Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:1 (Winter 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


1996 marks the centennial year of Mari Susette Sandoz's birth to Swiss immigrant parents, Mary and Jules Sandoz, on a homestead in Sheridan County, Nebraska. Mari, the oldest of the six children in the Sandoz family, was shaped and hardened by her father's temper and by bearing the brunt of hard physical work both outdoors on the homestead and as her mother's helper. The people of her neighborhood were the kind of people who not only witnessed but made history, the kind of people whose lives and stories could be transformed into literature. Red Cloud, Robert Henri, Crazy Horse, "Gulla Slogum," Dull Knife, even her father Jules, and many others became the subjects of the pen and typewriter of Mari Sandoz.