Surviving the Battle of the Little Bighorn, George Hawkins returns to Fort Leavenworth to resume his duty as a cavalry lieutenant. Though nearly killed in that battle, George's sympathies lie with the Indian. Raised with a half-blood Sioux who is now his blood brother, George understands the true nature of what's happening to the Indians, and hopes to somehow change the course of events before they spiral out of control. Assigned to General George Crook to chase down the renegades Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse during what has come to be known in history as "the Horsemeat March," George learns early on that his task will not be easily accomplished. When he blatantly disobeys a direct order to kill an Indian woman and her son (in a factual "battle"), he is arrested, court-martialed and tossed out of the army.
Seeking a new life, yet too ashamed to return to the ranch where he was raised side-by-side with Blue Fox, George meets Maggie Douglas, the strong-willed, impetuous daughter of the rancher he goes to work for. As their relationship grows, George realizes Maggie has other things she wants to do. Things that don't include him. A strong advocate for women's rights, Maggie goes to "find her voice" with Miss Susan B. Anthony and leave George to, once again, seek new direction in his life. When both an opportunity for work and the ability to help the Indians reveals itself, George takes the chance. Delivering goods as a teamster to the Indians for the newly established reservation system, George thinks it's just what he's been looking for. But again, he learns that helping the Indians will be much harder than he imagined. During his time as a teamster, he learns how crooked the reservation system is at the hands of unscrupulous men. He is unable to stop Crazy Horse's death with the help of one of his own braves. And unable to stop an entire band of Sioux attempting to escape incarceration from quarters far too small for their numbers, who are slaughtered on a bitter, winter day.
While lobbying for the Indians in Washington, George chances upon Maggie, whom he's never forgotten. Disillusioned by her own quest, they resume their relationship, marry and return to the reservation together to "make a difference".
But again, it's not to be. A new phenomenon has swept through the Sioux Nation--The Ghost Dance. The Dance of Ghosts instills fear in the white soldiers and Indian Agent at Pine Ridge. Now acting as the sub-agent at Pine Ridge, George is once again helpless as Sitting Bull is murdered by Agency Police, while in a surreal display nearby, the renowned chief's show horse performs it's dancing act from the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. In a last ditch effort to keep disaster from striking further, George sets out after the fleeing Sioux, but again cannot stop the destruction at Wounded Knee Creek, where 300 men, women and children are killed and left to freeze in the bitter temperatures as a blizzard rages and blankets the dead.
This is the story of one man's struggle of conscience against orders, heart against wants, and right against wrong.
To read the complete first chapter of Ghost Dancers, click here.