As the frugal farmer takes care that his cattle shall eat down the rowen
, and swine shall eat the waste of his house, and poultry shall pick the crumbs,--so our economical mother dispatches a new genius and habit of mind into every district and condition of existence, plants an eye wherever a new ray of light can fall, and gathering up into some man every property in the universe, establishes thousandfold occult mutual attractions among her offspring, that all this wash and waste of power may be imparted and exchanged.
The superficial mortality and greetingcard mentality that mark the first third of The Kentucky Cycle become the basic roots of the remainig six "plays." In "Ties That Bind," set in 1819, the Talberts legally recover the land from the Rowens vow to get it back, and do so forty-two years later (in "God's Great Supper") by killing off much of the Talbert clan in the midst of the Civil War.
Between the Rowens and the Talberts, the cycle quickly becomes more than a little reminiscent of old Devil Anse and the Hatfield-McCoy feud, as the eras roll by and the plays pile on.
In 1890, the Rowens sell the mineral rights to their recovered property to "those Standard Oil people." By 1920, they're forming a union to combat poor working conditions in a coal mine run by, of all people, the Talberts.
It provides lurid melodrama, suspense and violence at practically every turn, to the point where it becomes ludicrously predictable as one generation of the Rowen family bleeds into the next.
In such obvious fashion does Schenkkan load the villainous deck not only against Michael Rowen but against all his offspring.
To make his primary cardboard villain more villainous still, Schenkkan retains Michael Rowen as a character in the next two "plays." In "The Courtship of Morning Star," set in 19776, or a year after the opening, Michael goes about the messy business of taming his Cherokee wife, Morning Star: first by chaining her to him while they sleep at night, and finally by cutting a tendon in her leg to prevent her from ever running away.
That person was Margaret Rowen, a plump, forty-year-old housewife not much larger than a midget.
Rowen's crazy career took off on June 22, 1916, when she claimed she had a vision of soon-coming events.
Rowen delivered some time between 1972 and 1974 to a General Conference of Adventists in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Rowen's visions usually harmonized with those of Mrs.
Rowen and all the elders who followed her were disfellow-shipped (excommunicated) in 1919 along with former Iowans Dr.