David M. Quinn

It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier



A family lost, nearly frozen, pushed their way through the knee-high drifts that streaked the treeless plain. Falling snowflakes, nearly as big as poker chips, almost obscured them from view. They were Lakota—a man, his wife, and two young girls. When they saw the two white men, the daughters ran and hid behind their folks, sheltering under thin blankets. The family stood and stared at Mike Quinn and Rico Sandoval with suspicion. The angry guns of Wounded Knee had only been silent for a week. They appreciated that the snow-filled arroyo between them was a protective barrier.

“Mire, Señor Mike!”

Mike halted and peered into the flying snow in the direction Rico pointed. “Jaysus, what are those folks doin' so far from the agency? Afoot in this weather, with no supplies, must be crazy—or scared half to death.”

The tall, lean, and goateed cattleman dismounted and handed frozen reins to the vaquero. He fantasied that the dull, gray sky might soon shatter like the patches of thin ice underfoot.

Rico hunkered under his dented, brown sombrero and wine-red serape, his back to the wind.

“They look scared to me. After the trouble, they just run off, anywhere, to get away from the army, I think.”

Mike stepped away from their mounts and the Winchesters sheathed beside their saddles. He removed his gloves and extended his open hands as a sign of peace. The freezing wind bit at the exposed flesh. “They've gotta know we mean 'em no harm. If we don't reach 'em, they'll likely be wolf-bait by mornin'.”

The survivors turned away, unmoved by his gesture. Mike broke into a run along his side of the ravine. He waved his arms and shouted into the wind, “Hold up! We got food!”

The family halted and looked back. But he was too far away, too far to hear, too far to understand. They pressed on again, disappearing into the windblown snow.

Rico stared after them and silently made the sign of the cross. Mike drew to a halt, tore off his hat and slapped it against his thigh. "What the deuce!” he spat in disgust.


Authors note: You may also want to read related excerpts about the Irish Potato Famine.

It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier

"It's a book that should be listed among the great Irish diasporic accounts..." Peter Berresford Ellis - Noted Celtic scholar, writer, and novelist

It May Be Forever An Irish American Rebel on the American Frontier

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Rising from famine, child labor in England’s textile mills, and a foiled Irish rebellion to eventual prosperity on the American frontier, Michael Quinn lost love, friendship, and family in his single-minded pursuit of fortune. Only a dramatic encounter with a Lakota holy man provides the catalyst for personal redemption

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All rights reserved. Copyright: David M. Quinn, Author