Set in 1881 on the dusty, lawless plains of Wyoming and into the even more lawless Black Hills of the Dakotas, Dakota Trails follows the exploits of Neil Bancroft, a retired cavalry man who keeps his army days to himself, and Katie Burke, the woman who hired him to help her find her dead husband’s lost gold. Neil is busting broncos in Fetterman City, Wyoming, when he meets the beautiful Katie Burke in the most unlikely manner: She puts up a twenty gold piece to any man who can beat Bancroft to a pulp. It is a test; she needs to see if Neil is crafty enough to help her elude the men who killed her husband and get her across the plains, where Indian threats still remain. As they cross the trails into the Dakotas, Neil slowly falls in love with Katie – and vice versa, but the deeper in love he falls, the more about her past he realizes he doesn’t know. And Katie’s past is not what she’s been leading him to believe it is. Despite being shot at, nearly hanged, and beaten to a pulp, Neil follows Katie into chaos and rescues her from death.
Robert McKee weaves a thrilling Western that keeps the reader guessing, and the pace drives readers through to the end before they know it. I’m not personally partial to the Western genre, but I could not put this book down. Neil and Katie are dynamic and fun characters, and along the way the people they encounter truly bring the Wild West alive in a historically accurate way. Dakota Trails is a wonderful blend of Western, mystery, and romance.
Review originally appeared https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/dakota-trails/