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Swift Dam by Sid Gustafson. It had been a long snowy winter and spring. The rivers were late rising, and the mountains held onto a pure white snow-cover. Rain fell upon the deep winter snow the day before the Flood of '64. Waters rose, the rivers raged. The dam failed to hold the Birch Creek flow, and broke, giving way to a wall of water and drowning the Indians. ​Veterinarian Alphonse Vallerone dreams out this novel of dreamers dreaming. He goes back 40 years to the day after the Flood, when he assisted the surviving Indians. Riding from one devastated ranch to another, he tends to the surviving yet devastated animals and tries to mend the grief wrought by the Flood. Underpinned by the lingering and harsh reminders of the Blackfeet Nation’s heroic, tragic, and vibrant past, Gustafson’s third novel chronicles the heartrending drama of the Blackfeet people. Swift Dam celebrates the native land and the Natives who survive as they have survived throughout time, perilously. It is the story of a veterinarian who attempts to sustain and nurture life on the land, his empathy with the living, and his sympathy for the dead and dying.

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Montana Quarterly Magazine
Book Review, Spring ‘07

Horses They Rode
By Sid Gustafson
Riverbend Publishing, 288 pages
Reviewed by Justin Easter

Bozeman author and veterinarian Sid Gustafson has the rare ability to take you from your seat and place you directly in his novel.
He accomplishes this in Horses They Rode not with the all-too-common literary tactics we are used to, but through the use of fascinating imagery. While giving the reader familiar points in Montana to use as reference, Gustafson transports his readers into a different countryside than the one we see from our windows.
Gustafson brings his reader into a world where Indians and cowboys live together, and before the novel even progresses, the affect of this relationship, however strained, is evident to the reader. The nomadic qualities of Gustafson’s characters echo throughout the novel and resonate in any reader who has felt an itch for exploration.
If you are interested in opening a book that will captivate your imagination while encouraging introspection, you need not look further than Horses They Rode. You may put this novel down wondering about the spirit of the mountains, the relationships you have with people around you, or even the relationship you have with yourself. This is, of course, not surprising when you realize Gustafson is using his own experiences to masterfully shape his characters.
Expect to read one of the finer stories related to quickly dissipating Montana culture, and one of the most impressive novels written by a Montana author this year. Hold on to your emotions, because there will most likely be an instant when Gustafson is able to open your mind in a way that is truly fascinating.

Justin Easter







Novels and animal care books.

Novel, the Flood of '64
Fingers Vallerone, veterinarian extraordinaire, drives this novel across the landscape of the Rocky Mountain Front. In a bookstore near you, soon. Release March 2016.
Dr Gustafson's Equine Behavior Educational Services
Horse Behaviour, The Language of Horses, Resolving Unwelcome Behaviors in Horses, Ethical Care of the Horse, The Merging of Horses and Humans
Equine Behaviour
The merging of horses and humans.
High Plains Book of the Year 2007
Now Available in Fine Bookstores Everywhere
Literary Fiction
Outback Montana Wilderness Novel
Animal Care
dog first aid, accident prevention, injury assessment, canine behavior, dog injury treatments