The 1880s were a hard time to raise a family on the prairies of the Dakotas. From snow to drought, fire to locusts, it was only the most stalwart and hardy who survived. Gerhardt Praeger and his wife not only survived; they raised seven sons on their farm on the prairie. Through faith in his Bible and just plain stubbornness, the Praeger family manages to continue even after many others return to the East. Although he always believes that a man got what he deserved, his faith is put to the test when his new neighbor arrives.
Where he came from, no one knows. Beidermann shows up on the New Year, a harsh time to try to begin life on the prairie. From their first meeting, when Beidermannís dogs cause Praegerís horse to unseat him, they settle into a feeling of mutual distrust. Although he quickly enlists the aid of Praegerís two youngest sons, the twin boys, the older members of the family are not so open with help. The twins soon spend more time helping him than helping on their own farm. Beidermannís farm thrives, his crops grow taller and more profusely, he survives natureís numerous curses unscathed while those all around him are suffering. Yet he is not a godfearing man; he is proud and boastful. As disaster after disaster befalls his neighbors, he alone seems untouched. But he makes a human enemy along the way that will have drastic consequences for both Beidemann and the Praegers.
It is the story of rivalry, survival and loss. Told in diary style, with the words, phrasing and style of the 1880s, it takes the reader into the heart of the prairie. At age 75, Lloyd Zimpel is making his first re-entry into books since 1973.