The reality of frontier life in Kansas in 1872 becomes brutally clear to twelve-year-old Coady McIlvain when his father is scalped by hostile Indians and Coady is taken prisoner. Coady is determined to escape and does, falling in with buffalo sharpshooter Dylan Griffith, whom he sees as the embodiment of his hero, Buffalo Bill Cody-a role in which the circumspect Griffith feels himself totally inadequate. The two face real adventure surviving the unforgiving terrain, with Coady's former captors on their trail and the outlaw Comancheros up ahead. In The Big Fifty-another name for the famous Sharps rifle-Johnny D. Boggs has created a gripping Western story balancing the myths and legends created by Eastern storytellers with the actual, often brutal realities of frontier life.
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