The narrator of this novel is the sheriff’s son, David. His Uncle Frank is a doctor and Grandfather Julian was the sheriff as well. David’s family lived just across the street from the courthouse. In late summer of 1948, one afternoon, though, his family’s live-in Indian sitter, Marie Little Soldier, falls sick with pneumonia. When she vehemently objects to being seen by David’s doctor uncle, the summer breaks apart in a fast-moving story of betrayal and tragedy. Uncle Frank is a threatener, he raped Marie when he was diagnosing at her.
As a sheriff, David’s father Wesley must choose between loyalty to his family and the justice he is sworn to uphold. While Wesley was investigating about his younger brother, Marie was killed at his house. As a result, Wesley decided to lock Frank into his basement until he found enough evidence to arrest him. After Wesley told Frank’s wife Gail what had happened to Frank, she told Julian about that. As a result, Julian went to Wesley’s house and asked him to release Frank, but Wesley refused to do that. The next day, Julian asked four workers who were working at his ranch to come to Wesley’s house in order to rescue Frank.
At the end of the novel, one night before Wesley put his younger brother, Frank, in to the jail, Frank broke jars and suicide at the basement. Overall this novel, I think the author tried to tell a story about the struggles of a family torn between loyalty and justice. First of all, I would like to talk about the internal conflict which indicates Wesley knows that Frank may rape Maire but he still refused to arrest him. At the beginning of the second section, Wesley began to investigate whether Frank raped Marie or not. After he got some evidences showing that Frank raped some Indian girls before, he still couldn’t believe Frank’s crime.
I think that’s because Frank is his brother. He loves him. He already had enough evidence to put him in jail, but he still needs to find more evidences to persuade himself. Between loyalty and justice, at that point, Wesley chose loyalty. By his partiality, Frank got time to murder Marie. After that happened, Wesley still refused to put Frank in jail; instead, he put Frank in the basement and Frank suicide at the end of the novel. In my opinion, if in the beginning, Wesley chose justice rather than loyalty—put Frank into jail, nobody needs to die. Marie will not be murdered; Frank will be punished by law.
In this case, I think Wesley is not a responsible man. When I was in middle school, my mum was doing a case about a man who was working for a state-owned enterprise. I can’t remember exactly, but pretty sure that his family name is Lee. At that time, Mr. Lee was the Chief Executive Officer for that company and he controlled average 1. 5 billion dollars every year. Once, he united someone also working in the company, cheating on the Financial Report and moved part of the investment to their own account. In order to avoid being suspected, they transferred that money into the accounts which are in Hong Kong.
Several months later, the Chief Finance Officer found the problem and reported to the police-officer. The accessory was arrested soon but Mr. Lee got the wind of the action and ran away to the Africa. Therefore, the policeman went to his home and asked his wife and father that whether they know where Lee is or not. They told a lie to the policeman, so it is unavoidable that after Lee was arrested, his wife and father also be arrested. I think one of the biggest similar points of these two criminal cases is both of Frank and Lee’s family member chose loyalty rather than justice.
Overall in the novel, I think Marie’s death is a tragedy. However, Frank’s death is a bigger one than Marie’s. That’s because Wesley noticed that Frank may rape Indian girls and he still didn’t put him into the jail, I know he was suffering the pain of punishing his brother. As a result, at the end of the novel, he still thought he should take the responsibility of Frank’s death. Same with Lee’s case, when his family member noticed his crime, nobody wants to hold the justice and put him into the jail. Since they cooked up such a silly story before the policeman, they had to be smitten by the law.
The biggest difference between these two cases I think is that both Lee and his family members were smitten by the law, but Frank was not. Since he raped Marie and several Indian girls, he needs to be smitten by the law. In my opinion, the biggest punishment is not the death penalty. On the contrary, for some of the outlaws, death penalty is kind of release for them. Therefore, I think the justice in the summer of 1948 in Montana had not being upheld. With Frank’s death, justice will be buried in the tomb forever.