Determined Homesteader's Children
Offspring of the Determined Homesteader
and the Determined Homesteader's Wife
. Homesteaders tended to have as many kids as they could manage, resulting in Massive Numbered Siblings
. They provided a future for the homestead (and when old enough could homestead adjacent territory to add to the family farm), were a handy source of free labor, and - let's face it - there wasn't much else to do on long winter nights. And they were often willing to take in foster children of relatives or neighbors.
Most visual media will go for smaller numbers of children, to save on budget, screen focus and the difficulties of working with child actors. Even literary works often cut it down for the focus problem. This is not usually Justified
by having high child mortality, which was, in Real Life
, what usually kept the count of children down.
Perhaps the most frequent use of the Determined Homesteader's Children
in fiction is to have one befriend The Drifter
, inducing the stranger to help the homesteaders against whatever hazard the farm is facing.
- Little Joey Starrett in Shane befriends Shane. "Come back Shane! Come back!"
- The film versions of Vilhelm Moberg's Emigrants suite included seven of Karl Oskar and Kristina's eight children, leaving out the baby that died shortly after birth.
- Laura Ingalls and her siblings from the Little House on the Prairie series, based on the author's real experiences as a homesteader's child.
- Dorothy Gale of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the foster child of determined homesteaders in the original book.
- Marty in Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series starts off pregnant with one kid, and gets married to Clark partly because he wants her to look after his four-year-old, Missie. Over the course of the next few books, Marty has several children, and somewhere along the line she ends up taking in two girls from a widower who's leaving town. And then just as her kids start having kids, Marty ends up having another girl (she's embarrassed to have a baby who'll be younger than the baby's nieces and nephews, but the kids think it's great). That's one big clan she's got going for her.
- The Dear America series has multiple examples in books such as Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie and West to a Land of Plenty.
- American Girl has the Swedish immigrant families in the Kirsten books.
- John Steinbeck's The Leader of the People has this as the central conflict. What happens when the Determined Homesteader's Children grow up, with children of their own? Thanks to their parents' grit and determination in carving out a life for them, don't have to face the same hardships and may even become arrogant and dismissive of their sacrifices.
- Karl Oskar and Kristina's children in The Emigrants.
- The book "Shane" introduces Robert Macpherson Starrett; "Too much name for a boy. I make it Bob." The story is told as his grown-up recollections of the events of his childhood.
- In Dark Life, Ty and his family are homesteaders under the sea.