The Epic Tale of a Young Man's Struggle to Survive a Journey Across America
Blamed for the death of his mother, left behind when his father departed for the 1848 California gold rush, and threatened with being locked in a cage with his stepmother's psychotic brother, eight-year-old Benjamin Franklin "B. F." Windes decides to leave his Indiana home and retrace his father's path across the country in the hopes of finding him. Thus begins a decades-long saga of hardships, disease, severe weather, Indian attacks, solitude, and sudden death on his journey across much of what will become the United States.
Arriving in California, B. F. spends the next eleven years in booming gold-rush towns, first as a barber, then as a physician's assistant, before departing for the Caribbean at age nineteen, where he becomes a blockade-runner during the American Civil War. At war's end, he discovers that the men he had been dealing with were nothing more than common murderers and thieves--bushwhackers. At war's end, B. F. travels to the Missouri Ozarks, where he meets the girl of his dreams. But their romance is threatened when he finds himself battling a man from his past in order to safeguard his family and his future. Orphan Hero
, based on the life of the author's great-grandfather in the mid-nineteenth century, is a moving tale of courage and perseverance in the face of incredible hardship.