Mari Sandoz J. Frank Dobie - Essay

J. Frank Dobie

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Let no one regard "Cheyenne Autumn" as one of those customary attempts by historians to rescue an episode or a figure from oblivion. The episode did not change history, any more than the march of 10,000 Greeks under Xenophon out of Persia changed history, but it has all the elements of that drama. Miss Sandoz has made it into a Lear-like tragedy of displaced persons.

The story begins in the fall of 1878 and ends in the following winter. The place is along 2,000 harsh miles between a guarded reservation camp in Oklahoma and the mouth of Powder River on the Yellowstone. The main actors are Dull Knife and Little Wolf, who fulfilled the conception of a great chief: "Forget himself and remember only the...

(The entire section is 413 words.)