"The Lucky D was set in rolling grasslands, studded with clumps of ponderosa pines, aspen, and bur oak."

David Epstein, his wife Rebecca, and their two children, Deborah and Daniel, are excited to be embarking on a trip to the South Dakota farm of the Josif Dacia family. As a reporter for The New York Times, David is given the assignment to document their journey west in return for his family’s passage. As they also plan to attend the wedding of Fritz Wagner and Flora Doyle, they join members of the wedding party at the Dacia’s en route to the wedding and Fourth of July rodeo in Wyoming. Fritz’s brother August, a singer-songwriter of some fame, has a job singing at the Corn Palace, and the group stops along the way to watch his performance. Unfortunately, things don’t go smoothly as backup singers Floyd and Trixie DeLaney turn out to be big trouble for August. Also, an old enemy of the bride’s shows up as an unexpected guest.

This tale of the still-wild West is an intricate story with many characters whose stories intertwine. The inclusion of a New York family into a sometimes rough and rowdy environment is an interesting twist. David learning to lasso and taking hints on how to acclimate from Will Rogers is an interesting element in the storyline. Dann does a good job of capturing the childlike delight of experiencing nature for the first time in the scene of Rebecca catching her first fish while on a picnic. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is the presence of August’s songs. Country songs about everyday life are a staple of cowboys and farmers, and the inclusion of their lyrics lends an authentic touch. This tale hooks readers with its interesting characters and its details about early twentieth-century western life.

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