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The Jump-Off Creek

The Jump-Off Creek cover image

Lydia Bennett Sanderson is a hardship-honed widow homesteading in the backcountry of Oregon in 1895. Her neighbors are few: Tim and Blue are a couple of men trying to make a go of it on their small hardscrabble ranch. Evelyn Walker is a young, lonely wife rearing her children in daunting isolation. And a trio of rootless cowboys take up squatters rights in the mountains, and begins killing and baiting cattle to poison wolves for the bounty. While Lydia toils into the summer, building fence, digging ditches, repairing her sorry little homestead cabin, Tim and Blue engage in a deadly spoilers game with the wolvers. One of the rootless losers is dangerous, and Tim finds revenge a sour need. As the months pass, there is good and ill fortune, the exchange of fair-and-square favors, and, at the close, a long road back from trial and grief.

"A powerful novel of struggle and loss." —Dallas Morning News

"A rare treat to find characters we can care about this much." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"A classic of its kind." —Los Angeles Times

The Jump-Off Creek was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, as well as winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award and the Oregon Book Award.

Reader's guide

Houghton Mifflin, 2005, 1989

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