|Foreword from the author.|
This is a work of fiction, of course. Some of the events told in this tale are historically accurate, and based upon various elderly documents in possession of the author. However, some of those events, when found to be inconveniently located temporally, have been relocated in time to fit the story's time period. In most cases that time shift from reality to fiction involves a jump of a decade or two. Many of the people in my story existed at the time and place they exist in my yarn, but in all cases I have used them fictionally. And yes, I have brutally murdered historical accuracy, without guilt or shame, to tell this tale.
Within this novel the paths Nick and Long Stride followed through the Mojave Desert, the springs they visited (with one exception), and the sights they saw are all real: I have myself crossed on foot the routes they rode horseback and walked, and I have drunk from most of the springs they did. In frightfully numerous cases, springs that once provided water to travelers in the Mojave 150 years ago have since gone dry: to improve historical accuracy, Long Stride and Nick encounter water in the springs I believe had water in their time, and they encounter dry holes at the springs I believe had gone dry before they visited.
The one exception to reality regarding springs Nick and Long Stride visited is, of course, the one where Nick decided to homestead and build his home. I shamelessly fabricated this tiny valley and its spring because real life often disappoints authors. I know of several secret miniature valleys with fresh water springs scattered throughout the Mojave Desert (and if I could claim one as Nick did, I would), but none are quite so nice as Nick's, nor in the proper location.
Regarding Long Stride, it must be firmly stated that while he is a Mojave "Indian," his behavior is not that of a real Mojave: much of his behavior has been extrapolated from cultural and historical documents regarding the Pipa a'ha macave that I have read. When Long Stride acts very unlike a member of the macave, it is because of both my ignorance and my license as a writer of fiction. However, I have spent considerable time striving to understand the cultural psychodyamics, clan system, phobias, strengths, and social conflicts of the Mojaves in the hopes he at least offers a verisimilitudinous approximation of macave life 150 years ago.
As for Snow Hare, who wouldn't love her?