All Together in One Place

Written by Jane Kirkpatrick
Review by Don E. Hill

In 1852, young wife Madison Bacon, called Mazy, is taken from her Wisconsin home by her mother and husband and thrust onto the Oregon Trail heading west. Torn between safety and her husband’s dream of a dairy farm, she follows his dream. They meet six other families at the first river crossing and join them on the journey. Each of the six wagons holds a story as well as the belongings and dreams of each group. The trail exacts its price, and soon there are only eleven women left to continue or turn back. Mazy turns back and the others follow, but tragedy strikes, and they all resolve to turn again westward.

Within the wagons are a blind woman raising a toddler, a marriage broker delivering Oriental brides to the mining camps, a businesswoman with three children, a horsewoman who is running from a mentally deranged husband, and a family from Mazy’s home town seeking to protect their daughter. All of their stories intertwine. The women experience tragedy, happiness, and faith, plus many other aspects of life on the trail. This novel, based on a historical incident, is a very good read.