A short novel that won the Spur Award as the best western of the year 1961. Honyocker
is the term of derision applied to farmers by cattle ranchers in Montana. The novel
is about the tension and prejudice between these two groups and how it warps
perceptions on both sides and escalates to hatred and violence. The hero is a young
man caught in the middle. He is a Honyocker who goes to work for a cattle rancher
to work off a debt created by his no-good brothers when they were caught butchering
one of the rancher’s cows. By working for a rancher he came to be regarded as a
turncoat by other farmers, and his girlfriend’s father forbade him to see her.
The book contains information on the poor soil and inappropriateness of the farming
techniques used by the honyockers and the harshness of the climate and the prairie
fires that make it perilous to even raise cattle here. The writing is good except for
the first page.
Year Read: 2007
Libertarian Essays by Roy Halliday
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