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Publisher's Summary

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the Western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.

The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world.

Toward that end, May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetimes.

Author Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

©1998 Jim Fergus; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"Fergus lets his imagination go wild and creates a journal of one of his ancestors who became one of those brides in 1875. Laura Hicks renders this imaginative work splendidly. She is vivacious and expressive as May Dodd." (Audiofile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Glory
  • Thomasville, NC
  • 07-25-09

Incredible FICTION

I did not realize that this was a work of fiction until after I completed listening, but regardless, this is an incredible story. The main character of May and her friends are all completely 3 dimensional. Loved the narration. This is a beautiful, well crafted work of historical fiction.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good story, well read, you know how it ends

A fascinating story well told, if you're one of those who can actually suspend disbelief. I always think I'm not, but I do get caught up in the tale.

The fact that the scenario is entirely implausible lurks behind every scene, but a memorable cast of characters does emerge. The heroine is good-hearted, iconoclastic, rebellious, loyal, strong and funny, and the "history" rings true.

The language waffles between attempting to sound authentically mid-19th century, as one would expect in a personal journal, and quite modern, as in "God, Martha, that would be very low on my list of priorities." Still, an entertaining and predictably tragic story.

I like this reader very much. Pleasant voice, good characterizations, and no creepy transgender voices when reading the male characters' lines.

If you're looking for an entertaining story, by all means, have a listen. But if you read to fight insomnia, this is not your choice. I couldn't sleep the rest of the night after I finished the story.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One interesting woman is better than one thousand!

I expected the everyday details between the white women and the Native Americans these women had chosen to marry as their lives moved forward. Instead there is not much conversation at all in this book, context is taken from "journals" written by one of the woman. There were some dramatic moments, funny situations and characters that made me laugh, it is just too bad more character development or time was not spent to make the novel much more interesting. I would start to care about certain characters, but then the story would curve and we would never hear much about that person again. The novel seemed very unrealistic, and as if it had huge holes in it. I would not recommend it.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mary
  • Hansville, WA
  • 11-29-11

What a great experience

This book took me back to the late 1800's and how it was for the native americans in those days. This book treats them with the respect they deserve. I loved the voice of this book both the narrator and the story!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Excellent book. The reader does a terrific job at adding to the story through her expressions. This book is intriguing and funny and horrific all at the same time. Excellent!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rae
  • Sedgwick, KS, United States
  • 09-12-10


I loved this book. It sucks you in from the very beginning. If you enjoy historical fiction, then don't miss reading this book. It's a good one!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An enjoyable listen

I have recently started a long commute and decided to start listening to audio books to help with long drives. My friend had recommended this book, as she had just finished reading it. She had told me it was a non-fiction account of a white woman who was sold to Indians. OK, so that description is more than a little off! Still I enjoyed the entirely fictional account of a group of white women (and one black) and their touching and often heartbreaking venture into the Cheyenne Indian culture as part of the Indian Bride program.

The voice actor that voiced the book was amazing - giving each character a distinct sound. She truly brought life to the words and made the book an enjoyable listen. I couldn't wait to turn it on.

I hesitate to give it 5 stars, just because it is often violent and has a less than upbeat ending, but I did love it!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Beverly
  • silver spring, MD, USA
  • 03-29-08

Enjoyable listen

I listened because my book club selected it but it was a pleasant surprise...engaging, would recommmend it. The cowboys vs the indians from another point of view...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debra
  • Twin Bridges, MT, United States
  • 02-04-10

Problems with the recording

I would have given this book 5 stars but there are some problem with the recording. The story and the narrator are very good. Audible needs to audit the recording and fix the garbles, missing spots, etc.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-26-15

Good story telling and kept my interest,

but too much tragedy for me.

40 white women live with a group of Cheyenne Indians in 1875. It’s educational about how the Indians lived. It was a hard painful life. Yet there was happiness, friendship and love among the women and Indians. But, the reader knows bad things are coming. You knew the whites killed buffalo to destroy the Indians’ food. You knew the lands would be taken from Indians and the Indians forced onto reservations.

There were more tragic events. Before going to the Indians, May fell in love with someone her father did not like. So the father put May in an insane asylum. It was solitary confinement in a dark cell. She was periodically raped by a worker. She also suffered torture treatments ordered by the doctor.

There is repeated rape of a young black slave girl and two rape scenes of white women. No details were shown, but we see feelings and fears of the victims.

A couple falls in love but can’t be together. Women and babies were killed.

During most of the story, I was interested and engaged. The negatives I mentioned were a small part of the story, but they were what stayed with me afterwards. I did not feel good at the end. But I liked the Epilogue where the narrator told what happened to various characters and how they lived and eventually died. There was some feel good to that, but not all feel good.

This is fiction, but it feels like nonfiction. It is told in first person, reading the journals of May Dodd. At the end it is told by someone else in first person about what happened after the end of the journals. (For the record, I don’t like first person. I prefer third person.)

The audiobook narrators Laura Hicks and Erik Steele were excellent.

Narrative mode: 1st person.
Genre: western historical fiction.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful