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For this Bison Books edition, James Welch, the acclaimed author of Winter in the Blood (1986) and other novels, introduces Mildred Walker's vivid heroine, Ellen Webb, who lives in the dryland wheat country of central Montana during the early 1940s. He writes, "It is a story about growing up, becoming a woman, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, within the space of a year and a half. But what a year and a half it is!" Welch offers a brief biography of Walker, who wrote nine of her thirteen novels while living in Montana.