Unlike I usually do, I didn't read the Amazon reviews of "One Thousand White Women - The Journals of May Dodd" before purchasing it, had I done so I'd have probably passed it by and that would have been a shame. Sure, the characters are stereotypical, the situations unlikely, but it's fiction, not a biography or an essay on the Indian culture.
The premise: a Cheyenne chief asks the U.S. government for a thousand white women as brides for his warriors so that their people may be more easily assimilated into white culture. The U.S. government and genteel populace denounce the chief's suggestion in public, but in private, the government begins to engineer the BFI (Brides for Indians) program. They approach women from the lower echelons of society, lunatic asylum residents, criminals, ex-slaves and immigrants. Those poor, downtrodden and without other options are given a chance at beginning new lives on a new, untamed frontier, with people different from anything they'd ever known. Many accept. May Dodd is among them and, freed from an asylum by the BFI, journals her experience and through her narration we follow the women from the bustling, grimy, overcrowded streets of Chicago through the ever changing landscapes as they travel west to their new lives.
This is an often fantastical take on what if? scenario, but if you're willing to take off your critical thinker's cap and just enjoy a story, it's a great read.