Wide Open

by Larry Bjornson

Based on a remarkable true story-A wilderness of grassA magnificent secretA stunning tragedyA lifelong romance in its earliest daysThis is the epic story of Abilene, Kansas, at a time when the cowboy is king, and good and evil are so evenly matched that no one knows which willtriumph.

  • Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Average Rating: 4.07 out of 5
  • Published June 5th 2012 by Penguin / Berkley Trade
  • Original Title: Wide Open
  • ISBN: 0425247481 (ISBN13: 9780425247488)
  • Edition Language: English
  • Literary Awards: Forward National Literature Award (2012)
  • Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Fiction (2013)
  • Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award for Best Western First Novel (2013)

Based on a remarkable true story-A wilderness of grassA magnificent secretA stunning tragedyA lifelong romance in its earliest daysThis is the epic story of Abilene, Kansas, at a time when the cowboy is king, and good and evil are so evenly matched that no one knows which will triumph. Abilene, 1871. Fifteen-year-old Will Merritt is fiercely protective of the cattle trade that made his father’s fortune. Idolizing the cowboys who flood the streets each summer, Will and his friends are drawn to Abilene’s exotic Texastown district—a powderkeg of saloons and brothels so notorious that the mayor has hired the West’s most famous gunman, Wild Bill Hickok, to police its streets. Yet even with Hickok as marshal, Abilene boils with deep divisions. The townsfolk resent the immigrant settlers whose new farms are slicing up the rangeland. And no one is more intolerant than Will’s best friend, Jasper, who delights in tormenting any farmer he encounters. But Will finds himself torn when he meets the beautiful and beguiling Anna, whose dignity and determination test his deepest beliefs. With the scaffolding of his life beginning to wobble, Will realizes that his flamboyant father, J.T. Merritt, has a secret, something hidden far out in the remote prairie. When J.T. makes his stunning secret public, everything Abilene believes about its future is challenged, and the Merritts become outcasts. And all the while, Will and the town are rushing toward an extraordinary tragedy involving Marshal Hickok. An event that will seal Will and Anna in a lifelong romance.- Winner of the Western Writers Of America 2013 Spur Award- Winner of the Western Fictioneers 2013 Peacemaker Award for Best Western First Novel- Winner of the 2012 Forward National Literature Award for historical fiction.- Winner of the 2013 Kansas Notable Book Award from the Center for the Book/State Library of Kansas