The Return of Little Big Man Summary
Thomas Berger

Everything you need to understand or teach The Return of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger.

  • The Return of Little Big Man Summary & Study Guide

The Return of Little Big Man Summary

A central theme of the novel is Jack Crabb's desire to find social respectability and love in the years following the battle of the Little Big Horn. As the story opens, Crabb is virtually a derelict, having been rescued from destitution by Hickok's surprising charity. By the novel's close, Crabb has mastered several social roles, and has acquired some moral stature, although he remains something of an outsider. The novel chronicles Crabb's middle years, from 1875 to 1893, beginning with his brief period in Deadwood (where he witnesses the murder of Hickok) and taking the reader through his successful courtship of Amanda at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Another theme in the novel is the conflict of wilderness and civilization in the West, as described in various gunfights. In much of the novel, Crabb is an observer of famous events in the West—notably, the murder of Wild Bill...

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