Summary: Ben took the leadership of his wagon train when the group decided to keep moving to Fort Laramie after the tragedy at Ash Hollow. With their journey nearly complete, Ben rides ahead to make arrangements with the cavalry at the fort, leaving others to move the wagons the 15 miles from the final campsite. He’s excited to see his group arrive, but soon realizes all is not well.
Summary: Adam’s unexpected illness; an unexpected visitor, and Ben’s unexpected reaction to a developing situation leaves the Cartwright home in upheaval. Can the information this stranger holds, bring healing to old and new wounds?
Summary: Adam’s life begins to fall apart after a lie told by another student at Harvard results in him being expelled. He struggles to understand how he could have done everything right and still lose everything he worked so hard to accomplish. He must listen to the wisdom of those who love him, look deep into his own heart and find the truths and lessons that forged his character into the man he became.
Summary: The Cartwright family should have returned to normal after Señor and Delores Tenino left for Mexico, but it hasn’t. Hoss, Adam and Joe have been surly and avoiding one another since the lovely young woman left, and Ben can’t understand what’s driving it. He senses that what had started as a competition to win the young lady’s heart, had left some unexpected wounds behind. When circumstances and harsh words fracture his family even more, Ben decides he must force his sons to take stock of what they’re about to lose, in the one way he thinks will work. A What Happened Later story, for Ponderosa Matador.
Summary: Ben is enjoying a hunting trip with Adam when it takes an unexpected turn and forces a detour to the cabin in the woods where the Cartwrights first lived and trapped on the Ponderosa. Adam has not been there since he was a child, and Ben is filled with trepidation over how his son might remember those days. All seems well, even though a few of Ben’s memories leave him wondering what his son is thinking. Then a vivid dream about a incident from Adam’s childhood leaves him thoroughly shaken, and he finally finds out just what Adam thought of his early years on the Ponderosa. This story occurs a year after Adam got back from school in Boston.
Summary: Ben, Hoss and Little Joe head to Boston to be with Adam after receiving the devastating news that the entire Wadsworth family had perished at sea. The Wadsworths had adopted Adam into their family when he’d been a student, and they’d renewed their support and friendship when he’d returned to marry Melinda and start a family twelve years later. Ben and the two brother find Adam coping, but staggering under the weight of his pain. Adding to his loss, Adam may lose his command over Wadsworth Engineering–the firm he’d helped make into a thriving business–when Frank Wadsworth’s will names an heir. Will this accumulation of loss be the final straw for Adam? Can the love and support of his family: his father and brothers from the West, and his grandfather, wife and children in the East, sustain him as he faces the absence of even more people he’d loved?
Rating: PG (52,135 words)
One Step Closer Series, links to stories within the series are included.
Summary: Adam is running the ranch alone while his family takes a spring trip to San Francisco. All has gone well, but a change in the weather heralds an unexpected chain of events that Adam must deal with. When Ben, Hoss, and Joe return, they find an empty ranch…and a mystery.
Summary: Adam has been away at school for two years when he starts having vivid dreams about his youngest brother. He wonders why his memories center around Little Joe even while he misses his entire family. What he is about to find out will shake his certainty about many things and make him look for a clue hidden in his dreams.
Summary: In this early prequel, Ben Cartwright and 4-year-old Adam stop in Cleveland where pay was good at the docks. Ben hopes to earn enough to start the final leg of their journey to Missouri, and a wagon train west. But a couple at their boarding house have plans for Adam that don’t include Ben. The story ends 26 years later as Ben helps Adam recall the ordeal and the outcome.
Summary: Farmer Perkins and Sam Bryant are dead and Ben is safe, yet his sons are at odds. Little Joe and Adam’s argument tears them apart, and Hoss realizes that while his father survived, the bond between his other brothers died at dawn. Ben wants to solve things but must step back to let his sons find their way back to each other.