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O Pioneers! by Willa Sibert Cather
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O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather


The Wild Land


One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover,
anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown
away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the
cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under
a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the
tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in
overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves,
headed straight for the open plain. None of them had any appearance
of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over
them. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard,
which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator"
at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond
at the south end. On either side of this road straggled two uneven
rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two
banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office.
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