The Homesman

The Homesman

Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Homesman is a devastating, humane story of early pioneers to America's West in the 1850's. It celebrates the ones we hear nothing of-the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by that life of bitter hardship. When a nineteen-year-old mother loses her three children to diphtheria in three days, or a woman left alone for two nights has to shoot wolves as they crash through the window, it is no wonder they should lose their minds. After a dreadful winter, the Rev. Dowd finds there are four such cases in his parish and, as yet, no asylum in this frontier town.

A 'homesman' must be found to escort the women East to civilization. Not a job anyone would volunteer for, it falls to Mary Bee Cuddy, ex-teacher, spinster-indomitable, resourceful, "plain as an old tin pail." Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she cannot succeed alone, and the only companion available is the low-life and untrustworthy "George Briggs," a claim-jumper.Thus begins a trek East, against the tide of colonization, against hardship, Indian attacks, ice storms, loneliness, and

the unceasing aggravation of a disparate group of mad women, which provides a series of tough, fast-paced adventures and introduces two wonderful, idiosyncratic characters.

Coming to cinemas in 2014 with an incredible cast - featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and John Lithgow. Not to be missed!
Publisher: New York :, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Copyright Date: ©1988
ISBN: 9781471136054
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 24, 2018

When I watched the movie, I wanted to learn more about why the women went crazy. I don't think the movie explained it well enough. I picked up the book and found out. There are some dark stories in here. Great book on the realities of pioneer life. Not a romance book.

AL_LESLEY Nov 22, 2016

The book is a brutal telling about the hardships of frontier life and having seen the film first I see how Tommy Lee Jones was inspired to turn this into a movie. The film mirrors the book faithfully.

Jul 16, 2016

This was a fun, easy read that explored the realities of those that didn't necessarily make it in the new frontier. Rustic in it's telling but worth the read. Way, way better than the movie.

Apr 13, 2016

Brilliant! An exceptional book. It tells the story of four women who have had mental breakdowns in the western frontier. One lost three children in two days for example. A harsh unforgiving environment. Another woman much to the shock of the community volunteers to take the four women back to civilization and their family. On the awful journey across the frontier she meets and hires an outlaw to help her with devastating consequences.

Mar 07, 2015

Enjoyed strong female character, good historical detail about settling the west. Agree with others about bizarre plot turn 3/4 in. Appreciate being born here and now not then and there.

Feb 20, 2015

I found this book a little strange. I didn't like the ending.....that's happening a lot to me lately, so maybe it's just me?

Jan 23, 2015

A story of hardship told with compassion and some humor. Very moving.

Jul 04, 2014

I loved this book and don't normally read Westerns..excellent !

ontherideau May 08, 2014

A good story, some unexpected events, and a conclusive end. It's worth reading if only to remind us how lucky we are to live in this country in this day.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Jan 24, 2018

CarriseMoon thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


Add a Quote

Nov 13, 2014

"Four. What a shame. We'll have to have a homesman."
"What's that?"
He put down his cutlery. "That's what I call him." Last year, Dowd said, there were three demented women, wives, on his circuit, and by spring something had to be done with them. Two were actually dangerous, homicidal, and the other one kept running away. "Well, I got the three husbands together - they're responsible after all -- and had them draw lots. The one who lost was the homesman."


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at YPRL

To Top