Book Review: The Sea of Grass


The author Conrad Richter uses his unique skills to place the reader in the time and setting of his story. This is a western story told over an extended period of time. The story is drawn from many people’s lives and their history in New Mexico. The story gives me the feeling of the land and the people who are in it every day. Long time lovers of the land, the home of the grass sea, helps one understand the reasons that the land can not be tilled successfully for long and how it is the true center of the story. The tale expresses a feeling held by many of the older long time resident of the grass.

This is about a rancher, told by his nephew Hal, and the ranch larger than the state of Massachusetts with Connecticut thrown in. The land is not all owned but controlled by Colonel Brewton a bold pioneer.  His life is of the stock that tamed the Indians and kept many single homesteaders heading for California.

The beginning is about the introduction of an eastern woman, Lutie, who has no ties to the wide expanse of grass and the constant need to be vigilant about its safety. Her spirit is a major impact on the town and countryside. She bares children, plants trees but is still not a part of the grass. She is always looking for the gayety of towns and having many neighbors close at hand. The lack of these things eventually drives her away from the ranch, her husband, children and the grass. At the end of the first section she boards a train to Denver as she pulls away from the things that first drew her here.

Part Two of the story is the beginning of the demise of the sea of grass in that the Colonel loses control and it turns to the new judge an old adversary Brice Chamberlain. Brice has offered the government land controlled by the Colonel as homesteader plots that he will protect with the use of military troops. The grass and the Colonel are pushed aside as time moves toward seeming progress. Losing stature in the community the Colonel’s life begins to wither as the typical weather of New Mexico dries up unsuspecting crops not designed for the ravages of dry weather. The land is scared and fenced with many moving on west to California. The children grow older and it is noted then finally realized by Hal that the two sons of Lutie are really different and probably from two separate fathers.

The final section is about the bad seed, the son Brock, who always has had it to easy and finally is called to reckoning about his wayward ways. This is a great western story told over the life of a young man, Hal, who is in the middle of the story from beginning to ending. I recommend this book to those who are looking for the flavor of the time told in a vista of the land, the sea of grass.  This is a good read.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am truly pleassant to read everthing at one place.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *