14 sketches by Mary Austin, published in 1903. Based on long personal observation, this familiar account of the land, the people, and the animals and plants is concerned with the California region between the high Sierras south from Yosemite—east and south beyond Death Valley and on illimitably into the Mojave Desert.”
“The Pocket Hunter,” Shoshone Land,” and The Basket Maker” are quiet portraits of representative residents in this region of high mountains and vast deserts: a gold miner who spends his life in an infrequently successful search for stray pockets” of precious metal; an ancient Shoshone medicine man, homesick in exile among the Paiute; and a widowed Paiute woman who devotes herself to rearing her son and to weaving beautiful willow baskets for the satisfaction of desire.” The Scavengers” is a study of the carrion creatures of the desert—vultures, buzzards, ravens, and coyotes—embodying the author's sense of the delicate economy of nature. Jimville—A Bret Harte Town” is a genial depiction of a mountain town whose life contains all the themes of Harte's sentimental fiction.
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Mary Austin (1868—1934)