The story of Bo Mason and Else. He is a talented dreamer with a large dose of wanderlust, who works hard at his dreams, but seems to always see them drift away. She is an escapee from an unhappy home who is smitten with Bo as an 18-year-old. Marriage ensues, children, and hardship. This is a great American saga, covering the main characters from adolescence to old age. It gives us a look at western North America (US and Canada) at the end of the 19th century into the mid 20th. There are times when the language is so beautiful that it called to mind Thomas Hardy, and I wept through the final chapter. The Mason children figure large in this story as well. Bo stands in for America in a way. He has so much to offer, yet, instead of building in a slow and steady, is ever torn by un unquenchable need for the new. He is also always on the lookout for the big score, and ultimately it never comes. Else loves Bo, despite his inability to settle down, despite his harshness, his immaturity. Bo’s vibrance, however flawed, stands out. Else must sacrifice her desire for a settled life again and again as Bo is drawn ever onward. She stands in for the more domestic piece of America. Their sons diverge as well. Chet carries his father’s athleticism, but also his stubbornness and inability to admit error. It ultimately takes him away from his dreams. Perhaps the most American is Bruce, the mama’s boy who ultimately strikes off on his own to make a truly better life.