Violence and Innocence
Love and Betrayal
Butchery and Grace

Creek Indian lands were opened for settlement; Dawes Act
After his stint in jail, a different Rufus Buck emerged. He grew enraged by what he considered the theft of Indian lands. He decided it was his duty to rid the land of those who, in his eyes, did not belong. He embarked on a deadly reign of terror to wrest the land back. With his gang of four younger teens—one Negro freedman and three Creek Indians—Rufus Buck rampaged through the territories for thirteen days. The Rufus Buck Gang stole, murdered, raped and whipped the populace into a frenzy of animal terror unknown even in this violent place.

In
I Dreamt I Was in Heaven: The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang, child-man Rufus Buck rampages for vengeance. He does it for a twisted sort of love of the extraordinary Theodosia Swain. He does it for the same reason Judge Parker’s mortal illness and exposure to the idea of men as animals drives him to hide the truth from the world—desperation to fly as close as a man can to immortality.

In
I Dreamt I Was in Heaven, famous, historical individuals dance with fictional characters to create a turn-of-the-century tapestry of violence and innocence, butchery and grace—mirroring and chafing against the backdrop of a burgeoning United States and a disappearing American West.


Next