Get Along, Little Dogies: The Chisholm Trail Diary of Hallie Lou Wells
Hallie, a rancher’s daughter in 1878 Texas, thinks it’s unfair that only boys are allowed to go on cattle drives. But a family emergency means Hallie’s father changes his mind and sends her in his place. Hallie and her maid and friend, Dovey Mae, experience rattlesnakes in their bedrolls, dust, heat, and illness. Romance enlivens the journey, when it becomes clear that a young cowboy seems to like Hallie. But when Jeb gets bitten by a rattlesnake, will the end of the trail be reached in safety?
Supplemental material explains the history of the Chisholm Trail and women’s experiences on cattle drives, and presents several pages of interesting photographs. But I question whether a frontier family would own a Siamese cat at a time when they were only just being introduced into the U.S. via a gift to the President’s family. I found it hard to care about the main characters or the cardboard villain. The ending is abrupt, and the book feels unfinished as a result. This first volume of the Lone Star Journals series is not a bad introduction for young readers to the setting and period, but the characters aren’t very compelling.