In 1866, only men uprooted by war had reason to ride into Tubacca, Arizona, a nondescript town as shattered and anonymous as the veterans drifting through it. So when Drew Rennie, newly discharged from Forrest's Confederate scouts, arrived leading everything he owned behind him-his thoroughbred stud Shiloh, a mare about to foal, and a mule-he knew his business would not be questioned. To anyone in Tubacca there could be only one extraordinary thing about Drew, and that he could not reveal: his name, Rennie. Drew had come west from Kentucky to find a father he had thought dead until the year before. Kinship with a man like Hunt Rennie, however-the legendary Don Cazar, owner of a matchless range and prize stallions-was not a claim to be made quickly or lightly. Posing as Drew Kirby the young veteran contrived to get himself and his friend Anse hired as corral hands at Rennie's Range, but he was hardly prepared for the suspicion and danger which stood between him and his father. As hotheaded as his father, Drew was ready to move on to California-until the day all proof of his Rennie name was stolen from him, and his unwarranted arrest for horse-thieving brought on the accusations of the one man whose trust he needed. Andre Norton's Ride Proud, Rebel! dramatically portrayed the last year of the Confederacy, when brave men like Drew Rennie met defeat with honour. In this sequel, Drew's struggle to establish his identity and begin life anew in a raw, unsettled land reflects the courage of thousands of rootless men set adrift by the American Civil War.
Even the coming of an autumn dusk could not subdue the color of this land. Shadows here were not gray or black; they were violet and purple. The crumbling adobe walls were laced by strings of crimson peppers, vivid in the torch and lantern light. It had been this way for days, red and yellow, violet—colors he had hardly been aware existed back in the cool green, silver, gray–brown of Kentucky. So this was Tubacca! The rider shifted his weight in the saddle and gazed about him with watchful interest. Back in '59 this had been a flourishing town, well on its way to prominence in the Southwest. The mines in the hills behind producing wealth, the fact that it was a watering place on two cross–country routes—the one from Tucson down into Sonora of Old Mexico, the other into California—had all fed its growth. Then the war... The withdrawal of the army, the invasion of Sibley's Confederate forces which had reached this far in the persons of Howard's Arizona Rangers—and most of all the raiding, vicious, deadly, and continual, by Apaches and outlaws—had blasted Tubacca. Now, in the fall of 1866, it was a third of what it had been, with a ragged fringe of dilapidated adobes crumbling back into the soil. Only this heart core was still alive in the dusk.