One Thousand White Women is a widely celebrated debut novel that will appeal equally to students of American history and historical fiction. Here is the story of one May Dodd, who in 1875—under the auspices of the U.S. government—led a colorful assembly of pioneer women westward to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the Grant administration, was intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world.
This novel approaches that telling yet little-remembered chapter of American history in a "splendid, fresh, engaging, [and] strikingly original" manner (Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall). Throughout the book, Fergus "is gifted in his ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of women. He writes with tremendous insight and sensitivity about the individual community [of would-be brides] and the political and religious issues of the time, many of which are still relevant today. This book is artistically rendered with meticulous attention to small details that bring to life the daily concerns of a group of hardy souls at a pivotal time in U.S. history" (Booklist).
"A most impressive novel that melds the physical world to the spiritual. One Thousand White Women is engaging, entertaining, well-written, and well-told. It will be widely read for a long time, as will the rest of Jim Fergus's work."—Rick Bass, author of Where the Sea Used to Be
"Jim Fergus knows his country in a way that's evocative of Dee Brown and all the other great writers of the American West and its native peoples. But One Thousand White Women is more than a chronicle of the Old West. It's a superb tale of sorrow, suspense, exultation, and triumph that leaves the reader waiting to turn the next page and then wonderfully wrung out at the end."—Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump
"The best writing transports readers to another time and place, so that when they reluctantly close the book, they are astonished to find themselves returned to their everyday lives. One Thousand White Women is such a book. Jim Fergus so skillfully envelopes us in the heart and mind of the main character, May Dodd, that we weep when she mourns, we shake our fist at anyone who tries to sway her course, and our hearts pound when she is in danger."—The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
"In a word One Thousand White Women is terrific! What Jim Fergus has done within these pages is give life and voice to an aspect of the American West and its native peoples that has been, if not covered up, too long overlooked. It is a tremendous achievement by a remarkable writer."—David Seybold, editor of Boats and Fathers and Sons
"Jim Fergus's powerful first novel is a surefire winner. I read it nonstop and would now like to propose a hundred-year moratorium on all books about white women in the Old West, since it will take the rest of us at least that long to amass the research—not to mention the compassion—needed to equal this fine work. A masterful job!"—Robert F. Jones, author of Tie My Bones to Her Back
"This is a rich, beautifully conceived, rollicking novel, literally bursting with original characters and with the profound joy and heartbreak of the real history of the American West. May Dodd may be the most compellingly alive fictional character of that history since Little Big Man."—Charles Gaines, author of A Family Place