"THE heart of the cattle country at Red Fork Ranch on the Chisholm Trail" is the locale of this absolutely fresh, vigorous and entertaining story of cowboys and Indians in the Southwest of the 1880's. Far from being of purely juvenile interest it has an historical value all the more welcome because of the authentic perspective it furnishes of the lives of our western forefathers, and the vast movements of humanity from east to west following the Civil War. Those who cherish memories of the true West and are surfeited with the false and discordant atmosphere shed by cheap novels and moving pictures will find refreshment, instruction, and entertainment in Mr. Collins' attractively illustrated work. If such praise sound profuse, the reviewer merely wishes to point out that Hamlin Garland, certainly an authority on the subject, is of the same opinion. In fact, he is even more enthusiastic being a true lover of the country described, and in his foreword tells the reader about Mr. Collins' qualifications to write on the subject.
The author went to his brother's cattle ranch on the bank of a river in Oklahoma territory at the age of ten. He made the acquaintance of cow-boys. Indians, and bandits, and at the age of nineteen served as a cow-boy himself on the range in New Mexico and Colorado. He tells about his picturesque life in the most human and likeable fashion, and his West is even more exciting than that of flashy novels and photoplays because it has the convincing spirit of reality and historical correctness. Mr. Collins' plea for authentic portrayal of conditions and life in those lusty days is a commendable one, and by carrying out his own precepts he has enriched our literature of the West of by-gone days. For the West he is describing is no more. One recognizes the fact with a certain sadness, intensified by the author's realistic setting forth of the attractiveness of the life, place, and pioneer constructiveness of the country he knew.
As has been suggested, the charm of the book lies largely in author's pleasant narrative style, his genial humor, and the thin veil of sentiment in evidence. His descriptions of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians are features of the work which is probably a great deal more profitable reading than most contemporaneous novels.