In 1874, Bismarck is the Northern Pacific Railway’s terminus and the drop-off point for gold prospectors and thirsty soldiers. The boom town of 1,200 has 18 saloons and 7 brothels; They dubbed it, ‘one of the wickedest cities in the west’.
Civil War Veteran, Theo Stern, starts a new life there and gets entangled in a murder cover-up, placing him at odds against the Dakota Territory’s most powerful man. In jail, he wakes from dreams of a Sioux Chief and reunites with a gunslinging army pal. He finds friends among the city leaders and foes in the river bottoms. New hopes develop when he meets his soulmate.
Plans flourish when Theo, his father, and his brother develop their farmstead. A staggering blow lands when General Custer jails his brother across the river at Ft Lincoln. The next blow strikes when his true love vanishes. A dynamite blast delivers the final blow.
Theo escapes a corrupt sheriff’s charges by enlisting for steamboat duty and departs for the Bighorn Expedition and the search for Sitting Bull. Everything changes when a recurring nightmare comes true and Theo wonders if he will survive the outcome.
My 42 Year Summer Job
A Railroad memoir
“Whatever happened to the cabooses?” That question and many other technical and cultural changes are illustrated by a career that originated with a detour on a seasonal steel gang. The plan gets derailed by a baby and options are scarce. Burlington Northern Railway is prospering and a life on the rails becomes a viable pursuit.
LM Kuntz describes a troubled past that eventually leads to becoming radically saved, which changes everything. His marriage, and spiritual growth grow along his often-dangerous path.
My Summer Job recounts a frontline involvement, noting the humor, the comradery and the big moments—with no shortage of adversaries. He encounter’s Jesus during a low point and his life is never the same. His railroad experience defines how technology and policy evolved, from covered wagon diesel engines to modern intelligent locomotives, from four and five-person teams down to two-man crews. Les also offers how-to descriptions and industry insight, from spiking a tie to stopping a 16K ton train. Despite life threatening weather, derailments, and fatalities, his journey continues as God leads, pursuing a position that fits. After an Amtrak stint and a return to the high prairies, the westward quest revisits Southern California.
An hour from the ocean; in the shadow of the San Bernardino Mountain, close to family, with year-round golf, seems to be a perfect place and destiny seems complete—except for one more obstacle… can he survive the inquest?
This was a terrific read! LM Kuntz brings delivers a tale of struggle, survival, self-discovery, redemption and retribution. One fun train ride of a book!
-Pastor Denny Sattler
I literally gasped aloud a couple times while reading this book—not to mention the giggles. I never knew all the work that goes on behind the scenes of making a train run. I loved reading this memoir!