash floods, threats to life in so many ways. They're on borrowed time: the Comanche are in winter quarters, and the cruel work of slaughtering the buffalo is unraveling their souls. They must get back alive.
This is a gripping narrative of that infamous hunt, which drove the buffalo population to near extinction--the story of a moment in our history in which mass destruction of an animal population was seen as the only route to economic solvency. But it's also the intimate story of how that hunt changed Michael and Elizabeth forever.