The Indian Agent

The Indian Agent

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
In the sequel to The Contract Surgeon, Valentine McGillycuddy, who had once lived among the Lakota Sioux to work as a doctor, heads to Pine Ridge, a reservation in the Dakota Territories, accompanied by his wife, to serve as the government's Indian agent, only to discover that the Black Hills has become a powder keg of treachery, political intrigue, and violence. Original.


A healer with a conscience and a mission, Valentine McGillycuddy has lived among the Lakota Sioux -- mending their wounds, delivering their children -- and had once called the great warrior chief Crazy Horse "friend." Now, with his frail, beautiful wife by his side, the doctor is heading to Pine Ridge, the newly renamed reservation in the Dakota Territories, to act as the government's Indian agent.

But the Black Hills are a powder keg with a short, burning fuse -- and Pine Ridge a cauldron of greed, deadly pride, lethal politics, and treachery that could destroy a man of principles.

And suddenly McGillycuddy's dream of saving a people is in grave peril of being blown apart by an ill wind of misfortune and missed chances -- a gale that is carrying him toward a date with terrible destiny on a killing ground called Wounded Knee.

Publisher: New York HarperTorch, 2004
ISBN: 9780060823818
Characteristics: 316 p. ; (softcover)


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Apr 17, 2011

The Indian Agent by Dan O’Brien tells the true story of Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy who was appointed as the Indian Agent to the newly created Pine Ridge Reservation. McGillycuddy was a wise choice, although still a young man, he had years of experience with the Sioux Indians from his time serving as a contract surgeon under General Crook. He was at Little Big Horn, one day after the massacre and over time he both traveled among and made friends with the Lakota Sioux. He considered the renowned warrior Crazy Horse as having been a close friend.

Desiring to make changes and help to guide these people to a new way of life, he met many obstacles from both government sources and Easterners who didn’t understand the situation. By far though his biggest obstacle was the old war chief Red Cloud. Red Cloud had had the previous agent under his thumb and didn’t want to lose what power he had. McGillycuddy was a bit of a despot, seeming to believe that only he knew what was best for these people. He thought nothing of throwing eastern visitors off the reservation if he deemed them “troublemakers”. A shift in the government in Washington eventually seals the fate of the Indian Agent and he is replaced by a political hack. Around the same time the notorious Ghost Dancing begins on the reservation . Surrounded by greed, treachery, and nasty politics his dream of creating a peaceful, working environment for the Lakota Sioux is destroyed as events lead to an unavoidable climax that was to become known as Wounded Knee.

A well researched account of an event that was to have a huge impact on American History. I found this book interesting but with the point-of-view being a little one sided as often happens when real people and events are made into a fictionalized novel.

Nov 16, 2010

Very enjoyable book. My first read by this author, and I can't wait to get to his other books.

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