In October 1860, Noah Ford arrives on the Northern California coast. He has come from Boston to settle the estate of his uncle, Captain Henry Ford, his childhood hero, killed by the accidental discharge of his own pistol. Having thrilled to stories of his uncles’s daring exploits in the west, Noah sets out to gather information for a biographical novel he plans to write. He visits the scenes of Captain Ford’s daily life, particularly the Mendocino Indian Reservation, where Ford spend his final years, in hopes of getting a taste of the frontier life that fired his imagination from afar. Instead he discovers rampant corruption and brutal oppression of the Native people both on and off the reservation. The more Noah learns, the more sinister the story becomes.
Author Robert Winn grew up in Southern California, made his way north, and eventually settled on the Mendocino Coast, where he lived for thirty-four years, teaching history and English at the community college. His idea for this book came to him many years ago when he taught a workshop about the Mendocino Indian Reservation and was appalled by the story of what happened to the indigenous population after white men discovered the giant redwoods in the 1850s. He decided a well-researched historical novel would be the best way to get the story out to the widest possible audience, and after many years of rolling the idea around in his head, he finally got to work on it. To his great satisfaction, he finished it shortly before his death in 2018.