Boots and Saddles is the second book in the story of the MacKendrick Army family; who live by West Point’s motto of Duty, Honor, Country. With the Civil War over, the Army of the United States is reduced from over a million men at arms to a mere 38,000. This small handful is expected to patrol the vast territories of the West.
James seeks a return to the cheerful fatalism of the professional soldier and is even willing to serve in the hated Cavalry. Timothy, cooling his heels in a Staff position, has his hands full with his willful wife who has yet to learn that a good Army wife does not hesitate to follow her husband; even to dismal outposts in the Western territories. She pays a heavy price for her obstinacy and independence in the glittering social whirl of post-Civil War New York. Gwyneth O’Donnell, a young Army brat at an Arizona post, has learned to role of a true Army wife at her mother’s knee and is prepared to throw herself into a passionate love for a professional soldier; in a way that Timothy’s wife cannot match.
In Boots and Saddles, the MacKendricks must come to terms with a military policy that in one breath wants to protect Indian treaty lands and, in the next, seeks to conquer them in the name of Manifest Destiny. Serving with George Crook and Philip Sheridan in Arizona and the turmoil of the Plains, James and Timothy face Apache, Cheyenne, and Sioux in the great Indian wars of the Post-Civil War era.