Last Reviewed on February 4, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 876
When Belle discovers that the sheriff, Jess, is interested in Lettie, she suggests Lettie go along with it, to spy. Lettie feels dishonest but agrees. At the cinema they see Will Forrest, Benoit's lawyer's son, who is in love with Nola. The next time Nola visits Benoit in prison, she...
(The entire section contains 876 words.)
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When Belle discovers that the sheriff, Jess, is interested in Lettie, she suggests Lettie go along with it, to spy. Lettie feels dishonest but agrees. At the cinema they see Will Forrest, Benoit's lawyer's son, who is in love with Nola. The next time Nola visits Benoit in prison, she asks after his cellmate, Walter Bird, who has dental problems. She is sure Benoit is going to be framed and decides to try to find the fortune-teller who told her things were going to fall apart, in case she knows who killed Grace and Sara.
Michael Horse is still in the wilderness with Redshirt, the horse, and wishes for the old days back.
Stace Red Hawk arrives the next auction day. Moses sells some horses, and John Hale is in town. Jim Josh, a neighbor, asks if Belle will come and look at his sore feet; Moses says he will drive him home. Moses brings presents back for his family from the auction. Meanwhile, Stace muses on the fact that this is the biggest oil sale that has ever happened. He is watching two young Indians, one of whom, Calvin, was hung by the thumbs until he lost the use of them at an Indian School. John Stink is also wandering around, thought to be a ghost. In the jail, Walter Bird is suffering heavily from toothache, and Mardy has been brought in for stealing a car.
Joe Billy has lost his faith. He talks to Dr. Black about Walker's suspicious death; Dr. Black agrees that it seems odd but is noncommittal. The doctor sees John Stink; Joe tells him it is only his ghost.
A few days later, Will Forrest drives to the Indian school to wait for Nola. He gives her a rose when she comes out; the teacher tells Nola to come inside, but she refuses, gets into the car with Will, and drives off with him as a tornado sets in. Lettie refuses to take cover in this tornado, taking the time to ask questions of a ouija board instead, but the board remains mute. The tornado destroys the Catholic church; its priest, Father Dunne, begins rebuilding it in the woods, in the place where the statue of Mary has been thrown.
Belle realizes that Will is courting Nola sincerely. When he proposes to her, Belle is unsurprised. She does feel Nola, at thirteen, is too young, but Nola says she is sure she is worth more to Will alive than dead, given her fortune, and that he will not hurt her. Lettie tells Benoit that Nola is marrying the son of his lawyer, but that she thinks it will be good for her.
Hale convinces his girlfriend, China, a white woman, to court and marry John Stink in order to inherit his oil lease payments.
Things change over the course of 1922 as Indians lose trust in whites; Benoit does not trust his lawyer enough to tell him anything, even though Forrest believes he is innocent. Trust is lost in the doctor. Meanwhile, Lettie follows leads across the country in search of her fortune-teller. The woman, Isabelle, is seeing "Watona" in her mind and knows that something is afoot in Indian territory, but Lettie does not find her.
Nola's wedding is set to be a huge event. Ben has received orders that he must go to Indian school and yearns to know how Nola succeeded in escaping hers, not knowing that she was finally expelled after leaving with Will. Calvin is now courting Rena, impressing her with the grisly intrigue of the morgue in which he works. Nola's wedding is attended by multiple guests, including John Stink, and some people comment that the appearance of a ghost at a wedding is bad luck.
A few days later, China and John Stink try to get married but are refused. The man at the registry office informs them that John Stink is dead, so it is impossible. China explains this to Hale, and Hale reconsiders his plan.
Will Forrest discovers that his father has been investing Nola's money in John Hale's business and protests against this, as the business has lost money in the past. He is "kidnapped" by some friends, who take him out on the town; he meets a white woman but wants to return to Nola. As time goes on, however, Nola realizes that her love of riches and beautiful things is in sharp contrast to Will's love of curiosities and artifacts; she does not want anything in her house which has belonged to the dead.
Lettie gains permission for Benoit to be released temporarily from jail to marry her, and Horse comes home to perform the ceremony. The pair make love, and in the morning, Benoit is returned to his cell. However, when Jim Josh comes to the cell in the morning to bring tomatoes to Benoit, he finds him hanged by his belt. Lettie refuses to believe this at first when she is told. The whole town comes to Benoit's funeral.
Stace, upset, leaves the Stanley Hotel in town and sits on a stone, saying out loud, "I want peace." He prays in the Indian way for help, smokes a pipe, and offers it to the east.