Peace Like a River

Swede is a precocious and verbose nine-year old obsessed with the Wild West. As Reuben's younger sister and best friend, she habitually critiques Reuben's poorly thought out questions. She's an avid writer and throughout the novel she writes an epic poem about the cowboy hero Sunny Sundown, who is a thinly-veiled surrogate for Davy. As her family travels West in search of Davy, whom Swede idolizes above everyone else, Swede fictionalizes the journey, rendering all events as she wants them to happen, rather than as they actually happen. This shows Swede’s immature inability to confront reality, even as she sometimes shoulders more of the family’s day-to-day responsibility (such as cooking) than Reuben does.

Swede Land Quotes in Peace Like a River

The Peace Like a River quotes below are all either spoken by Swede Land or refer to Swede Land. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Atlantic edition of Peace Like a River published in 2002.
His Separate Shadow Quotes

"Rube, you're almost like Davy now, aren't you. I mean, you shot a goose this morning."

Related Characters: Swede Land (speaker), Reuben Land, Davy Land
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Your Toughened Heart Quotes

When did it come to Davy Land that exile is a country of shifting borders, hard to quit yet hard to endure, no matter your wide shoulders, no matter your toughened heart?

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Davy Land
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

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Peeking at Eternity Quotes

Well, we all hold history differently inside us. For Swede such episodes retold themselves into a seamless and momentous narrative; she had a Homeric grasp on the significance of events, and still does; one of her recent letters asks, Is it hubris to believe we all live epics? (Perhaps it is, but I suspect she's not actually counting on me for an answer.)

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Swede Land
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

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But the whole thing bothered Davy, and with Dad out of earshot he'd say so. You couldn't get blown around in a tornado, he said, and not get banged up. It didn't make sense. It wasn't right.
Swede challenged him. "Are you calling Dad a liar?"
"Of course not. I know it happened. It just shouldn't have. Don't you see that?"

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land (speaker), Davy Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Just because I write it doesn't mean it really happened."

Related Characters: Swede Land (speaker), Reuben Land
Related Symbols: Sunny Sundown, Valdez
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

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When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll Quotes

My sister's resentments notwithstanding, Margery's pitiful recital contained a certain truth that I, at least, eventually had to face. Tommy Basca was an idiot, but he wasn't purebred evil. You could see looking at him that he might be somebody's Bubby.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Tommy Basca
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

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Late in the Night When the Fires Are Out Quotes

"We'll wait till they're asleep—take some of Mrs. DeCuellar's cookies—offer 'em to the guard, tell him we've got to see Davy—when he turns to me you grab his gun," and so on. It was one of those rare moments when I actually felt older than Swede. Seizing it, I told her to grow up.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land (speaker), Davy Land, Mrs. DeCuellar
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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A Boy on a Horse Quotes

They were the harshest words I'd ever heard him speak. I watched him sipping his coffee, his face foreign with misgiving. How I wanted to understand him! But I was eleven, and my brother had escaped from the pit where my vanity had placed him (a vain notion itself, Swede has since pointed out, yet it was certainty to me). How could my father not be joyous over such a thing? Who in this world could ask for more?

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Swede Land, Davy Land
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

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"She wasn't his wife!" Swede flared. Past tense, you notice—history, even the fictive kind, being beyond our influence.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sunny Sundown
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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At War with This Whole World Quotes

I feared the outcome of honest speech—that it might reach forward in time and arrange events to come. If I told Swede I wanted Davy back, even at the cost of his freedom, might that not happen? And if I said what I sensed was the noble thing... might that not bring despair on this whole crusade of ours?

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Davy Land
Related Symbols: Valdez
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

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Could a person believe so strongly one way, yet take the opposite route? I wanted to ask Swede, but again, if I posed it aloud, it might become true, and then we were in for all sorts of tangles.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Davy Land, August Schultz
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

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Something Warm Quotes

"Well," I said, "he wrote a whole book and it's in the Bible." Even Dad, much as I loved him, didn't have anything in there.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Swede Land
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Skin Bag Quotes

I thought it was odd, the trainman not recognizing him and raising a stink, but Swede pointed out that this sort of thing happened all the time. How many times did Zorro gallop magnificently out of town, everyone watching, then show up five minutes later as Diego, still breathing hard? And no one ever figured that out.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Roxanna Crawley
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Red Farm Quotes

"I can't," he replied, after a moment. "You know that, Swede." He looked, right then, for the first time in years, his age, which was seventeen.

Related Characters: Davy Land (speaker), Reuben Land, Jeremiah Land (Dad), Swede Land
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:

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Swede Land Character Timeline in Peace Like a River

The timeline below shows where the character Swede Land appears in Peace Like a River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Clay
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...Miracles, he explains, aren't everyday things like sunshine; rather, miracles "contradict the will of earth." Swede, Reuben's sister, says often that miracles are fearful to people, and also that miracles don't... (full context)
His Separate Shadow
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...asleep immediately to avoid it. Davy and Dad sat in front silently, while Reuben and Swede snuggled in the backseat. (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
On the morning of the hunt, Dad, Davy, Reuben, and Swede settle into the field amongst their decoys. Reuben and Swede are too young to actually... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Swede races after the goose, which finally falls to the ground 80 yards away. The goose,... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...Reuben insists on doing it himself, since he's now a hunter. Davy leaves Reuben and Swede to the task. Swede sits on a grain truck and asks Reuben to forgive her... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Reuben says that he doesn't understand what's going on with Dad and Davy. Swede explains that she heard in the car last night that Israel Finch and Tommy Basca... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Davy misses pancakes, but Dad doesn't comment. After pancakes Dad, Reuben, and Swede nap, but Reuben wakes to see Davy sitting on his bed oiling his gun. Davy... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Reuben explains that a "crawlup" entails belly crawling up to unsuspecting geese. Swede pretends to be a Sioux “brave” sneaking up on a cowboy, and Reuben says he... (full context)
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That night, Reuben and Swede lie snuggled under mounds of quilts. Swede wonders if Davy will fight Israel Finch and... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Swede decides to go back to her own room. After kissing Reuben, she remarks that he's... (full context)
Beauteous Are My Cakes Indeed
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
When the Lands arrive back home in Roofing, with Swede fast asleep in Dad's arms and Reuben struggling for breath, they find the front door... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...for a day and a half before routine took over. Reuben struggles through schoolwork while Swede tries to sidestep long division by composing epic poems about the cowboy Sunny Sundown for... (full context)
Your Toughened Heart
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Reuben offers an excerpt of a poem Swede has been working on, in which Sunny Sundown prepares to destroy his adversary, Valdez. At... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Israel makes Swede sit in his lap as he and Tommy drive away from the Land house. Reuben... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Swede says nothing about what happened to her. The next day she pulls out her doll... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Swede turns nine the following morning. Dad, Davy, and Reuben wake her up in the morning... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...house. Davy runs around to look and when he returns, he says it's Tin Lurvy. Swede looks stricken. Dad invites Lurvy in for coffee, and Reuben explains that Lurvy is a... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
As Davy and Reuben walk, Davy asks Reuben if he saw Swede's bruises. They wonder if Dad is afraid of Israel and Tommy. Davy asks Reuben if... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Swede's birthday dinner is the Land family's favorite chowder. When Reuben and Davy enter the house,... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Tin Lurvy leaves not long after cake. Rain falls outside and Swede wonders if it'll turn to snow. Dad trips over Swede's saddle on his way to... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...in hand, shoots twice at them. Israel dies immediately, but Tommy tries to crawl away. Swede flies out of her room and Dad appears suddenly to yank her into the bathroom... (full context)
Peeking at Eternity
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...if Reuben tried to cast what happened in a "redemptive glow." Reuben, Davy, Dad, and Swede wait for Ted Pullet, and Reuben babbles that Davy hadn't meant to do it. Davy... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...happened after the tornado. She stuck around long enough to give birth to Reuben and Swede, and then left to marry a doctor in Chicago. (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...visit Davy the next day. At the end of their visit, Dad sends Reuben and Swede out so he can talk to Davy alone. Dad's quiet when he returns, and later... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...counts of manslaughter rather than murder, because Israel and Tommy had been bent on "mischief." Swede finds this incredulous. Thomas DeCuellar, Davy's defense attorney, begins to visit. Reuben says he knew... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
One morning, Swede refuses to come out of her room, declaring that she's working and doesn't want to... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Swede remains in her room working on her poem. One day, Reuben finds Dr. Nokes standing... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That night, Swede comes into Reuben's room with a sleeping bag and asks to sleep in Davy's bed.... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Swede reads Reuben several options for Valdez's death. Reuben thinks they sound fine, but Swede insists... (full context)
When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...more than ready to write about Davy as a murderer, and the timing seems predestined. Swede makes snide comments and remains resentful of this turn of events and of Israel and... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...tells the Lands not to talk to reporters and leaves after a big hug from Swede. (full context)
Late in the Night When the Fires Are Out
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...Afterwards, they head to the courthouse, where they're not allowed to visit Davy. Reuben and Swede pace the hallway until someone offers them a private office where they can wait. Mr.... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...seems to have little effect on the jury. Reuben, terrified at having to testify, asks Swede to help him rewrite his narrative to make Davy look better, but Mr. DeCuellar insists... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That night, Reuben and Swede sleep in sleeping bags in the DeCuellars’ study. Swede states that they're going to lose,... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...began to feel dangerously confident. Elvis walks Reuben through the events of the night of Swede's abduction, and Reuben finally repeats Davy's phrase about putting a biting dog down. Elvis looks... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That night, Reuben agrees to break Davy out of jail. Swede and Reuben make childish plans, and Reuben explains to the reader why he mentioned Davy's... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
After Reuben and Swede go to bed, they arm themselves with stolen steak knives tucked into their belts. Reuben... (full context)
A Boy on a Horse
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Reuben says that Swede delighted in finding out that Davy escaped by pony, but they didn't find this fact... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That same night, Reuben falls asleep listening to Swede typing away in her own room. He wakes to find a poem on the floor... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Reuben asks Swede what happened to Valdez. Tears well up in Swede's eyes as she admits that she... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...and then hitchhiked. The newspapers continue to paint Davy in a heroic light, which delights Swede. Dad, however, becomes sad and stops answering the phone. He spends his nights praying over... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
The snowstorms begin the first week of December, and Reuben and Swede don't go back to school. Swede amasses a stack of schoolbooks in her room to... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Reuben keeps reading new installments of Swede's epic poem. A woman who isn't Sunny's wife rescues him from his unjust execution, which... (full context)
By the Grace of Lurvy
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...the Lands—Dad finds irregular work, but soon comes down with a bad cough. Reuben and Swede wonder if they could look appropriately grateful if they receive only oranges for Christmas like... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
...be able to handle pneumonia. Back in the narrative, Dr. Nokes convinces Reuben that while Swede needs practice being a nurse and should care for Dad, Reuben should talk to Mr.... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...Reuben struggles to make any progress with his crowbar. When he returns home for lunch, Swede offers him a bowl of villing (milk and sugar with dumplings). Reuben isn't impressed and... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Swede tells Reuben that Dad is worse, and his lungs are filling up like Reuben's do.... (full context)
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...corncrib was the hardest work he'd ever done at that point, he realized soon that Swede's job of caring for Dad was harder. One night, after Reuben returns home, he stands... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...there to watch as he piles up the slats and posts. When he gets home, Swede is in a foul mood. She takes Dad his dinner but won't speak to Reuben.... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Swede and Reuben spend two days wondering what fantastic things $25 could buy. Reuben wishes he... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Later that morning, Reuben tells Swede that he'd like to buy a canoe. Swede replies that they're out of food and... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Reuben lists some of the foodstuffs he and Swede buy. Dad is especially happy with the coffee, and remarks on Reuben's strength as he... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
That night, Swede tells Reuben how the outlaw Cole Younger was captured after a bank raid. The night... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
On Christmas Eve morning, Swede wakes early and begins preparing Christmas dinner, saying she can't wait for actual Christmas. Reuben... (full context)
The Substance of Things Hoped For
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
One day in January, Swede returns from the post office bearing a postcard from August Schultz. Apparently Davy stopped in... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
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Dad, Reuben, and Swede leave on January 22. They stop the Plymouth (their old car) at the post office... (full context)
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...anticipation of the weeks before. Not long after they cross the border into North Dakota, Swede points out a black shape in the road ahead and asks what it is. As... (full context)
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Dad, Reuben, and Swede reach August and Birdie's house late in the afternoon. Their arrival rouses Reuben from a... (full context)
The Last Thing He Would Do
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...say he looked good but skinny, and August admits that he wasn't dressed warmly enough. Swede asks if Davy misses them, and Birdie tells her that Davy said being without his... (full context)
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Swede feigns exhaustion, but Dad sees right through it. Reuben explains that Dad is well aware... (full context)
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...that his primary response to witnessing the shooting was missing Davy. Reuben's mind wanders, but Swede tells him later that Birdie said Davy would never turn himself in. (full context)
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Over breakfast, August winks several times at Reuben while Swede pouts at having been left out. Dad calls Reuben "Natty Bumppo" (a character from Last... (full context)
At War with This Whole World
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Swede had convinced Dad to allow her to bring both her saddle her typewriter on the... (full context)
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Reuben offers a few lines of Swede's writing that mention stealing their brother back. The thought of "stealing" Davy troubles Reuben. Reuben... (full context)
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Swede asks why August gave Davy the Studebaker if he wanted Davy to turn himself in.... (full context)
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Reuben asks Swede what she's writing about, which turns out to be nightshirts. They discuss why August wears... (full context)
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...beans. After lunch Reuben and Dad take a nap, but Reuben wakes minutes later to Swede saying that Andreeson is parked across the park. Reuben creeps out of his bunk to... (full context)
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...Andreeson says that they don't have to be enemies, which Dad refutes. Andreeson leaves and Swede bursts in through the door moments later. Reuben thinks that he hadn't noticed she even... (full context)
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Swede makes coffee and swings into her saddle. She quickly types up several verses about a... (full context)
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Reuben and Swede sit in the back of the Airstream on Dad's bed to watch the highway disappear... (full context)
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...station but decides to pass it by. He states that the price is high, but Swede whispers to Reuben that a state officer was sitting at the station. Dad passes several... (full context)
Something Warm
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...police officer. He asks the reader to "make of it what you will." That night, Swede tells Reuben that Dad is just like Moses parting the Red Sea. Reuben believes this... (full context)
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Reuben wonders why Andreeson went to such lengths to find them. Swede says she expected it, and cagily says that Andreeson is still in Linton. She finally... (full context)
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...Mandan, Dad pulls over, uses the spare ten gallons, and lies down with a headache. Swede reminds Dad that it's Saturday, and that gas stations will be closed the following day.... (full context)
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Later, Swede asks Reuben why they even have to buy more gas after miraculously evading state troopers... (full context)
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...doesn't know if Dad prays for "them" (miracles) or if they just happen. He reminds Swede of the miracle of his birth, and goes on to detail several other of Dad's... (full context)
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...next morning. The trailer ran out of propane in the night, so Reuben, Dad, and Swede eat dry cereal for breakfast since the milk is frozen. As Reuben kneels on the... (full context)
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...Plymouth. They pass through several towns and take note of all the closed gas stations. Swede mentions that Teddy Roosevelt ranched not far from where they are currently in North Dakota.... (full context)
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...months ago. Dad offers his sympathies and the woman's reply includes multi-syllabic words that thrill Swede. Dad asks to buy gas. The woman abruptly shuts the door but returns a few... (full context)
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Reuben, Swede, and Dad wait inside while Roxanna fills the propane tank. A nanny goat and her... (full context)
The Skin Bag
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Roxanna serves her guests a fantastic meal. Dad looks content and Swede appears deep in thought. Roxanna tells them that she grew up in Montana. Her mother... (full context)
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...Reuben how his breathing is, embarrassing Reuben. He tells Dad it's fine and he and Swede head to bed. (full context)
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...bag made of skin comes to steal his breath. He wakes, scared and confused, to Swede crying, Dad holding him, and someone thumping his back. In his confusion Reuben tries to... (full context)
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...Reuben wakes the next morning, he looks out the window to see snow hip deep. Swede is gone from her bed, and Reuben yells for her. The house is empty, and... (full context)
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Swede wakes Reuben up several hours later, excited by the deep snow and the fact that... (full context)
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Reuben tackles Swede to the ground. Swede easily wins the scuffle, stands up, and yells at Reuben to... (full context)
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Swede confesses that she really did forget about Davy for a while. She says she likes... (full context)
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...leave, and suggests they'll probably get arrested as soon as they hit the road again. Swede finds the idea that they're fugitives thrilling. Reuben calms her by reminding her of Tom... (full context)
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It takes the county snowplows days to reach the house, so Reuben and Swede fill their days helping Roxanna with chores. One day, as Roxanna cleans out the goat... (full context)
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...are coming. He tells Roxanna that they can settle up and leave tomorrow. Reuben and Swede can barely stand the idea of leaving. Roxanna smiles at Dad and asks him if... (full context)
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After the plow passes, Dad instructs Reuben and Swede to pack their things. Swede is extremely upset, and isn't comforted by Reuben's suggestion that... (full context)
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When Reuben and Swede enter the kitchen for supper, they find Roxanna standing at the counter. She turns around... (full context)
Under the Gibbon Moon
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...and everyone is warm enough to unbutton their coats. Dad and Roxanna sit down, while Swede and Reuben run off to explore. When they return to the picnic, it's obvious that... (full context)
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...invitation, introduces himself to Roxanna, and sits down on a rock to smoke a cigarette. Swede mysteriously disappears from the gathering. Andreeson tells Dad that they're getting close to Davy, and... (full context)
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Later that night, Swede and Reuben wonder why Andreeson didn't arrest them and what exactly "spookism" is. Reuben wonders... (full context)
The Throbbing Heart of News
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...doesn't wave back but turns his horse away. Reuben rushes to deliver the eggs to Swede and then return to Davy. Roxanna hears Reuben say he saw a horseman and says... (full context)
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...outside, through the barn, and begins to climb the hill. He feels adventurous and imagines Swede later telling him that taking off after the possibility of Davy was heroic. Reuben wonders... (full context)
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...Reuben gives a cursory explanation. Reuben suggests that Davy come down to Roxanna's to see Swede, but Davy gently refuses, citing the threat of Andreeson as his reasoning. Davy says that... (full context)
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When Reuben enters Roxanna's house, Swede is grumpily mixing up frosting for cinnamon rolls. Swede asks if Reuben was looking for... (full context)
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Roxanna tells Reuben and Swede that Butch Cassidy didn't die in Bolivia; rather, he died in Kansas. Swede is thrilled... (full context)
Winning Her Hand
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Reuben sleeps off and on all day. At one point he wakes to see Swede sitting next to him rifling through a new Sunny Sundown poem. Reuben reminds the reader... (full context)
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...they must be steadfast and have faith, and Reuben notes that she's using Dad's language. Swede says that if Dad says they have to leave she won't let him, and Roxanna... (full context)
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Later that night, Swede and Reuben see Dad appear by the gas pumps. They bounce excitedly in the window.... (full context)
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Dad moves out to sleep in the Airstream that night. Swede tells Reuben that it's "for honor," which she finds quite romantic. Reuben asks why they're... (full context)
Boy Ready
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...his breathing overall is getting much worse at this point in the tale. One night, Swede tells Reuben to go upstairs and not help with dishes. Reuben tries to distract Swede... (full context)
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Swede sits with Reuben reading Psalms. She tells Reuben that Dad is off courting Roxanna, and... (full context)
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Reuben decides to tell Swede about Davy, but when he opens his eyes Swede is reading her newest Sunny Sundown... (full context)
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...the shack, and Reuben feels convinced that his lungs won't get better. As he asks Swede if she'll get mad if he tells her something, they hear Dad come through the... (full context)
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...wind picks up outside, and Reuben, thinking of Davy and Sara, wonders out loud to Swede how long it'd take to freeze in the wind. Swede launches into several gruesome descriptions... (full context)
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...the guitar and singing. Reuben then goes back inside, where Roxanna is making dinner and Swede is writing Sunny Sundown's happy ending. (full context)
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When the wind finally ends, Dad, Swede, and Roxanna go outside to shovel and Reuben is tasked with waiting by the phone.... (full context)
The Ledger of Our Decisions
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Reuben tells the reader that Swede unsurprisingly took Reuben's betrayal very badly. Swede feels betrayed that Reuben didn't tell her about... (full context)
The Red Farm
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...with cleaning out the Airstream (which Dad had sold to Dr. Nokes months ago) while Swede helps pack for their impending move to a farm owned by Pastor Reach. It's a... (full context)
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...Mr. Waltzer surely put Andreeson's body in a lignite vein, but the investigator seems uninterested. Swede snappily tells Reuben that that's not satisfying for the investigators, and Reuben explains Swede's clipped... (full context)
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...isn't truly interested in him, as she soon leaves him to be with the adults. Swede comes to Reuben that night, takes his hand, and sits with him. (full context)
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...away in Mr. Waltzer's car. Davy asks if Sara can stay with Dad and Roxanna. Swede asks Davy if he'll stay too, but Davy tells her he can't. Reuben thinks that... (full context)
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...upstairs with Dad to make Sara's bed. Roxanna and Sara go to bed while Davy, Swede, Dad, and Reuben stay up talking. They talk about everything except Davy's current predicament. At... (full context)
Be Jubilant, My Feet
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...Reuben watch and listen. Dad holds Reuben's hand and tells him to take care of Swede and to work for Roxanna. Reuben thinks he wants to join the rivers of people,... (full context)
The Curious Music That I Hear
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...the house several times. Roxanna called the sheriff, Dr. Nokes, and God. Sara hid while Swede frantically searched Dad's closet for his shotgun. Reuben says that later he was told that... (full context)
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Reuben says he must finish quickly, as Swede says that "drift is the bane of epilogues." Roxanna became the Land family's rock. Sara... (full context)
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...when all except for Davy were home, they held hands around the table to pray. Swede released Reuben's left hand when the prayer ended, but Sara held onto Reuben's right. (full context)
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...a small hunting town in Canada. Reuben goes every year to see the geese migrate. Swede went with Reuben twice, but Davy never appears when she's there. The first time Reuben... (full context)