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Two Men of Sandy Bar; a drama   By: (1836-1902)

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In Bret Harte's "Two Men of Sandy Bar," readers are transported to the rugged landscapes of California during the Gold Rush era. Set in the small mining town of Sandy Bar, the story revolves around two men, Sandy Morton and Joe Dimmick, who couldn't be more different in nature but are united by their mutual love for a woman, Mary Morris.

Harte masterfully weaves together a tale of jealousy, loyalty, and sacrifice, capturing the essence of human emotions with depth and precision. The characters are vividly portrayed, allowing readers to empathize with their struggles and desires. Sandy, an ambitious and self-assured man, inadvertently drives Mary away with his overbearing personality. In contrast, Joe, an introverted and gentle soul, quietly observes the unfolding drama, never expressing his genuine feelings for Mary.

The narrative, enriched by Harte's sublime storytelling, brims with themes such as honor, friendship, and longing. The author skillfully explores the consequences of unrequited love and the toll it takes on both the heart and the mind. Through the townspeople's eyes, we witness the consequences of their actions, the gossip that spreads like wildfire, and the lengths individuals will go to preserve their reputations.

Harte's vivid descriptions paint a captivating picture of the untamed West, with its dusty streets, saloons, and soaring mountains. The setting acts as a character itself, shaping the lives of those residing there, adding an authentic touch to the overall narrative. The author splendidly captures the essence of the Gold Rush era, immersing readers in a world where hope and despair coexist.

One of the novel's greatest strengths lies in its exploration of the human condition. Harte delves into the complexities of human nature, showcasing the fragility of relationships and the contrast between appearances and reality. Beneath the rugged exterior of Sandy and Joe lies a tangled web of emotions, enabling readers to connect with their innermost struggles and desires.

However, despite the book's compelling narrative, some readers may find the pacing somewhat slow at times. Harte's meticulous attention to detail can occasionally lead to lengthy descriptions, which may hinder the flow of the story. Nevertheless, his mastery of language and poetic prose more than make up for these occasional lulls.

"Two Men of Sandy Bar" is a poignant tale of love, dreams, and the undeniable power of fate. Bret Harte's ability to transport readers to a bygone era while breathing life into characters rich with complexity is commendable. This powerful drama reminds us of the untold stories hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered in the depths of our own hearts.

First Page:


by Bret Harte


The Prodigals.

"SANDY".. Son of Alexander Morton, sen.

JOHN OAKHURST.. His former partner, personating the prodigal son, Sandy.

COL. STARBOTTLE.. Alexander Morton, sen.'s, legal adviser.

OLD MORTON.. Alexander Morton, sen.

DON JOSE.. Father of Jovita Castro.

CAPPER.. A detective.

CONCHO.. Major domo of Don Jose's rancho.

YORK.. An old friend of Oakhurst.

PRITCHARD.. An Australian convict.

SOAPY & SILKY.. His pals.

JACKSON.. Confidential clerk of Alexander Morton, jun., and confederate of Pritchard.

HOP SING.. A Chinese laundryman.

SERVANT of Alexander Morton, sen. POLICEMEN.

MISS MARY MORRIS.. The schoolmistress of Red Gulch, in love with Sandy, and cousin of Alexander Morton, sen.

DONA JOVITA CASTRO.. In love with John Oakhurst, and daughter of Don Jose.

THE DUCHESS.. Wife of Pritchard, illegally married to Sandy, and former "flame" of John Oakhurst.

MANUELA.. Servant of Castro, and maid to Dona Jovita.


The Rancho of the Blessed Innocents, and House of Don Jose Castro.


Red Gulch.


The Banking House of Morton & Son, San Francisco.


The Villa of Alexander Morton, sen., San Francisco.


ALEXANDER MORTON ("SANDY"). First dress: Mexican vaquero; black velvet trousers open from knee, over white trousers; laced black velvet jacket, and broad white sombrero; large silver spurs... Continue reading book >>

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