|About the Book|
Home on the Range chronicles the epic drama of the settling and development of the High plains - a lyrical, nostalgic look at our rural past and its endangered future. The High Plains of the United States, where the buffalo once roamed, are beingMoreHome on the Range chronicles the epic drama of the settling and development of the High plains - a lyrical, nostalgic look at our rural past and its endangered future. The High Plains of the United States, where the buffalo once roamed, are being abandoned by many who once lived there, and, as a result, a culture and a way of life are being lost. Silhouetted against the violent dust storms and blizzards that often boil across the vast horizon, grain elevators, water towers, church steeples, and stark, tiny towns look as though they could be swallowed up without a trace. But, James R. Dickenson points out, the poignant irony is that these farms and towns are disappearing not through the ferocity of Mother Nature but due to the progression of technology and changes in life-styles. The railroad, the six-shooter, and barbed wire made the settlement and growth of this region possible, but technological advancements such as irrigation and computerized equipment are having a different effect. Home on the Range examines the past hundred years of life on the High Plains through the prism of the authors own hometown. The history of McDonald, Kansas (population now 200), is the story of hundreds of other Western towns. Its a moving and exciting portrait - including shootouts over land rights, lynchings, the chicanery of land agents, the adventures of bootleggers (Kansas was a dry state until 1948) - but also one of faith and community, with life revolving around the local school and church and the cycle of the harvest. The High Plains residents of today, Dickenson reminds us, are in the same position as their great-grandparents - on the verge of a great change. The question is whether the peopleof this area, who are on a social and economic rather than a physical frontier, can meet the challenge and create a viable society as their forbears did a century ago when they pioneered the vast untracked area once known as the Great American Desert.