An aging itinerant newsreader agrees to return a young girl freed from her Kiowa captives to her living relatives in Texas. The time is after the Civil War, and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes his living by reading the news in public assemblies. Johanna, the young girl, really doesn’t want to be returned. She has become Kiowa in her language, manners and attitudes.
Over the 400-mile journey and through their adventures, Johanna and the Kep-dun, as she calls him, form a deep bond. There is so much in this spare novel: the descriptions of the Texas landscape, the political and social unrest of the times, race relations with Indians and African Americans, how the speed of information forms opinion, how child captives formed deep affinity for their Indian captors. Beautiful, readable and powerful.