FROM THE BOOK JACKET: In 1954, sixty-three-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins embarked on an impossible journey. She had no money and no family, she had just lost her farm, and her doctor had given her only two years to live. But Annie wanted to see the Pacific Ocean before she died. She ignored her doctors advice to move into the county charity home. Instead, she bought a cast-off brown gelding named Tarzan, donned mens dungarees, and headed south in mid-November, hoping to beat the snow. Annie had little idea what to expect beyond her rural crossroads; she didnt even have a map. But she did have her ex-racehorse, her faithful mutt, and her own unfailing belief that Americans would treat a stranger with kindness.
Annie, Tarzan, and her dog, Depeche Toi, rode straight into a world transformed by the rapid construction of modern highways. Between 1954 and 1956,the three travelers pushed through blizzards, forded rivers, climbed mountains, and clung to the narrow shoulder as cars whipped by them at terrifying speeds. Annie rode more than four thousand miles, through Americas big cities and small towns. Along the way, she met ordinary people and celebrities—from Andrew Wyeth (who sketched Tarzan) to Art Linkletter and Groucho Marx. She received many offers—a permanent home at a riding stable in New Jersey, a job at a gas station in rural Kentucky, even a marriage proposal from a Wyoming rancher. In a decade when car ownership nearly tripled, when televisions influence was expanding fast, when homeowners began locking their doors, Annie and her four-footed companions inspired an outpouring of neighborliness in a rapidly changing world.
Elizabeth Letts is the award-winning author of two novels, Quality of Care
and Family Planning
, and one childrens book, The Butter Man
. Quality of Care
was a Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Books-A-Million Book Club selection. An equestrian from childhood, Letts represented California as a junior equestrian, and was runner-up in the California Horse and Rider of the Year competition. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Baltimore, Maryland.