The Land of Little Rain
Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) moved with her family from Illinois to the desert on the edge of the San Joaquin Valley in 1888. In the next fifteen years she moved from one desert community to another, working on her sketches of desert and Indian life. Spending the last years of her life in Santa Fe, Austin remained a lifelong defender of Native Americans and was recoginzed as an expert in Native American poetry. The land of little rain (1903), Austin's first book, focuses on the arid and semi-arid regions of California between the High Sierras south of Yosemite: the Ceriso, Death Valley, the Mojave Desert; and towns such as Jimville, Kearsarge, and Las Uvas. She writes of the region's climate, plants, and animals and of its people: the Ute, Paiute, Mojave, and Shoshone tribes; European-American gold prospectors and borax miners; and descendants of Hispanic settlers.