One of the few breaks in the monotony of Jim’s first long winter in town is the visit paid to Black Hawk by Samson d’Arnault, the itinerant black pianist. While some may take offense at the coarse picture Cather paints of d’Arnault, it is difficult to imagine that the insensitive nature of her characterization was intentionally meant to wound. Although her descriptions of him at his piano—“enjoying himself as only a Negro can” and later, playing with a gusto “full of strong, savage blood”—may have been aimed to charm the audiences of 1918, they are more likely to provoke outrage in a modern reader. Nevertheless, her nostalgic and accurate portrait of part of America’s past is of great value as a cultural document.