Prairie Grace Depicts Events Leading up to Sand Creek Massacre

Prairie Grace Depicts Events Leading up to Sand Creek Massacre

Prairie Grace Depicts Events Leading up SONY DSCto Sand Creek Massacre

By Marilyn Bay Wentz

My debut novel, Prairie Grace, is set in 1864 Colorado Territory and chronicles many of the events leading up to the Sand Creek Massacre. This heavily researched work of fiction will be available in bookstores and online fall 2013.

Prairie Grace depicts the worst and the best of humanity, detailing both the Indian depredations and the ruthless U.S. government/military campaigns to eliminate the Native Americans and their perceived threat to the whites. The clash of white and Native cultures in 1864 Colorado Territory is told through the eyes of throw-caution-to-the wind frontierswoman Georgia MacBaye and Cheyenne brave Gray Wolf, who is cast into the white world when his uncle, Chief Lean Bear, seeks help for him from Georgia’s mother, a well-known “healer.” When Lean Bear (actual historic figure) returns nearly a year later to retrieve his nephew, he explains that he was delayed by a trip to Washington, D.C., where he and other Cheyenne and Arapaho chiefs met the Great White Father (President Abraham Lincoln), a documented event.

I read dozens of books and a few website accounts before launching into the writing of Prairie Grace. Historic events, including the Colorado gold rush, the Denver flood of 1864, the Hungate murders, the slaughter of innocent Indians in small villages, settlement on the Purgatory River in southern Colorado, and the treaties of Fort Laramie and Fort Wise are woven into the storyline. Historical figures Lean Bear, Bull Bear, Roman Nose, One-Eye, Beaver aka George Bent, Black Kettle, Tall Bull, Cheyenne captive Laura Roper, Issac Van Wormer, Indian Agent Samuel Colley, Edward Wynkoop, Silas Soule, Governor Evans, and Col. John Chivington all make appearances in Prairie Grace.

Prairie Grace accurately depicts daily life and attitudes of people during this time, without being simplistic or stereotypical. This fast-moving novel culminates with the Sand Creek Massacre when Colonel John Chivington led a U.S. Army assault on an encampment of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in present day southeastern Colorado on Nov. 29, 1864, massacring an estimated 130 Indians, at least 100 of them women and children.

I hope you will spread the word about Prairie Grace. It is sure to entertain, educate and inspire without being mushy (the guys who reviewed it, loved it) or inappropriate for the younger set. For more information, visit

Marilyn Bay Wentz grew up on a farm near Eaton, Colo., not far from where her great-great grandparents homesteaded. She has written hundreds of news releases and articles for agricultural organizations and other clients. She and her family now live on the eastern plains, near Strasburg, Colo. Prairie Grace will be available December 2013 in bookstores and online.


1 Comment

  1. Judy
    Sep 23, 2013

    Being an avid reader of Historical Fiction I am excited to read your book!
    What makes it more exciting is you are my grand-daughter’s 4H leader!!

Leave a Reply