Book Notification

Plainsmen Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Plainsmen Books

Sioux Dawn (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stalkers (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red Cloud's Revenge (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Sun (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Devil's Backbone (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shadow Riders (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dying Thunder (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Song (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reap the Whirlwind (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trumpet on the Land (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Cold Day in Hell (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wolf Mountain Moon (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ashes of Heaven (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cries from the Earth (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lay the Mountains Low (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Turn the Stars Upside Down (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Plainsmen series is a series of novels by Terry C. Johnstone the American author best known for writing several western fiction series of novels over the years. The series of novels is about Seamus Donegan, a US Army who is fighting against the Native Americans in the 19th century. The first novel in the series was set in 1866 and happened through the following decade up to 1877. The first of the series was “Sioux Dawn”, which was first published in 1990 and was followed by 15 more titles culminating in “Turn the Stars Upside Down”, that came out in 2001. Terry C. Johnson is an expert storyteller with a keen eye for historical accuracy as he tells the story of the “Fetterman Massacre of 1866”, starting with the war between the US cavalry and the Native Americans in the wild American West. Sergeant Seamus Coleman the chief protagonist in the series is a riveting fictional hero, who blends into the legendary historical battles and rubs shoulders with real life legends of important battles. Some important battles he takes part in include the epic last stand at “Little Bighorn” where he stands shoulder to shoulder with General Custer and Crazy Horse. The novels are a compelling portrayal of the Native American tribes and their culture, and the American soldier drawn to the utmost attention to detail and accuracy.

The Plainsmen series of novels tell the stories of massacre and butchery during the American Army’s war with the Native Americans. Making use of fictionalized dialogue and real life characters, Johnston cleverly arranges the historical narrative to make for a violent and graphical portrayal of the US Army’s campaign to first defeat the rebellious Native Americans and later move them from their rich lands in states such as Idaho and Oregon, and translocate them to desolate reservations. However, the Native Americans do not go quietly as through their leaders such as Chief Joseph, they resist fiercely. The stories are told from several angles as the Native Americans have several victories and heavy losses too. Covering a decade, the narratives are a daily account of the anguish, atrocities, and ambush that is clearly not for one with a weak stomach. The civilian volunteers and soldiers that fight the Native Americans are a combination of nervous recruits, and frontier veterans with a thirst for revenge for colleagues killed by their enemy. Many Civil War heroes bring in their war expertise and experience to help fight the Native Americans. However, the Native Americans surprise the Americans with their own tactics as they repeatedly inflict bloody defeats to the more disciplined army. But despite the screams and anguish of war neither of the two groups has the courage to give up, believing that they still have the wherewithal to crush their enemy over the long run. Most of the narratives conclude with the Native Americans and the American Army killing each other in a penultimate big battle such as the “Battle of the Big Hole In Montana”. The novels are an uncomfortable depiction of history ringing with the utter horror, confusion, and desperation of two mortal enemies fighting to the death.

The Plainsmen series of novels are more of long conversations beside the fire with a dear friend about sad events in the past. They are great renditions of the Native American Wars of the 19th century and their leaders that many Americans may never have heard of. Through the novels, we learn of Native American chiefs such as Captain Jack of the Modoc tribe, and Captain Joseph who led the Idaho Native Americans in viciously fighting the Army until they retreated to Canada. Through the novels, the reader gets a more comprehensive picture of the colorful people that led the rebellions such as Curly Headed Doctor, Bogus Charley, and Shack Nasty Jim. They also explain the happenings of the time that may enrage contemporary readers by putting them in context. For instance, the US Army was forced to send a whole company of troops to the Pacific Coast to deal with the Modocs after they killed commissioners sent to negotiate a peace. The historical accuracy in the novels is spot on and the author does a great job portraying both the American Army and the Native American military leaders. It is heartbreaking yet fascinating to learn of the fate of the Native Americans in some of the bloodiest of wars to happen on US soil after the Civil War.

“Sioux Dawn”, the first novel captures the drama, adventure, and glory of the courageous women and men that tamed the American Wild West. The debut novel of the Plainsmen series is full of compelling historical lore, fierce battles, and colorful characters. The novel is set in post-Civil War America, a period in which there was a great westward march. Soldiers and settlers re pouring out into the Bozeman Trail looking to settle the hunting grounds of the Sioux, that the natives deem most sacred. For the Sioux chief Red Cloud and his fellow tribesmen, there is no option but to stand up and fight for what they believe is theirs by right. The novel is a vivid description of the Fetterman Massacre of 1866 as seen from the perspective of Sergeant Seamus Donegan of the US Army.

“The Stalkers”, the third novel in The Plainsmen series of novels documents the adventures of the Native Americans and soldiers and settlers of the American Wild West. The novel opens to a poorly sheltered island where the US Army is seeking refuge from the Native Americans. Many of the men serving in the Scouts division under Seamus Donegan lie dead with many more seriously wounded and dying. The contingent is led by Colonel George Forsyth and is charged with combing through the Colorado area to look for the Cheyenne, who have been terrorizing residents. Overconfident in their technical superiority, the company had found themselves outnumbered when they took a turn at the Republican River. The company including Donegan and the Army Scouts are facing a barrage of attacks from the Cheyenne, who are threatening to wipe out the company. With the battle raging, Donegan finds himself the target of a traitor looking to take revenge for past wrongs. With their numbers being reduced by the relentless attack of the Native Americans, they have nothing to do but sit out the merciless siege and hope for rescue, from what has come to be known as the “Battle of Beecher Island”.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Plainsmen

Leave a Reply