Sixteen: The Great Eighty Road

The men had wanted silver. That seemed to be the short of it. The answer hadn’t felt especially satisfying to Laura when Pa had tried to lay it out for her the night before, and, when she awoke the next morning, her questions seemed to have only grown as she slept, like seedlings sprouting new shoots in the moist night air. . . .

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Two: The Handcar

The handcar’s axle was made from strong hickory. Its rims were made from bent splits of white oak and cased in strips of iron that Pa had flattened at his forge. . . .

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