In this third installment in the Desert Legends trilogy, young Jim Doolen is a scout for the 10th U.S. Cavalry as they track down Apache leader Victorio, who has fled with his people from the reservation to their home in the Black Range. The Apaches are fierce fighters, and the Buffalo soldiers take heavy casualties as they are drawn deeper and deeper into the canyons of the Black Range. Jim is hesitant in battle, uncomfortable with his weapons, and is captured by his old enemy Ghost Moon. His life is only spared when his friend Wellington, also riding with Victorio’s Apaches, adopts Jim as his son. Now, as the war reaches a turning point, he must fight against the Buffalo soldiers he’d grown close to. With the Apaches desperate and on the run, Jim must fight for survival, while staying true to his heart.
It was an excellent choice to put a fictional character on both sides of this brutal conflict. Jim, level-headed and peaceable, is able to see the good in both the Buffalo soldiers and in Victorio’s band of Apaches. Through his point of view, we get a relatively unbiased account of the historical events, while staying close enough to the action to keep it vivid. A strong, well-researched ending to this trilogy.