Why Armstrong Sperry, one of the more versatile and vivid authors and illustrators this country has produced, is not more appreciated staggers our imagination. His great grandfather, Sereno Armstrong, was a clipper captain, and his tales of life under sail in the South Pacific obviously captivated the Connecticut youngster, and ultimately provided the setting for his Newbery Award winner, Call It Courage. But his historical novels, all based on solid research and a strong narrative line featuring younger boys facing daunting challenges, are real page turners. This is one of his best, and despite a whiff of period chauvinism, it will really give you a sense of what a journey along the Santa Fe Trail in 1846 must have been like and how a restless America managed to wrestle much of the Southwest from Mexico and the Indians. As always, the book is illustrated with spirited drawings by the author, and darn good ones they are, too!