I would not have been able to withstand the number of sad events in this story had it not been for Mattie's humor. She's a lovable protagonist who didn't deserve the pain she was forced to endure. One moment in the story that stuck with me was the revelation that it was illegal for men to abuse and starve their cattle, but it was acceptable for them to do so to their wives. In my modern frame of mind I can't even fathom how this was viewed as civil. Reading the story I felt a mingled sense of grief, for Mattie and the other women on the plains, and gratefulness that I was born in a time advanced beyond this general acceptance of what we now call barbaric treatment of women. I loved the prose, but the ending left me with an "I don't know" feeling. Sorta empty, sorta wanting more.